Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor

Jean Krasno

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Kucik


China, Superpower, hegemons


A superpower is a country that dominates the global landscape in 4 major categories. These include military, economic, political and cultural. Superpowers have to ability to project immense power and whether it is countries that are trying to counter the impact of a superpower or gain from their strength, global hegemons are important aspects of contemporary international relations. Today, The United States is the only country that has all of these requirements and therefore, is the most powerful country in the world. However, a number of countries have begun to show potential for equaling or usurping the title of superpower. No one country exemplifies this more than China. Over the last three decades, China has grown significantly to become the second largest economy and it has begun to assert itself as a great power by exerting influence both regionally and globally. The rise of China has led many in the field of international relations, from scholars to journalists and politicians, to believe that China is poised to become the next global superpower,

However, the ability of China to become the next global superpower is far from certain. This thesis will take a closer look at case for the Chinese superpower and argue that the country will not be able claim that role. I will show that despite popular notions of China’s global rise the country will not become a global superpower. To support the argument I will use theories from the Liberal and Realist perspective. I will also be using historical and empirical data, all of which will show the fallacy of Chinese superpower status. Understanding the limits of China’s rise is very important because it can help avoid creating policies and ideologies that could have disastrous consequences for the global community. In addition, understanding this issue may also provide a deeper understanding about how states can rise to become superpowers, as China is an evolving case.



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