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Journal Archive. Volume 12 Issue 3. Issue 2. Special issue on Statistical Processes and Statistical Modeling. Special issue on Project Management and Control. Issue 1. Volume 11 Volume 10 Volume 9 He handed the crown to his cousin Zhi. King Zhi then sent messengers to Song informing them of these events, and requesting that Song confer title on him. Its submission to the Liao was often the result of its weak military capabilities. Once Liao allows a little slack in its military control, Koryo will immediately refuse to pay homage to Liao.
By contrast, the loyalty of Koryo to Song has never changed. Even though sometimes blocked by Liao in its attempts to pay tribute to Song, its loyalty is always stone solid. The competitive advantage of Liao relative to Song lay in its geographical proximity to Koryo, so making greater military and security control over Koryo possible. Liao was contiguous to Koryo on land, yet Koryo and the Central Plains dynasties had not bordered on land since the Later Jin Dynasty ceded territory in Yan and Yun.
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In , Emperor Taizong of Song decided to attack Liao, and dispatched Han Guohua, a senior Song official, to Koryo to declare an imperial edict ordering Koryo to send armies to join Song troops in attacking Liao. Although by AD, Liao and Koryo had not yet experienced a head-on conflict, Liao swept the territory of Jurchen in the lower reaches of the Yalu river, clearing away obstacles to an invasion of Koryo, and thus exerting strong deterrence on it.
Under pressure from the security imposed by Liao, the king of Koryo put off responding to the order for troops from the Northern Song Dynasty. Thus, there actually appeared a state of co-ruling between Song and Liao in the East Asian international system: Song wielded influence over Koryo in the field of cultural identity and regime legitimacy, while Liao controlled Koryo in the domain of security issue.
It was in that Liao first attacked Koryo, and in February , Koryo was forced to declare itself a Liao vassal. According to the peace agreement, Koryo would sever its relations with Song, but in June of the same year, Koryo nonetheless sent emissaries to the Northern Song dynasty requesting troops to exact revenge. Under the scenario where Koryo was neither willing to relinquish its right to assured survival nor abandon its cultural identity and the legitimacy of the regime, it could choose only to accept simultaneous leadership from both poles.
However, the system at that time was one wherein major war was an optional strategic choice for great powers, and the two poles especially Liao, as the militarily stronger of the two had incentives to monopolize suzerainty over Koryo by force.
In such a case, the state of co-ruling of the two great powers will inevitably be unstable and transient. The Cold War constituted the first international system that did not feature a major war among the great powers. The invention of nuclear weapons was the core factor leading to this transformation. It was the MAD mechanism that allowed the United States and the Soviet Union, despite major disputes on many strategic issues, to be always consistent on one issue, namely, to avoid World War III, or any large-scale conventional or nuclear wars between them.
Such cooperation was rooted in the emergence of nuclear weapons. If waging wars might trigger direct military conflicts between the US and USSR, the two powers, for fear of thermonuclear war, would choose to give up war, even if doing so would reverse the power contrast between them against themselves. This was undoubtedly unprecedented in the previous international system. But it is not a sufficient condition. Even in the Cold War period, when there was no war between US and USSR, the state of co-ruling was still difficult to achieve given that the two powers had undifferentiated foreign functions.
After the end of WWII, the war-inflicted destruction and fear of it provoked the desire in small and medium-sized countries for peace and economic recovery, and hence their urgent demand for assistance from the great power. Moreover, due to the opposition between the capitalist and communist ideologies, Eastern and Western countries operating different political systems had the same urgent need for the ontological security of ideology. This made the foreign functions of the United States and the Soviet Union very similar, as both played the roles of security guarantor, provider of economic aid, and even of ideological supporters of small countries.
In the absence of functional differentiation, it was difficult for the power competition between US and USSR to transform into the state of co-ruling. In a sense, the struggle for Germany between the United States and the Soviet Union echoed in miniature the rivalry of the two superpowers. The Soviet Union did not want the United States to use the division of Germany as an excuse to strengthen its military presence in Western Europe, while the United States hoped to introduce a democratic system in a unified Germany that would reduce the threat that Germany posed to regional security.
