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Shadow Realism in the India-China Strategic Rivalry
Dr Rajesh Basrur Senior Fellow
Dr Rajesh Basrur
India and China are caught between competitive “structural” pressures and high levels of interdependence produced by the possession of nuclear weapons. The former engenders a tendency to act as if military power is a usable commodity, while the latter constrains its actual usability. The outcome is a “shadow” realist form of strategic behaviour that is the result of uncertainty, the ideational structure of ingrained realist thinking, strategic habit, and forms of symbolic behaviour – all of which overlap. Realism helps explain the security-driven aspects of strategic behaviour, but not the severe constraints on it. Liberalism helps explain the influence of strategic interdependence, but not the persistence of high levels of competition. Constructivism helps bridge the gap. It explains the persistence of an ideational structure – shadow realism – of realist-oriented strategic thinking and action in an increasingly post-realist setting.
|International Politics and Security
|East Asia and Asia Pacific / Global / South Asia