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Day 2 15:45 Panel 18

International Relations

Frankopan Hall

Xu Qinyi; Giuseppe Spatafora; Wang Ruilu

Xu Qinyi,

University of Cambridge

The world has witnessed the onset of great change in international order since 2008. Unlike the Great Depression during 1929-1933, the financial crisis which hit the world in 2008 didn’t lead to the collapse of international order. Although the world economy was under secular stagnation, its recovery has gradually become steady after the financial crisis.On contrary, the conflicts toward international institutions and their fallouts have swiveled the eyes of the world. While the contestation between the hegemon and the emerging powers (i.e. China and the US) is getting more and more intense, the rise of populism, unilateralism and protectionism during 2011 to 2016 and especially after 2016 have unprecedentedly brought a certain tendency towards disorder to international order, and along with it came a new era of uncertainty in international relations. Little research has sought to understand the dynamic change in international order in a systematic and theoretical manner. Building on the English School’s perception of primary and secondary institutions, this paper probes the dynamics of international order and the interaction of superpowers surrounding international order through institutional contestations in different phases from 1990 onwards. Since 1990, the world has witnessed the onset of great change in international order. Along with it, many argue that there’s a tendency towards disorder to international order. As the discussion became prevalent, extant literature mainly focuses on factors that have caused such ‘disorder’ and based on that, predicts whether the challenges would lead to a collapse of the existing world order. However, the fact that the contentions of the contestations within international society change over time has often been ignored, resulting in the lack of a systematic and complete understanding of the root cause and future of international order. This article therefore aims to fill in such gap by drawing upon the English School’s findings in international society and uses the two key factors influencing international order, power and legitimacy, as variables in its study of the dynamic changes occurring in institutional contestation between great powers. As one of the major great power and emerging powers in the world society, this study also probes into China’s status and dynamic change during such transition.

Giuseppe Spatafora

M.Phil. International Relations, University of Oxford

Defence pacts and the theory of dual deterrence, with an application the First Taiwan Straits Crisis

Do defence pacts prevent war? This is an enduring question for policy-makers and academics alike. Theorists of extended deterrence argue that defence pacts reduce the incentives of adversaries to attack. Opponents claim that alliance treaties actually lead allies, adversaries, or both, to behave more aggressively. This dissertation adds a new perspective to the debate by exploring the role of defensive allies in the escalation of inter-state disputes. The key finding of this study is that the effect of defence pacts on inter-state crises is best understood as one of “dual deterrence.” The paper uses a formal model of dispute escalation to show that defence pacts have a simultaneous effect on both members of the pact and external parties. On the one hand, defensive allies reduce the propensity of adversaries to escalate disputes to the level of war by promising support to partners in case of external attack. On the other hand, allies restrain protégés from undertaking more offensive behaviour by threatening punishment for unprovoked escalation. The model also illustrates the dilemma that defenders face between emboldening members of the pact and failing to deter their adversaries in situations of uncertainty. The theory is tested with both quantitative and qualitative approaches. First, a statistical study of inter-state disputes between 1816 and 2000 is performed. The models show evidence that defence pacts significantly reduce the probability of dispute escalation. Second, an in-depth analysis of the First Taiwan Straits Crisis is carried out to highlight how defenders navigate the dilemma of dual deterrence in a dispute, managing the confrontation between their protégés and external opponents over a contested good. Given the strong empirical support for the theory of dual deterrence, this study contributes to a better understanding of international security.

Wang Ruilu,

Renmin University of China, Year 1 PhD student in Journalism

Ritual and Discourse in a New Context: Signed Articles by China’s Head of State on Foreign Media

With China’s increasing economic strength and global influence, forming a subjective consciousness and developing an integrated discourse system have become priorities for China’s international communication. Within such a new context, a noticeable innovation by Chinese President Xi Jinping in diplomacy and international communication is to publish signed articles on mainstream local media before his visits to articulate China’s official position and appeal for win-win cooperation and common development, winning a greater say by spreading China’s discourse globally. Current studies mainly focus on the roles and practices of institutions such as media and other organizations in China’s external communication and public diplomacy; little attention has been paid to these authoritative and representative signed articles as an important part of China’s international discourse. This study focuses on China’s president’s international communication practice of publishing signed articles on foreign media. By approaching from three interrelated and progressive dimensions: symbol, frame and form, it researches on the contents, cognitive frame and rhetorical strategies of his discourse in international communication respectively with semantic network, cognitive framing and conceptual metaphor theories, and identification theory and dramatistic pentad. It finds: These articles review bilateral exchanges, explain China’s foreign policies and development path, emphasize peace, development and win-win cooperation, and promote China’s solution to global governance. Their cognitive frame starts from traditional Chinese ethical values, entails the deeper frame of cooperation and development, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and is expressed through conceptual metaphors in the surface frame displaying China’s proposition in global development and governance. To narrow the distance between the author and local audience, eliminate differences and emphasize the consistency of both sides’ interests, these articles utilize sympathy, antithesis and inaccuracy to achieve identification. This study explores China’s leader’s discourse and strategies in the new international communication context to reflect China’s global role in the new era.

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