- Neo-classical realism
- The English School
- Casual mechanism
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This theory obviously borrows some thoughts, the concept of international society in particular, from the English School.
Although China is not a weak country in terms of economy, it still shares some similar characteristics with postcolonial states.
It is an outcome of international socialization. Of course, neo-realists and constructivists emphasize different processes with different mechanisms in socialization.
The rationalism here refers to the approach of rational actor model in FPA theories. It speaks of instrumental rationality, which asserts that the behavior of states is constantly motivated by profit maximization.
For instance, China has a larger economic interests in Iran than in Syria. China did not obstruct sanctions against Iran, whereas casting some vetoes on sanctions against Syria.
It is notable that this study argues the insufficiency of rationalism in accounting for China’s non-intervention policy, but it does not deny the rationalist presumptions. States’ decision makers act rationally, but the decision-making process is always constrained by many factors, such as pressure, lack of information, and preference, which are also pointed out by the bounded rationality theory. As Waltz (2008: 43) notes that, we “cannot expect of political leaders the nicely calculated decisions that the word ‘rationality’ suggests as making foreign policy is a complicated business.”
Concerning the problem of ontological priority and weight versus epistemological priority and weight in methodology, see Tang (2011). Neo-realism made an apparent mistake in overestimating the determinants of ontological priority.
It is notable that Waltz does not take this argument as a challenge, or even a revision, to his neo-realism theory. He has defended the validity of his theory and thought that this argument is just a movement from international political theory to foreign policy application (Waltz 2008).
The ontology consistency here stands for the coherence of ontological priority. On the distinctions between pluralism and solidarism, see Buzan (2004: 139–160).
From Bull’s perspective, the principal weakness of realism is that the theory pays insufficient attention to the normative framework, including rules, norms, and shared understanding, on which international society depends (Bull 2012: xix).
China officially states that any response to a massive humanitarian crisis should strictly conform to the UN Charter, and the opinion of the country and the regional organization concerned should be respected. The action should lead to a peaceful solution (CFM 2005).
Chinese scholars think that China has started to recognize and, to some extent, maintain this system since it had integrated into the international system. See, for example, Shi (2013).
Schweller and Pu (2011) call this behavior as “rightful resistance,” and they analyze the possible roles of emerging powers in the international system after unipolarity by investigating China’s case. They argue rising powers tend to be shirkers, who pursue power’s privileges but do not want to take responsibilities.
The concept of domestic salience of norm derives from the theory of constructivism of IR, which refers to the situation that an international norm has been accepted and achieved legitimacy by one state. The mainstream constructivists presume that “when states regularly refer to the norm to describe their own behavior and that of others, the validity clams of the norm are no longer controversial even if actual behavior continues to violate the norm” (Risse 1994; Peevers 2013: 45).
On factors that affect the degree of state power, see Taliaferro (2006).
This assumption is different from constructivism, which underscores the logic of appropriateness that the international norm frames states’ perceptions of the norm.
It is widely considered Asia was a tributary system in which China was the center before the end of Qing dynasty. Although the Qing court signed two treaties of Nerchinsk and Kyakhta with Russia in 1689 and 1727 to draw the borderlines between Russia and China, the Qing court insisted that the two treaties were set under the tributary system and refused to recognize the conception of modern sovereignty (Adachi 2015: 67–68).
In fact, the case that late-Qing China changed the administrative status of Taiwan and Xinjiang from the dependency to the province was a consequence that China had been affected by the very conception of territorial sovereignty (Lam 2009).
It does not mean that the regime’s interest is totally separated from nation’s interests. To a large extent, an authoritarian or a dictatorial regime takes its interest as the nation’s interest.
The term “state” in this discussion about relations of societal and state refers to a political regime in domestic politics instead of a nation or country in international politics.
Although some episodes such as the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen carnage have undermined the regime’s internal and external legitimacy in China, the remedies involving strengthening the country’s capacity and reputation by dint of various approaches worked effective.
It has been pointed out that the essence of this announcement or the core interests is to maintain China’s political system, in other words, to keep the CCP’s priority (Zhang 2011).
These pronouncements are natural not merely for the Chinese government. According to Holsti (1967), most policy makers assume that the most essential objectives of any foreign policy are to ensure the defense of the home territory and perpetuate a particular political, social, and economic system based on that territory.
A regime usually adopts three approaches including ideological legality, performance legality, and procedural legality to achieve legitimacy (Easton 1965; Beetham 1991). In China’s case, after the Cultural Revolution, the ideological legality gradually loses effectiveness, and as an authoritarian country, it does not satisfy the procedural legality. Thus, the performance legality is the last method for the Chinese government.
China’s import dependence ratio on natural oil is as high as 55.2 percent in months during January to March of 2011, and that number is higher than that of the US. The datum is adopted from a report (Li and Ma 2011: 2), but there are two other accumulated data of 53.5 percent and 61 percent given respectively by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Development and Reform Commission of PRC.
See the statistics provided by the General Administration of Customs of the PRC.
The expression of “unresolved territories” does not refer to the disputed territories between China and other claimant states, such as those in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, for conflicts between sovereign countries for a disputed territory are not taken as cases of intervention in this study.
Sarotte (2012) gives the conclusion from the observation of the Tiananmen Square massacre. This issue is a prominent case in which the CCP was worried about the contagion of democratic movements yielding domestic chaos and party factionalism in Eastern Europe.
The sacred non-intervention principle is not able to stop Western countries from the “violation of China’s sovereignty.” Ironically, China also published the “Report on Human Rights Practices of the US” following the US Report as a counterattack on the US, but the Chinese government does not see its behavior as a violation of the US sovereignty and its non-intervention policy(Qiao 2011).
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Ren, M. (2021). Exploring China’s Non-intervention Policy in the Post-Cold War Era. In: Beyond Rigidity. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-33-4623-9_3
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