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Kenneth Waltz, the Balance of Power and the rise of China

a reaction paper on the required readings of this topic: Kenneth Waltz, the Balance of Power and the Rise of China

Kenneth Waltz, The Balance of Power and the Rise of China

            Neorealism describes the theory of international politics. Kenneth Waltz developed the theory that is clearly outlined in his book, The Theory International Politics. In this book, Waltz sought to explain the recurrent patterns of state behaviour and the way nations interact at the international level (Waltz 1979). Indeed, the explanation given by Waltz is valid, given the changes in the way the United States has been associating with its allies.

The United States has a powerful military resource, which makes it the superpower. When it comes to capacity to act, the United States stands alone (Waltz 1979). From a theoretical point of view, the United States cannot just make any decision it wishes to implement at the global level, even though its superiority may allow it to overrule any decision. The United States administration has tried to exert its influence around the world. However, to do this, the United States has to perform a critical evaluation of its grand strategy. As such, the United States needs to evaluate its foreign policy, specify what the American mission is, and try to understand the threats to its mission. Importantly, Americans should understand how to deal with the highlighted threats.

Waltz (1979) believes that power shapes interest, and, therefore, more power would lead to a more extensive interests. The United States has a strong military organization, high technology, and high academic prowess. All these attributes make the United States to be deemed strong compared to other countries in the world. However, China has been steadily rising, and some people believe that it has the potential to take the superpower tag from the United States.

Although the Obama administration has been categorical that their moves do not target any particular states, most of the observers strongly believe that the United States is worried about the influence China has in Asia (Manyin et al. 2012). As it has been evident in the recent years, the Obama administration has tried to establish strong ties with China, and the US intervention in the Pacific rebalancing that is now taken as part of the US efforts to deter China from applying heavy-handed tactics on its neighbours. Also, the intervention provides confidence to other Asia-Pacific nations that are not willing to be controlled by China now and in the coming years. It remains to watch how the relationship between the US and China will take shape, as the two countries appear to be rivalling in controlling the Asian continent.




Waltz, K. 1979. Theory of International Politics, Reading: Addision-Wesley.

Manyin, M., et al. 2012. Pivot to the Pacific? The Obama Administration’s “Rebalancing” Toward Asia, Washington DC: Congressional Research Service

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