This seems to be a foolish belief. Historically speaking, there has never been a state grow and displace another power without some sort of conflict taking place. China can either stop growing before it upsets anyone, or it can continue to grow and eventually run into the hostilities of another state. Now I am going to stop short of saying that China going to war with someone is inevitable, because:
1] it is possible for a country to grow economically without conflict (like, Chile), however China clearly desires for its military to grow right along with its economy, with Tibet, Taiwan, and India as sources of conflict for starters.
2] perhaps we live in a “new world order” where nations don’t have to resort to armed conflict to resolve differences. Diplomacy and peaceful negotions will spare us any horrors. To this I say: not likely.
3] china’s may cease growing and thus not give anyone cause for alarm.
So, is it possible for China, or any state for that matter, to “rise” without upsetting anyone?
Personally I don’t think the growth of China affects it’s belligerent actions. They invasions and incursions into North Korea, Taiwan, and Tibet have all occured at times when the intellectual elite were being cleansed. If anything, the thought processes of state were towards Nationalistic close-mindedness.
In that, China is a double edged sword. When the undereducated masses, the state may well feel a need to expand, but you are correct in taking the modern day approach. They aren’t stupid, and a war China creates will not be one they win. If anything, it will spell a true test of the sleeping dragon that is Communist Propoganda. Being the modern information age, they cannot win.
Secondly, a slow rebirth and opening up to global thoughts (finally) will not cause a war. China is becoming commercialized, with the manufacturing plants now purchasing their former foreign owners (Dirt Devil to name one…). The growth of China isn’t going to start any wars on an intellectual front.
The Communist party will hum, and China should remain passive. Growth will occur, but the resources are vast, from the shores of the East to the Mines of the West.The quiet bickering over Tiawan will continue, and the sleeping giants will rest.
Well, the other half of your peaceful ascendancy equation is how warlike are the other States? If a leader such as the US decides that they want to remain the only big kid on the block with no rivals (or potential rivals), then the US may want to act pre-emptively to stop China from ascending. Such action is guaranteed to create friction and set the stage for a showdown.
China does not look to be stopping it’s growth any time soon. Think they are on track for 9% GDP growth this year, and FDI remains the highest in the world.
More importantly is the growth of the middle class. Middle classes tend not to start or fight wars - at least not as easily. Poor uneducated cannon fodder are just right for war as they have nothing to lose.
Volkswagen driving, Nokia talking, Gucci wearing, Big Mac swilling, home owning Chinese are not going to be in the vanguard to swim across the Taiwan straits.