US-China Relations

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2008 by John Murnane

China and the United States: On a Collision Course? 

 

Jesse Zaitchik 

A cursory view of historical and current events might lead one to believe that the future of U.S.- China relations is rosy. A more critical, and informed view of these same facts, however, might lead an astute observer of U.S.- China relations to have a more pessimistic view of the future. The U.S and China have always had differences in their philosophical views and foreign policy, and they no longer have the common enemy of the USSR. Also, the Chinese economy is growing faster then any other, causing them to be less reliant on their economic connection with the U.S. Since President Nixon opened the door for renewed U.S.-China diplomacy, Americans have assumed that virtually all is well between the two countries. We assumed that Chinese needed us so much that they would never risk severing ties with the U.S. There are signs that we have misread Chinese intentions historically, are turning a blind eye to current signs of trouble, and will pay in the future for our naivete.

For centuries, China was the most powerful nation in the Far East. Long before Europeans made contact with China, China was the predominant economic and cultural power in the region. Before the late 1700’s, China had little contact with the West. As European nations pushed for more trade, China resisted the impact of foreigners, both culturally and economically. Because of China’s great natural resources, Western merchants and diplomats pressed the issue and tried to open trade. They realized that the only way that they could succeed in fully opening potential markets was to work at changing traditional Chinese trade laws and customs. It was not until the international narcotics trade flourished that the impediments to trade between the West and China diminished. The Opium War signaled an end to Chinese isolationism, as the British forced open Chinese markets to trade. What is equally important, however, is that the Treaty of Nanking (1842) and several subsequent treaties, were viewed as disgraceful by the Chinese. The Treaty of Nanking, which gave the British the island of Hong Kong as a colony and forced the Chinese to open five “treaty ports” for trade which became foreign settlements, brought closure to the Opium War. It was a treaty that clearly benefited Britain at the expense of the Chinese. According to the Chinese, it served as the beginning of a 100-year period of “unequal treaties” or the “century of dishonor.”

The Treaty of Wangshia, formed in 1844, is an example of a subsequent “unequal” treaty. Following China’s defeat in the Opium War, China was too weak to handle other western demands. The U.S. took advantage of the weakness of China by demanding that it should receive the same trading rights as the British and also that they should receive any privileges granted to other countries in the future. This granted the U.S. “favored nation status.” China referred to this demand of the U.S. as “jackal diplomacy,” expressing its belief that the U.S. was acting like a jackal, which feeds on the carrion after another animal makes a kill.

Another concession forced upon China by the West was that it must allow Christian missionaries to “spread the gospel.” Both Catholic and Protestant missionaries fought a “holy war’ against the “pagan” (i.e., non-Christian) religions of China. Eventually, Christianity seemed to be just another form of imperialism to many Chinese. In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion began. The Boxers were a “secret society” which encouraged attacks on foreign diplomats, missionaries and merchants. In June 1900, they killed the German Minister and then laid siege to a foreign settlement in Beijing. The Chinese government did not aid them and they were eventually squashed by an international army that included American Marines. Although the Boxers were a small group, their rebellion led to even greater sanctions by the west on China. China had to pay money and had to allow more foreign troops to be stationed on its soil. In the years leading up to World War I, then, a clear pattern of western imperialism and belittling of Chinese culture had emerged.

World War I caused a period of disarray, not only in Europe, but also in the Far East. China had to deal with its own internal struggles as well as resisting Japanese attempts to increase its imperialism in China. When Yuan Shih-k’ai died in 1916, it created a tremendous internal conflict. His death led to the collapse of the central government in China. The “warlords,” regional militarists, took over the provinces with their private armies. The “warlords,” however, were only concerned with their own interests. They taxed heavily and even received bribes from foreign countries. Simultaneously, the Chinese were fighting off the Japanese. The U.S. sided with the Chinese to help remove Japanese influence from China and prevent them from increasing its imperialism. Although, the two countries were allies during the war, it was after the war when Wilson formed the League of Nations that there was hope for the Chinese that the U.S. policy of imperialism would change. The League of Nations was formed on the premise that open economic competition would end the need for war and imperialism. Theoretically, Wilson believed that this “open door” policy would be good both for the West, which would continue to prosper, and to the developing countries who could improve their economies by selling goods on the open market. China’s hopes were dashed, however, when Wilson agreed to allow Japan into the League of Nations and he conceded control of Shantung province to them. China felt betrayed by this agreement, and it was in 1919 that the May 4th Movement began. This was a group of students who protested the U.S. Japan agreement. The May 4th Movement was the first anti-imperialist movement in modern China.

