AFEEZ TIJANI OSUMAH






The study focus on the classical/modern realist theory to explain and predicts the ontological analysis of China emerging as an upcoming great power within the international system.  The study is divided into three major parts of the economic transformation of China, the role and relationship of China compared to the United States in trade with Africa and also, Communist Ideology with the religious affinity of China emerging as a regional hegemon. The study makes emphasis on some recommendations that Chinese economic capability and cultural heritage exported to the external body within the international system will help to attain the hegemon desired soonest. The study vividly enumerates FIVE recommendations that would position China ahead of his rival countries within the international system.

KEYWORDS: Regional hegemon, economic transformation, trading comparison, communist ideology, religious affinity.  






The ontology used in this analysis is rooted in Classical/ modern realist in an explanatory discussion. The theory depends upon the acquisition of power to (re)shape the direction of the international system based on the primary interest of attaining global peace through economic and military capabilities. Power is very important in international politics, so as to direct the affairs within the international system to favour the interest of the state(s) that wield or accumulates the highest degree or amounts of capabilities to secure peace and not provoke conflict. Capabilities in terms of military, economy, cultural affinity and alliances are seen as the major drivers to accumulate more strength to be a great power. This is the basis on which classical realist base their argument upon as the sole foundation of security and major stands of attaining a leadership role in the international system.

However, the balance of power in the international system depends upon how the international community will be at peace and devoid of conflict. Therefore, war is seen and perceived to occur as a result of the manner at which capabilities (military, economic or cultural affinity) and alliances are polarized into various  forms, which are; Uni-polarity, Bi-polarities and Multi-polarities. Military strength and economic prosperity are seen as hard power strategies which are use side-by-side with soft power strategies in term of cultural ideology and institutions to legitimize obedience within the international system on peaceful coexistence (Wilson, 2008). The combination of hard power strategies with soft power strategies results in smart power. Soft power strategies are more effective in the contemporary international system than hard power strategies. The strength of soft power strategies are based on their endurance and sustainability making the demise of hard power strategies causes changes in world order (Wilson, 2008). 

Moreover, World War I (1914-1918), dominantly across Europe as a result of multi-polar alliance and military strength determines hegemon, partition and acquirer of more territories and border adjustment in Europe. Therefore, World War II (1939-1945) brought out a new approach, a new technological and new methodology of war engagement. This result in using atomic bomb and sophisticated weapons with the assembling of armour tanks on lands, warship on sea and fighter-jet on-air engagement to tame and influence interest within the international system. The United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and their allies reduce and condition the strength of Germany, Japan and Italy (allies) to a massive defeat in the war. Thus, the economic hardship in Europe and many parts of Asia were alleviated by the United States. This brought the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic as the Bi-polar greater power within the international system. Realist central argument is that when there is bi-polar or multi-polar greater power within the international system, it will result in an imbalance of power and struggle will emerge concerning power acquisition on hegemon within the international system, thereby fanning the scourge of war and conflict. Therefore, uni-polar (single) super-power will leads to unilateral decision- making and it will encourage peaceful coexistence within the international system.

Furthermore, 1944 was during the outbreak of the cold war era between Right-wing consists of Western Europe, the United States and their allies as NATO against Left-wing of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, China and Cuba and their allies. The cold war lasted for decades based on ideological differences between Capitalism and Communism. However, the ideological war on Right-wing (Capitalism) spearheaded by the United States against Left-wing (Communism) led by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic took the international system to disarray on the ideological stands of bi-polarize. This does not augur well and took the international system into greater anxiety. Moreover, this is the point at which the position of classical realist theorist believe that when there are bi-polarities of greater power, the international system will result in the dilemma of war and full blow of conflict.

However, the victory of the United States with his allies on Capitalism ideological stands triumph over the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic with his allies on Communism ideology. The defeat of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic as a result of financial inability to carry on with their ideological stands against right-wing led the prosperous United States economic giant and his allies. This brought the United States as Uni-polar greater power and his dominion as the only hegemon in terms of military strength, economic prosperities and cultural affinity with institutional ability to dominate within the international system.

More so, the World reserve is based on the US dollar because the value of the United States economy is very strong and it will accelerate in settlement of international trade. This is sacrosanct and a key to determine how state actors within the international system trade with one another with a stable valuation of the US dollar currency.

Therefore, this instigates and propel the prestige and ability of the United States to control or influence any matter of interest within the international system to a stable or balance of power. Machiavelli (1532) advised that power is very important to direct one's opinion or interest and by all means any parameter should be put in place to retain the force of power not to get lost from the hegemon (The new Prince).


