Is China a Revisionist State?
Examining China’s Military Rise Through Power Transition Theory
Scholars disagree as to the implications of China’s rise in the past few decades, whether it will lead to heightened interdependence or containment and war. The two basic facts about the relationship, the preponderance of American global power and the expectation of China’s global power, present the political scientist with the perfect basis to utilize Power Transition Theory. This article with apply the theory as a determinative measure for Sino-American relations, focus in upon China’s present level of satisfaction with the international status quo. I will utilize the measures presented by Werner and Kugler (1996) and Lemke and Werner (1996) to determine the size of the recent Chinese military buildup in the context of the United States’ military buildup. I conclude that the recent Chinese military buildup does not reflect a revisionist state; China does not desire to change the status quo. The substance of this buildup strengthens the measure by showing China’ disinterest in challenging American hegemony in the Pacific. This paper will argue that the recent Chinese military buildup does not reflect the character of a revisionist state, and that China is satisfied with its place in the international order.