Shortly after the Russian Revolution, Chinese Communism began to take hold. China was clearly a country ripe for such ideas, and a growing Communist influence was growing. Chiang Kai-shek, however, was an ardent anti-Communist and he managed to take control of the government by 1925. He did not receive much aid or support from the U.S. at this time and, in fact, was initially supported by the Soviets. At the same time, Japan had been rising as a major power in the region since the end of the 18th century. By the late 1920’s, Japan was beginning to impose its will regarding Chinese politics. In 1931, the Japanese drove the Chinese out of the provinces in northeast China. The U.S., deep in an economic depression, did nothing. Until 1938, the U.S. would do nothing to help China except express its regret.

As World War II loomed, however, it became clear to the U.S. that it was in their interest to support Chiang and the Chinese in their struggle against Japan, who was allied with Germany and Italy. In 1937, Roosevelt finally went public with the U.S. position that it was important that China hold off Japanese aggression. The U.S. went all out to support Chiang, but did so in exchange for Chiang’s allegiance to the U.S. Chiang was still coping with internal struggles against the Communists. By 1944, Roosevelt knew he had to bring unity between the factions within China so that unified China could fight off Japan. He hoped that this unity would last after the war and that a Chinese Civil War could be avoided. U.S. support of Chiang, however, would not be forgotten by the Chinese Communists.

By the time of the “Cultural Revolution” and the victory of Mao over Chaing, almost two hundred years of history had made it nearly inevitable that the U.S. would be demonized. From President Tyler to President Truman, from the Treaty of Nanking to the Yalta Conference, the U.S. had only supported China when it was in its self-interest. U.S. imperialism had given way to U.S. leverage to use China against Japan, but China was never treated as an equal partner. After the Cultural Revolution, China again isolated itself and Mao did whatever he could to violently erase all the vestiges of Western imperialism and influence. The U.S. and China would not reestablish any diplomatic or economic relations until Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972.

However, much was occurring in the world during this time that had an impact in the short-term and long-term relationship between the two countries. After World War II, it became clearer to American politicians and to the American people that we had “lost” China. In August, 1949, the Truman administration issued the “China White Paper,” which presented the view that Chiang had brought defeat upon himself due to incompetence and corruption. A “Cover Letter” attached to the report (written by Dean Acheson, Secretary of State) ironically denounced the Chinese Communists for abandoning their “Chinese heritage” by announcing their “subservience to a foreign power, Russia.” Although it was true that Mao had said that he favored socialism over imperialism, the Cover Letter did not note that China had been, in essence, subservient to the West for over a century. Also, the U.S. made overtures to Japan hoping that they could turn Japan into a pro-American base in the Far East. Mao called the American policy toward China a “fraud” and in 1950 he signed a Friendship Treaty with Joseph Stalin and Russia. Although many American citizens were shocked by the reversal of fortune in China (thinking that China wanted to move toward a more Western style of life), the Chinese reaction to the “hypocrisy” of the U.S. policies toward China should not have been a surprise. By the end of 1950, the U.S. and China would be at war in Korea. In the Korean Conflict, the U.S. went to war to protect its interests in South Korea, Nationalist China, and French Indochina. Americans were told to be frightened of Communism, both overseas and at home. Senator Joseph McCarthy began his notorious attack on Communism in the U.S. by “rooting out” Communists who worked for the U.S. State Department. As the “Red Scare” escalated at home, so too did the conflict over Korea. Even after the end of the conflict, the Eisenhower administration chose to keep tensions high with China. His administration continued to provide support to Chiang and Taiwan and it started SEATO, a group of anti-Communist countries that bordered China. The administration also maintained a trade embargo against China. Eisenhower hoped to isolate China from all Western contact and, therefore, rely on the Soviet Union for economic help. Eisenhower believed that Russia was not equipped to provide the kind of help that China needed and that China would eventually get frustrated and return to the U.S. for help. The U.S. continued this anti-China policy throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s with restrictions in travel to China, the training of anti-Chinese terrorists, and CIA-sponsored raids against China.