The position of China becoming great hegemon within the international system is certain and visualized in a few years to come as a result of its prosperous economic development models and sharp economic drivers that will transform its role in the world order. The drastic decline of the prestige and economic activities of the United States incomparable to Chinese economy depicts doom of former and transformation of latter economic capabilities to a new leaf within the international system (Martin, 2016).


The economic capability of china in terms of its economic drivers used ( in term of) investment and exportation of Technological and Telecommunication dominance across the globe outsmarts The United States and causes a huge blow to American foreign trade. This results in the trade war between the United States and Chinese economic diplomatic ties. However, this brought accusations against Chinese products by the United States of copying her products and also demoralize the strength of their creativities in the emancipation of another cold war against China becoming great power (Martin, 2016).

The economic transformation in China extremely increases thereby making the standard of living high as a result of the creation of 11 million jobs and drastic reduction of the unemployment rate to a very low degree in China (Martin, 2016). The prosperities of Chinese economic transformation puts the  United States and European Union on a divided interest concerning the growth and emerging of China as a great power soonest. Martin (2018) reflects on the IMF report of 2017 analysis in a pie chart on Regional breakdown for 2030 Global GDP share within the international system. The diagram below captures the share of the Global international economic system enumerated by IMF, making China GDP broader of 34% ahead of India 19%, The United States 15%, European Union 13%, Other Asian developing countries 6%, Brazil 5%, Russia 3%, Japan 3%, Others 2%.

Diagramme 1. A Pie Chart (Martin, 2018)

Source: (2017) IMF Report on Regional Breakdown of Global GDP 2030.


Therefore, Shashi (2014) proceeds that Western Europe misunderstood China for who she is, as a result of thinking she will be like them. This is a wrong assumption of western civilization and culture. However, the United States undermines the Chinese economy as weaker and incomparable, also will be like western society, if emerging great power. The United States and Western Europe assumptions clearly misunderstood the position of China from her cultural and economic expansion emerging the position of greater power sooner within the international system (Shashi, 2014).

However, Martin Jacques & Shashi Tharoor (2016) observe that classical European determinants are based on military capabilities and colonial expeditions as well as the role of political expansion, whereby the United States took over from the United Kingdom and the European strength on ethical power, military power, mental power, political power, as well as cultural power from 1945 to date which China is not there yet but emerging to be there in a few years to come. 


The involvement of China in Africa and its relationship with the developing world are very fascinating and cordial compared to the United States. China was partly colonized and unified as a civilization state and not as a nation-state (Martin, 2016). Shashi (2014), observes that Africa, which is a developing world refused to imbibe on the Chinese developed model, claiming that India closer to china failed on that ground. So, Africa looks up to the Western world especially the United States to help in their development. Therefore, Africa refused to learn from Chinese development models, which are sacrosanct for their development in all facet of their economy than focus on the Western world. Andre (1972), Walter (1972) & Ake (1981) affirms that Africa and the developing world will not grow and developed except they de-link from western capitalist countries with their exploitative mechanisms, while Smith (1776) and Weber (1922) claim that for developing countries to developed or attained development they should incorporate on western economic drivers designed by western capitalist countries.

China has contributed a lot in building roads, railway and also help in the construction of seaports with support of giving financial aids and engaging in economic activities within Africa and developing world moving emphasis towards Chinese economy and away from the United States. This is clear evidence that the strength of china becoming great power sooner within the international system is a reality. However, the actions of the United States under George W. Bush (junior) Administration evade Iraq and Afghanistan without proper negotiation with her alliance causes chaos and reduction of its prestige among states within the international system (Martin, 2016).

Diagramme 2. A-Line Graph (Martin, 2018)

Source: (2017) IMF Report on Chinese and The United States trade with Africa

However, the above diagram shows the growth in strength of the Chinese economy against the United States economy. Therefore the relationship in trade between both countries got to an equilibrium point on degree 75 in mid-year 2009/2010 on the line graph and progress ahead of the United States to the peak from the year 2010-2014 on degree 76-200 before decline sets in from the peak in the year 2015-2016 from degree 200-140 trade with Africa while the United States kept falling down from the year 2012-2016 on degree 120-40 on the line graph in relations to trade deficit (imbalance) between the two countries making the Chinese economy giant strides and a point of reference emerging as a great power in the international system (Martin, 2018).

COMMUNIST IDEOLOGY AND RELIGIOUS AFFINITY OF CHINA EMERGING A REGIONAL HEGEMON                                                                             

Chinese Communist Party evolved from different perspectives to another. Martin (2016) affirms that political stability in China is a global concern not only for the Chinese alone. However, Chinese Communist Party is doing well to stabilize Chinese political activities as well as making the Chinese economy very strong in reducing unemployment and creating millions of job opportunities with the upliftment of many Chinese out of the poverty line. Therefore, the Chinese Communist Party stabilizes its economy making a huge amount of revenue from an advertisement on the internet (Martin, 2016).

