China is undoubtedly the fastest growing country in the world. Economically and militarily, China is an important player in world politics. The following are just a few reasons why China is so important. China is one of the only nine countries that possesses nuclear weapons. They maintain embassies in 162 countries and they are the most populous country in the world. China's military is the largest, with 2.3 million active troops (Global Fire Power). All of this being said, it is understandable why China is one of the countries being talked about most in today's international society.
The rise of China raises a lot of questions regarding the United States and its hegemonic cycle, with one being the seemingly most important- will China rise up to be the United States' challenger? But in order to discuss that question in its full complexity, it is essential to understand the following concepts. First, the hegemonic stability theory itself. What is it and what stage is the United States in? Next, knowing exactly how China is rising, whether that be economically, militarily, etc. Third, how to resolve or approach the inevitable rise of China. Lastly, how the hegemonic stability theory really applies to the rise of China.
The hegemonic stability theory is when one country is significantly more powerful than the others so they "dare not attack it" (Nye and Welch 82). This theory is closely related to the long cycle theory (Modelski 40), which is a cycle consisting of four different phases: global war, world power, delegitimation, and deconcentration.
Global war, the first phase, starts with the power among two or more countries being divided equally. We can see this in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with the European balance of power. It started with "loose multipolarity" with Britain, Russia, France, Prussia, and Austria sharing the power. Then as Germany rose, so did the conflict.