Despite the aggressive nature of U.S. policy toward China, the bond between

China and the Soviet Union showed more and more stress over time. It became clear that the Chinese model of Communism was very different than the Soviet version, and Mao did not like that fact that China was treated as a poor cousin by the Soviets. At the same time that Chinese-Soviet relations showed strain, the U.S. and the Soviets were improving their relations gradually. The U.S. and Russia were at least attempting to come to agreements about arms control and they began to work together to control the growth of Chinese nuclear capability. An undercurrent of mutual fear existed between the Soviets and China, in large part due to their proximity. By the time of John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963, his administration believed that the Chinese-Soviet “monolith” had split apart. Then came the War in Vietnam.When many factors indicated that the U.S. and China might begin a dialogue, the conflict in Vietnam erupted. The French had occupied Vietnam for over a decade when the U.S. began giving them aid. The Chinese were supporting the rebel troops of Ho Chi Minh. In 1954, the French troops lost a major battle to the rebels. The Geneva Conference of 1954 split Vietnam in half, giving the North to the Communists and the South to the pro-French Vietnamese. There were elections scheduled for 1956 that were supposed to unify the country once again, but Ho Chi Minh did not support this plan, who believed that he should control all of Vietnam. The U.S. was trying to strengthen an anti-Communist government in South Vietnam. The U.S. began to espouse the “domino theory” of Communism, which stated that Communism would move from one vulnerable spot to an adjacent one on the globe and gradually gain power.

Keeping Vietnam, then, became very important. American involvement grew over the 1950’s and by the time Kennedy became President in 1961, Americans began to go to Vietnam as “advisors.” Ho Chi Minh began to be seen as a villain by Americans and the U.S. eventually sent thousands of troops to save South Vietnam from Communism. President Johnson escalated American involvement at least in part because he believed that “the shadow of China” was looming over Asia.

It was very ironic that the President who finally opened the door to U.S.-China diplomacy was Richard Nixon. He had become famous as ardent anti-Communist and, later, he supported that war in Vietnam. But by the time he became President, he understood that the relationship with China was a complicated one and that it was important to include China in diplomatic debate in the future. By 1972, Nixon had decided to deescalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam and to reestablish diplomatic relations with China. The increasing tensions between China and Russia helped move China toward discussion with Nixon and the U.S. After twenty years of blatant hostility, the U.S. and China began talking again about “peaceful coexistence.”

Over the course of the next two decades, the U.S. and China became involved in several joint ventures and appeared to be well on the way to peaceful coexistence. Nixon’s goal of “normalized relationships” between China and the U.S. seemed attainable. The illusion of shared values and goals was created because over most of these years the U.S. and China needed each other for various reasons. China needed the U.S. in order to improve its economy, to provide needed technology, and to buffer tensions with Russia. The U.S. was well aware of the huge potential market that China represented and also welcomed an ally (albeit a Communist one) against the Soviets on many issues.

It may be naive, however, to only look at the past twenty years of relatively stable and friendly relations to come to the conclusion that the U.S. and China will avoid major conflict. Over recent years there is evidence that many of the same tensions and differences between the two countries have never truly disappeared.