Therefore, the Chinese believe in Ananaization (ie. To be Ana) a religious affinity. Almost 95% of Chinese considered themselves as Ana’s (Martin, 2014). Eleanor, Albert & Lindsay, Maizland (2020) expresses that China is the only old empire that remains in the whole world why others have disappeared in human history. Continue further that the Chinese Communist Party is officially atheist and inclusive in the administration of China religious structure of recognizing only 5 religious groups so as to strengthen the Chinese identity. According to Eleanor Albert & Lindsay Maizland (2020) shows that the official recognition of a religious pattern in China is along with the followings: Agnostics 31.8%, Buddhist 18.8%, Christian 7.4%, Muslim 1.8%, Chinese Folk-religionist 30.8%, Ethnic religionist 4.7%, Daoist 0.4%, others 0.2%. Below is the diagram of religious affiliation in China.

Diagramme 3. Religious Affiliation in China (Eleanor, Albert & Lindsay, Maizland (2020)SOURCE: (2020) WORLD RELIGIOUS DATA BASE

This will strengthen the ties in terms of identity and recognition within Chinese communities toward religious growth, development and stability in multiplier effects making her emerge as a great power in the international system without distractions. Classical Realist affirm on this position that common ties in identity, language and religious activities bind communities together and strengthen them to speak in one unified voice devoid of conflict.


The rapid growth and development of Chinese economic capabilities and cultural heritage exportation to other countries with a new model of technological and telecommunication advancement. The reduction of United States prestige positions China becoming super or great power soonest in her interactions within the international system. The military capability as one of the strategies of hard power which are going down and emphasis on economic capability directs the affairs and makes china emerge as a great power soonest. As prosperous a country is in term of economic strength depicts the manner at which research can be carryout to boost military the industrial complex of a state. And, also change the position of interest to become a greater power than China is envisaged of soonest with in the international system.


(a.)  China should be on the defensive side to make sure that it curtails the advancement of Russia, India and Japan which will resist the hegemon she is emerging as great power in Asia axis, as well as from the United States and Western Europe;

(b.)China will encounter offensive posture from the United State and other Western Europe which also will determine her not to rise above them in the international system;

(c.)  China should maintain her economic development model to make her stronger in defeating her rivals counterparts;

(d.)Political stability should be the main focus of China so as to remain relevant to achieve the dream of becoming stronger as a regional hegemon;

(e.)  Technological and Telecommunication advancement should be the main emphasis of China to grow and achieve regional hegemon within the international system;

(f.)  More trade and bilateral agreements should be honour by the Chinese government to foster cordial relations especially in developing countries (as the new market destination of the world);

(g.)  China should regulate its religious body so as to unify and stood on common ties that will position her looks for hegemon within the international system.



·         Ake, Claude, 1981, A Political Economy of Africa. Harlow Longman.

·         Andre, Gunder F.,1972, The Development of Underdevelopment, Garden City, New York: Anchor      


·         Eleanor, Albert & Lindsay, Maitland, 2020.Religious in China, Council on Foreign Relations.

·         Martin, Jacques. 2014, The West Misreads China, COMDEX 2014, china.

·         Martin, Jacques, 2016, Western Expansion VS Chinese Preference ‘Stay at home, Video Interview   

    In China, 2016,

·         Martin, Jacques, 2018, When China rules the World, A video presentation in China, 2018

·         Martin, Jacques & Shashi, Tharoor, 2016, Discuss China and India relations, Webinar conference   

    China, 2016. 

·         Rodney, Walter, 1972, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Washington, Howard University


·         Smith, Adam, 1776, The Wealth of the Nations. W.Straham and T. Cadell, London.

·         Weber, Max, 1922, Economy and Society, University of California Press, United States of America.

·         Wilson, Ernest, J. 2008, Hard Power, Soft Power, Smart Power. ANNALS of the American

    Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Issues 616, PP. 110-124

·         Machiavelli, Niccolo, 1532. The Prince, Antonio Blado d’Asola Publisher 1532, Italy.



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Afeez Tijani, Osumah "THE EMERGENCE OF CHINA AS AN UPCOMING GREAT POWER IN RRELATIONS TO CLASSICAL" Afribary. Afribary, 05 Apr. 2021, Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.


Afeez Tijani, Osumah . "THE EMERGENCE OF CHINA AS AN UPCOMING GREAT POWER IN RRELATIONS TO CLASSICAL". Afribary, Afribary, 05 Apr. 2021. Web. 16 Jul. 2024. < >.


Afeez Tijani, Osumah . "THE EMERGENCE OF CHINA AS AN UPCOMING GREAT POWER IN RRELATIONS TO CLASSICAL" Afribary (2021). Accessed July 16, 2024.