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China sometimes plays a leadership role in addressing global challenges, but at other times it free rides or even spoils efforts at cooperation. When will rising powers like China help to build and maintain international regimes that sustain cooperation on important issues, and when will they play less constructive roles? This study argues that the strategic setting of a particular issue area has a strong influence on whether and how a rising power will contribute to global governance. Two strategic variables are especially important: the balance of outside options the rising power and established powers face, and whether contributions by the rising power are viewed as indispensable to regime success. Case studies of China's approach to security in Central Asia, nuclear proliferation, global financial governance, and climate change illustrate the logic of the theory, which has implications for contemporary issues such as China's growing role in development finance.
Deepening economic ties across the Taiwan Strait are widely believed by analysts and scholars to be a stabilizing force in cross-Strait political relations. Yet within the broader international relations literature, the relationship between economic interdependence and military conflict continues to be controversial. This article examines the impact of growing cross-Strait economic links on the likelihood of cross-Strait military conflict within the context of this broader literature. A description of three separate causal mechanisms—identified in the existing literature—through which economic ties could promote peace is followed by a discussion of how broadly these processes are operating in the Taiwan Strait case. Although the article does not rule out the possibility that economic integration across the Strait makes a military confrontation less likely, it shows that the evidence in support of such a proposition is ambiguous.