After China took over Hong Kong in 1996 they began to replace the democratically elected legislature with one that they have appointed. Also, China gave the police the power to ban demonstrations and they suspended several labor laws. China made it abundantly clear that they wanted to gain control of Taiwan, as well, and made inroads in Taiwan’s economy. China has given support to several enemies of the U.S. in recent years, including Iran, Sudan, and Nigeria. China has developed its nuclear arsenal over the past decades. Chinese officials have made statements that reflect the belief that the U.S. is the “enemy” of the Chinese people. By these actions, China has demonstrated that their goals and values do not reflect the goals and values of the U.S. As shown, the U.S. has already been engaged in three armed conflicts in order to prevent any domination of Asia by a superpower.

The U.S. has historically misread the intentions and aspirations of China. At times, the U.S. has wrongly believed that China wished to become Westernized and at other times the U.S. has overreacted to Chinese policy because of its phobia about Communism. It appears that the U.S. is currently misreading signs that China has divergent goals from its own. One would hope that as China makes aggressive economic and military moves in the region, the U.S. will not be blind to the potential for future political and military conflict

 

 

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DBQ, Ronaldshay and Imperialism

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2008 by John Murnane

The European Misconception On The Westernization Of The East: The Boxer Rebellion, Sepoy Mutiny, Belgian Congo, Urabi Revolt, & Hut Tax War.*

Matthew Echelman
Dr. John Murnane
AP World History Period D
March 4, 2008

Lord Ronaldshay’s remarks “that contact with Western thought and Western ideals has exercised a revivifying influence upon all the races of the East” exemplifies a familiar European perspective that is mostly erroneous. While it is undeniable that there have been some benefits to direct European presence in the latter half of 1763 to 1914, Lord Ronaldshay’s excerpt does not recognize the mistreatment of most native populaces. Initially, it is perhaps valid to say that European westernization was economically and culturally constructive, as it helped to modernize Eastern regions like Japan and India, centuries behind in technology. Nonetheless, this assistance erupted into an ultra-competitive race for power amongst the primary European world leaders. In turn, these subjugated Easterners were then repressed and their interests ignored, hence conflicting with Lord Ronaldshay’s testimonial. Upon looking at the Boxer Rebellion, Sepoy Mutiny, Belgian Congo, Urabi Revolt, and Hut Tax War, it is apparent that westernization was in most cases destructive and that he is simply wrongheaded in his outlook. The Chinese response to this exploitation, a policy the Westerners called “carving up the Chinese melon,” was the Boxer Rebellion. Similarly, in India and Sierra Leone, this same corrupt European governance occurred, though solely British, and was combated with the Sepoy Mutiny and Hut Tax War. Around the same time, problems with westernization were also arising in the Belgian Congo under King Leopold II, and all over Egypt with the Urabi Revolt. Thus, Lord Ronaldshay’s statements are faulty, seeing that there has not always been a “revivifying influence [with]…those that have come into the sharpest contact with [the West].”

As European westernization began, many Eastern regions “could see no flaw in the civilization or culture of the West” (Document 1), so therefore either openly consolidated with their ethical standards, like India, or had it imposed, as seen in Japan. With the introduction of railroads and educational facilities, European intervention greatly improved India’s public transportation system and achieved higher levels of literacy. However, due to the partitioning of India’s vast population over an immense region, these advancements had little effect. Whereas traditional unifying principles were crucial to Eastern morality, these innovative Western ideals stressed “the enfranchisement of the individual, the substitution of the right of private judgment in place of traditional authority, [and] the exaltation of duty over custom” (Document 1). Consequentially, Japan opted out of “the adoration of all things Western, [and to return to their]…time-honored ways and customs” (Document 1). Despite their original defiance, when Matthew Calbraith Perry disembarked on Japanese soil in 1854 and insisted that it reopen its borders, Japan willingly obliged. Rather than risking a fate alike China’s at the close of the Opium Wars, the Japanese thought submission and adaptation a more sensible alternative. Surprisingly, the outcome was infrastructural and technological growth at an outstanding pace, something not seen again until Germany’s recovery from World War I. This being the case, Lord Ronaldshay’s accounts are undoubtedly factual, since European westernization did help the East move away from its industrial and scientific standstill. Though these productive aspects were definitely witnessed, the subsequent European occupation resulted with Easterners “suffering from the oppression of the Western peoples” (Document 2). For this reason, all of Lord Ronaldshay’s supposed glorifications of the West are contradicted by European’s ethnocentric and hostile actions towards the East.