As the two sides were well-matched in strength, the division of Germany continued. Berlin, former capital of the Germany occupied by the Soviet Union, naturally became the focus of the rivalry between the two poles. The Soviets accordingly decided to block traffic connecting the Western-occupied area and Berlin. This led to an anti-blockade imposed by the United States and Britain on the Eastern camp, cutting off the traffic from Western Europe to Soviet-occupied Germany.
This resulted in the First Berlin Crisis which led directly to the fragmentation of Berlin and establishment of two Germanies.
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However, the splitting of Berlin and division of Germany did not resolve the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union in Germany. On the contrary, their disputes accumulated, and eventually triggered the first severe military confrontation between the two Cold War camps. This was the Second Berlin Crisis in the late s, when the United States began to acquiesce in the development of nuclear weapons by the Federal Republic of Germany.
This marked the prelude to the Second Berlin Crisis. Over the next three years, the Soviet Union and the West protracted bargains and repeated negotiations on the Berlin Issue, but failed to reach a compromise. To resolve the Berlin Crisis, the leaders of the two superpowers held a summit in Vienna on June 4, Both countries then announced increases in their defence budgets, and the United States ordered the transferral of federal reserve forces to active status.
It should be admitted that US—Soviet rivalry in Germany was a principal reason for the split between Germany and of Berlin. Secondly, the United States and the Soviet Union did not, for the sake of power competition, compromise on the issue of Germany and of Berlin, but at the same time neither wanted to seek the monopoly of Germany and Berlin through use of direct force and war. However, neither of the two powers was able to achieve this purpose through intimidation alone, which left both the country and the city divided.
After the Asian financial crisis in , China did not shirk responsibility to its neighbours by depreciating the RMB, but instead purposefully increased its imports from other Asian countries to help tide them over their difficulties. After the outbreak of the international financial crisis in , China, having further consolidated its economic strength, demonstrated a greater capacity and willingness to afford economic public goods to the region and even the world, and promoted recovery of the regional economy through the stable growth of its own economy. On the other hand, the United States has made efforts actively to develop quasi-alliance relations or partnerships with non-aligned countries such as India, Vietnam, and Singapore.
The United States will continue to deepen and strengthen these alliances in response to the dynamics of change in the region and the strategic trends of the 21st century. Secondly, it has eased the worries of other East Asian countries about the rise of China. Finally, it has prevented crisis escalation and conflict proliferation in the region.
The above facts lead to a unique phenomenon in East Asia: the major economic partners and major security patron of most countries in the region are constituted by two different countries. In the era of no war among great powers, the proposition to avoid wars between great powers, especially all-out wars, does not signify a major contradiction in great power politics.
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Existing understanding of the bipolar system is overwhelmingly derived from the unique case of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. It therefore gives the false impression that bipolarity inevitably leads to cold war. However, as my article suggests, at the theoretical level, great powers in the bipolar system do not necessarily balance and contain each other.
The two superpowers have to take differential approaches and exert their own advantageous function so as to efficiently win the submission of small countries. If the cost of war between the great powers is so high that it is almost impossible for any of them to win, then all that is left to the two powers, albeit in the earnest hope of monopolizing hegemony over all small countries, is to accept the state of co-ruling and share the power with their rival. Case 1 and Case 2 together prove that no war between the poles is the other necessary condition through which to ensure differential co-ruling.
Case 4 shows that the two factors together constitute sufficient conditions that lead to a stable bipolar co-ruling.
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Table 1. Summary of Case Studies. An important implication of my theory is that a rising power in the era of no war among great powers must have specific comparative advantages, to an extent that enables them competent to compete with the ruling power for international influence and leadership. China seems now to be on this path of rise. In March , 57 countries on five continents applied to be founding members of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, 20 of whom were from outside the region, and some of whom were old allies of the United States.
According to the theory raised in this article, it is not difficult to predict that, as long as the following three factors remain unchanged, the tendency towards Sino-US co-ruling will continue. As to whether the continuation and expansion of Sino-US co-ruling is a good or a bad thing, debates in this vein carry on in academic circles.
Therefore, the geopolitical colour of their competition is bound to be lighter than that of the Cold War. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In.
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