At the current time, there are three countries with significant differences that all fit the role of the supreme leader. According to the theoretical concept of systemic wars, specific war cycles could predict the time of the next conflict. The conflict occurs as a result of collected tension, and it usually happens during relatively stable periods. The systemic wars present a significant step for the future development and state of the world economy as well as political climate, as witnessed by examples of The First and The Second World Wars. This essay will discuss the possible threats from two of the most prominent competitors of the United States for the title of supremacy: Russia and China.
The first country frequently mentioned as the most dangerous competitor for the world’s supremacy is China. In his article on China’s rise to the status of great power, Bijian pointed out how the country’s narrow development is mainly sourced in the “magnitude of China’s labor force” (19). Even though Bijian expressed that China must provide better living conditions to the population before interfering with other countries, he suggested that excessive involvement in the world’s economy caused rapid development. China’s rising power presents a threat to the peaceful state of the world, and it should be acknowledged by the United States (Khan). Although Xi Jinping stated that China’s development does not threaten other countries, the president also emphasized how there are no rules or people whose directions China will follow (TIME). Following the concept of systemic wars occurring due to accumulated tensions, the past conflicts between China and the United States, such as the Taiwan Strait crisis, have the risk of turning into a systemic war.
Another significant contender and active participant in world politics are Russia. However, what makes Russia more dangerous as a threat to the next systemic war is its convergence with China (Kendall-Taylor and Shullman). Both countries currently utilize similar measures to control the population with lowered protection of human rights and increased governmental monitoring in the online sphere. China and Russia have complementary relationships, with China providing opportunities for Russian economic development and Russia filling the gaps in the Chinese military powers (Kendall-Taylor and Shullman). The increased level of collaboration and integration of both countries could have negative consequences in case of conflict between the United States and Russia or China.
In theory, there are several ways to avoid the impending systematic war. The power transition theory developed by Organski and Kugler provides an opportunity for war as a method for the challenger country to reach the dominant state. The United States can maintain supremacy in the state of the dominant country while avoiding the war only until the challenger country, China or India decides to take the dominant position. However, the theory does not necessarily involve an armed conflict and suggests that the war occurs from a combination of several factors. In this case, to avoid systemic war, Organski and Kugler would probably recommend the current Biden administration handle the power transition peacefully or reduce the dominant pressure imposed by the United States on other countries.
In conclusion, according to the analysis performed in the paper, Russia could be more dangerous than China. China currently utilizes the method of peaceful development based on the use of technologies and trade agreements, suggesting that its development will not pose a threat to other countries. On the other hand, Russia has significant military power, and it is dangerous for its possibility to voluntarily take China’s side if any conflict arises between China and Russia.
Bijian, Zheng. “China’s “Peaceful Rise” to Great-Power Status.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 84, no. 5, 2005, pp. 18-24.
“China Will ‘Never Seek Hegemony’ President Xi Jinping Says.” YouTube, uploaded by TIME, 2018, Web.
Kendall-Taylor, Andrea, and David. O. Shullman. “China and Russia’s Dangerous Convergence: How to Counter an Emerging Partnership.” Foreign Affairs, 2021, Web.
Khan, Sulmaan. “Avoiding War Between America and China: The Lessons of Past Crises.” Foreign Affairs, 2018, Web.