While China had once remained separate from Western trading networks, as soon as its precious goods gained awareness, the dominant European nations began claiming exclusive trading rights to certain parts of China. Shortly thereafter, China had been divided into Europeanized “spheres of influence,” even involving allegations to owning various Chinese districts. Furthermore, as this foreign influence continued to expand, and gradually gain control of all China’s exports, the Chinese economy fell into steady decline. Also, more cultural boundaries were crossed as the influx of Christian missionaries began finding converts for their alien religion. As retaliation, in 1899, a “movement against foreigners [developed called the Boxer Rebellion], and a tendency towards [instilling] the ideals of…‘the Chinese’” (Document 3). Unfortunately for China, the disturbance was suppressed by 1901, and the Europeans humiliated the imperial government with the partial terms of the Boxer Protocol. In relation to Lord Ronaldshay’s biased thinking that the West liberates the East, this progression in China emulates this European fallacy.
Situated also in Asia, India was another region to experience many years of chauvinistic European cruelty, as it instilled a corrupt leadership centered on racial discrimination. Although many countries had previously been involved in the Indian peninsula, Britain ultimately took charge. Following decades of British rule and increasing authority, the Indian government had steadily eroded into almost nothing. Completely disregarding Indian tradition and culture, by 1856, the British had abolished widow’s self-immolation and child marriages. Additionally, British regulations on agricultural crops, limited textile produce, and heavy taxation on the working class, rapidly diminished India’s financial prosperity. Before long, “everything English was [perceived as] good [and]…everything not English was to be viewed with suspicion” (Document 1). As these British restrictions persisted, Indians became enraged to the point of violence. Finally, in 1857, the Sepoy Mutiny transpired after legislature was passed requiring that innate Indian soldiers serve overseas, thereby losing caste. Despite an abrupt defeat, India’s message of resentment had been publicized to the world. In doing so, India overcame a stepping stone in toppling the British East India Company, a feat that would later lead to its independence. Hence, Lord Ronaldshay’s comments are once again proven to be inaccurate, since all this Indian bitterness for the British is a consequence of westernization.

Such relations did not improve whatsoever moving into Western Africa, as in Sierra Leone, endless European restrictions allowed its residents almost no liberties. In spite of the locals reluctantly obeying these biased laws, the Europeans exacerbated their burden as they then went on to “ill-use the natives” (Document 4). In order to continue funding the British administration, Britain decreed in 1893 that the people of Sierra Leone should be taxed on the size of their huts. This announcement came following other confinements like not being able to “keep slaves, nor have woman palaver, nor pledge human beings” (Document 4), so the Sierra Leoneans were outraged. With several tribal villages as military support, Bai Bureh, an indigenous born strategist, refused to recognize the hut tax Britain had enforced, and led his faction in an uprising against the British colonialists, known as the Hut Tax War of 1898. By the end of this quarrel, the Sierra Leoneans were victorious, and although Bai Bureh was eventually captured and exiled, Sierra Leon endured subsequent harmony. While this aggression surprisingly did conclude peacefully, the European’s strict policies brought havoc to Sierra Leone, a Western ruthlessness that hardly matches the “revivifying” assertion of Lord Ronaldshay.

