Expert Speak Raisina Debates
Published on Jan 23, 2019
China's rise and under balancing in the Indo-Pacific putting realist theory to the test
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Nation-states are constantly engaging in balancing acts: striving to weigh between interests and values; guns and butter; economic gain and national security. Today, however, one balancing act supersedes all others: balancing in response to the rise of China.

Balancing is one of the oldest and most intuitive concepts in international relations theory. The influential realist school counsels that a nation’s rapid accumulation of power has historically proven disruptive, confronting neighbors and peers with an unpalatable choice: bandwagon with the potential threat by aligning with it, or increase their defenses against aggression or coercion through balancing.

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Jeff M. Smith

Jeff M. Smith

Jeff Smith is the Director of Asian Security Programs at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC.

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