A recent piece in The Australian argues that China’s rise is going to be problematic.

China’s neighbours are certain to fear its rise as well, and they too will do whatever they can to prevent it from achieving regional hegemony.

Indeed, there is already substantial evidence that countries such as India, Japan, and Russia, as well as smaller powers such as Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam, are worried about China’s ascendancy and are looking for ways to contain it. In the end, they will join an American-led balancing coalition to check China’s rise, much the way Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and even China, joined forces with the US to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Finally, given Taiwan’s strategic importance for controlling the sea lanes in East Asia, it is hard to imagine the US, as well as Japan, allowing China to control that large island. In fact, Taiwan is likely to be an important player in the anti-China balancing coalition, which is sure to infuriate China and fuel the security competition between Beijing and Washington.

The picture I have painted of what is likely to happen if China continues its rise is not a pretty one. I actually find it categorically depressing and wish that I could tell a more optimistic story about the future.

But the fact is that international politics is a nasty and dangerous business and no amount of goodwill can ameliorate the intense security competition that sets in when an aspiring hegemon appears in Eurasia.

That is the tragedy of great power politics.

The fact is that when one hegemon replaces another, the usual result is a series of wars. Hegemony-making is a bloody mess.

UPDATE: Budding Sinologist commented:

John Mearsheimer has quite a history of being wrong as noted by Logan Wright in his analysis of this same article and a commenter pointed out in my post on the same subject. Of course Mearsheimer thinks China will be the next threat, he is an offensive realist (actually he is the father thereof). I love Logan’s title: “Offensive Realism and China: ‘I’m right, just wait longer…’”