Under King Leopold II, this level of brutality only was magnified in the Belgian Congo, where European management of the local population was so severe and inhumane that public pressure and diplomatic maneuvers eventually forced it to halt. Parallel to what had happened in China, the prominent European sovereign states gathered at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 to regulate European colonization and trade in Africa. At the close of this meeting, Belgium had been ceded the Belgian Congo and thereby permitted King Leopold II to reign the land grant freely as his personal province. Immediately, in contrast to what Lord Ronaldshay might presume, Leopold II executed a gruesome rubber and ivory industry involving forced slave labor and excessive slaughtering of the natives. Furthermore, through constructing one-sided treaties, with his interests in favor, and in a language illegible to the indigenous inhabitants, Leopold II attained massive territorial additions to his domain. Clearly, this European callousness in the Belgian Congo conflicts with what Lord Ronaldshay dubs the Western revival of the East.
Though there was no radical abuse of human rights as seen in the Belgian Congo, Egypt was also undergoing political unrest while under European rule. In correspondence with the rise of British and French influence in Egyptian administration, economical and monetary difficulties started to surface. By 1879, the British bankers conducting monetary affairs had thrust Egypt into extreme financial debt. Also, in other employment fields of Egyptian business commerce, Europeans had monopolized the higher ranks, preventing the civil advancement of Egyptians, while heavily taxing the peasants. As a result, tensions over these unfair circumstances turned to bloodshed as the Egyptians rioted against their European management in the Urabi Revolt, and seized control. However, command over Egypt would later fall to the British once again, as its independence was not until 1922. Therefore, the westernization of Egypt corrupts what had been a fairly stable administration, achieving the absolute opposite of what Lord Ronaldshay declares truthful.

Thus, in correlation with all these negating instances concerning Lord Ronaldshay’s thesis that the West “has exercised a revivifying influence upon…the East,” it is safe to say that he was mostly incorrect. Of course, there are obviously advantages to adopting Westernization, like the technological developments of James Watts’ steam engine and Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Nonetheless, when judged against European’s corrupt and manipulative governing, there is no comparison. Part of his initial documentation stated that “what may be the final outcome of the collision [between the East and West]…it is impossible to foretell,” a logical assumption that should not have been preceded any further. However amiss he may have been from the facts, his outlook was seemingly shared with many Westerners alike, that without whom, the world would not be governed the way it is.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

* While the provided documents do convey plenty of insight into the accounts of those of a wealthier status, such as a “prominent Indian, S. Banerjea” (Document 1), “Chinese leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen” (Document 2), and “an Englishman” (Document 3), more documents should be offered with the perspective of the working and poorer classes. This alteration is a necessity, since these more privileged persons are granted more autonomy, and thus might be biased in their reasoning. (Not enough information is given to infer the hierarchal standing of the individual of Document 4) Additionally, most of the documents are dated outside the time constraints of the question or are very close to end, such as in “1925” (Document 1), “1924” (Document 2), and “1906” (Document 3), meaning that other historical events during this superfluous period may influence the documentation. (Not enough information is given to infer the date of Document 4) Thus, documents dating from the remainder of the chronological restraints, sometime during 1839-1914, should be added.

http://worldhistoryap.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=2023183%3ABlogPost%3A641

Miles Davis

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2008 by John Murnane

AP Exam and Venn Diagram

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2008 by John Murnane

Evaluation of CNN’s Millennium Papers RUBRIC

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2008 by John Murnane

Evaluation of CNN’s Millennium Papers

Logical Structure?

Clear thesis?

Road map?

Topic sentences?

Film series identified ?

Balance treatment –critics say such and such etc.?

Pink Elephants re: Historical Evidence? Most of them?

Something re: the Japan section in “The Century of the Sword?”

Something re: Australia in “The Century of the Axe?”

Spread of Islam?

Crusades?

Feudalism in Europe and/or Japan?

Other?

Smooth (Miles Davis)?

Active voice ?

Grammar?

Afro-Eurasian Trade Network Papers RUBRIC

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2008 by John Murnane

Afro-Eurasian Trade Network Papers

Logical  Structure?

Clear thesis?
Road map?
Topic sentences?
Name of networks match data?
Balance treatment of time period (1000 to 1850)?

Pink Elephants? Most of them?

Buddhism?
Black Death?
Spread of Islam?
Age-grade System Destroyed (and or rise of Mali Songhay, Ghana Empires)?
Atlantic Slave Trade?
Columbus?
Conflicts (at least two in addition to the Opium Wars)?

