International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online)

Using Power Cycle Theory and Role Realignment Theory to Recognize the International Roles of China and the United States
Dr. Michael S. Pepe, Kaitlyn Krolik

Abstract
The future role of China and the United States within the international system continues to be a topic of discussion. According to the power cycle theory by Charles Doran and the role realignment theory by William Lahneman, the international system’s stability, as well as relations between states, is determined by the alignment of each state’s role within the system. Actual-potential role analysis measures the difference between the role a state is currently acting in and the role that major trends ascribe to that state. This difference is used to expose any role gaps that would cause tension and instability within the system. The current tension between China and the international system can be attributed to its actual role being much lower than its potential role; therefore, China is not contributing its appropriate share to the international system. The United States role gap extends the opposite direction as it is not properly adjusting to the changes within the system appropriately.

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