The Chinese Communist Party (CCP): Forecasting Potential Futures

Purveyors of liberalism maintain that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) participation in globalisation and normative economic diplomacy may mitigate its revisionist objectives and may socialise itself into the existing international order.

Others, in contrast, predict intense competition. China’s ascent, most argue, will become more belligerent as it accumulates material capabilities. These theories often emphasise maximising relative gain and on the inevitability of irreconcilable threat-based conflict.

Rather than view China’s ascent as inherently antagonistic, some argue that China is currently pursuing alternative strategies of ‘hedging’ and a more restrained ‘soft’ balancing. Instead, it is seeking to balance against external threats and maintain the current distribution of power, rather than upend it.

Key Judgement 1. Despite the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) expanding their nuclear arsenal, it is unlikely to pose an immediate threat to US unipolarity despite claims of hard balancing. 

Key Judgement 2. The CCP is likely to pursue a cooperative rising power strategy, favouring an integrationist posture over the next 12 months.

Key Judgement 3. It is unlikely that CCP will seek the military capabilities necessary to challenge US strategic primacy over the next 12 months, instead preferring deterrence of the Taiwan independence movement and security of its own territory.

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