Smooth (Miles Davis)?
Active voice ?
Grammar?

The Rise of the West, test essay

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2008 by John Murnane

The rise of the West is attributed to a wide range of factors. These factors can be categorized into three major areas: resources, ideas and ideology, and the overall structure of Western civilizations. Western resources such as “coal and colonies,” as Robert Marks put it, silver, potatoes, and corn from the New World gave way not only to larger populations and innovation, but a stronger military as well. The shift to quantification, or precision, also allowed for innovation as well as outstanding military feats by providing Western countries with more lethal and advanced weaponry and ships than those of Eastern countries. The newfound military power in addition to the stories of many adventurous conquerers in the West gave way to the idealization of adventure, wanting to express bravery, embark on a journey, and conquer. Structural factors such as the competition between Western states and the breakdown of hierarchical structures provided a more fluid environment where innovation was appreciated and gave the West an advantage over the East. The resources obtained, ideas, and structure of Western societies gave them an economic and martial advantage over the East, which ultimately gave way to their rise.

The resources obtained by the West, such as coal and silver, as well as the Columbian Exchange provided them with not only an economical advantage, but a military one too. Finding coal led to the Industrial Revolution, in which Britain was able to innovate by creating the first steam-powered ship, “The Nemesis.” With this discovery, Britain was able to force upon China, for example, the import of opium during the Opium Wars. Similar military power was gained by the import of New World crops. These crops, such as potatoes and corn, led to a population increase, which gave Western countries not only a larger military, but a stronger one with their new-found weaponry as well. In short, the resources obtained by Western civilizations gave them power and an advantage over the East by providing larger militaries and more lethal weaponry that Eastern countries could not defend against.

In addition to the aid of more advanced weapons being made during the shift to quantification, or precision, Westerners were able to conquer and expressed their power because of the many stories of previous conquerors that gave way to the idealization of adventure. The creation of Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and others allowed for innovation in forms of the first steam-powered ship and more precise weaponry, which gave the West military power and intimidation. Western conquerors were able to use this weaponry as they attempted to achieve similar, if not more outstanding, military feats as those of conquerors in the past. This wanting to conquer was known as the idealization of adventure, or more commonly known at the time as chivalry. Stories of King Arthur and his knights of the round table and Don Quixote’s adventures influenced Westerners such as Columbus to journey to the New World and Hernan Cortez to conquer the Yucatan by killing millions of Aztecs. This sense of adventure, fighting to the death, and bravery allowed the West to expand and conquer new lands, and ultimately to innovate and succeed.

Structural factors such as the breakdown of Western hierarchical structures and the competition between Western states, as argued by William McNeil and Paul Kennedy respectively, gave way to innovation and eventually an advantage for the West. William McNeil argues that because Western societies were able to overlook their hierarchies, they began to dissipate and create a more fluid environment in which innovation was promoted. Due to this breakdown, Martin Luther, for instance, was able to challenge the views of the Church and create his own branch of Christianity. Similarly, Galileo challenged the Churches views of the structure of the universe, which gave way to an entirely new understanding of astronomy. Also, improvements to the steam engine would not have been able to occur if it was not for the fluid environment Western societies tried to model. Contrasting, in China, Zheng He’s expeditions were halted and the emperor ordered all blueprints and written works about the voyages destroyed. Because of the power given to one ruler, China was not able to continue innovating their navy and possibly controlling the West. Moreover, Paul Kennedy argues that the division of Western states gave way to constant competition in order to outdo each other. In the East, China was recognized as the dominant power, which made other countries less motivated to achieve more. In the West, however, there were multiple potential powers that constantly were trying to achieve more than others. The competition gave way to innovation, and ultimately more power given to Western states than that of Eastern ones.

The rise of the West was attributed mainly to the resources they obtained, the ideas they had that provided an idealization of adventure, and the structure of their societies that allowed for competition and innovation.