China will replace the US as the most dominant power in world politics in the latter part of this century, a US professor of international politics said yesterday.
Jacek Kugler of the School of Politics and Economics at the Claremont Graduate University made the remarks during a book launch held in Taipei yesterday. Kugler is one of the authors of Preventing a Perfect Storm in the Taiwan Strait: A Power Transition Perspective.
While the peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue would enhance the opportunity for China to take a larger global role within current international rules, a failure to achieve such a resolution would substantially enhance the likelihood of another world war, he said.
Saying that US preeminence was expected to decline over the next two to four decades, Kugler said there was increasing concern that the US' leadership role in world politics would be severely tested.
Such structural transitions, however, generate the necessary -- but perhaps not sufficient -- conditions for great power confrontations, he said.
"Taiwan is at the center of this emerging storm," Kugler said. "As China approaches parity [with the US] it may attempt to use coercive means to re-incorporate Taiwan."
Such action, he said, would force the US to either look the other way and not intervene to protect Taiwan, or commit its military to Taiwan's defense.
"Taiwan today sits at the crossroads of history. The actions of its leaders are pivotal not only for the Chinese populations on both sides of the Strait, but also for the populations of the larger world community," he said.