Maritime strategies of rising powers: Developments in China and Russia

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This paper seeks to uncover the drivers of maritime strategy formulation in Russia and China, two active players on the international stage that have often been identified as both rising and regional powers. The paper takes as its starting point the realist theory of state power and threat perception, which provide the means and motivation for states to accumulate material capabilities in an effort to safeguard their position in the international system. Given the increasing pressures of a changing security environment, China's and Russia's maritime strategies show a trend towards greater complexity and capability. The paper also addresses the impact of the revolution in military affairs (RMA) and its subsequent manifestation as force transformation in Western states, especially the USA. Given that this new, qualitatively focused way of war has gained supremacy, at least where high-intensity inter-state war is concerned, the question remains of whether the Chinese and Russians will choose to emulate the leading powers in the system or, instead, will forge into the unknown and formulate an entirely different and innovative maritime strategy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1037-1053
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2013
Externally publishedYes