Hegemony is an occurrence of an extension of political, social, cultural, and economic influence on other countries. In a unipolar system, it is the single pole. However, sometimes, there can exist two hegemons, comprising bipolar power system, for instance, the US and the USSR during the Cold War. During the Post-Classical Period (600-1450 CE), it was extremely difficult for one nation to gain the entire global domination due to the poor, distant communication. For instance, in Asia, the Mongol Empire and the Islamic Caliphate failed because of the limited land space for effective control (Yao 25). Therefore, the most suitable option for any Asian country was to establish regional hegemony. Consequently, China emerged as the most powerful and rich country that covered the vast Asian territory. A number of factors, including leadership ideology, mutual obligations, and the family traditions enhanced the economic rise of China, allowing it to be the hegemon of the Asian continent.
When analyzing the factors, which contributed to the development of China, it is necessary to outline crucial historical points. The end of the Han Dynasty in the 3rd century CE coincided with chaos experienced in China caused by the dynastic cycle patterns established during this period. However, the short-lived Sui dynasty (589-618 CE) led to the restoration of the centralized imperial rule of China. For instance, the Grand Canal built during this era contained man-made waterways, which increased the trade activities of the Chinese nation.
Then, a rebel leader Li Yuan annexed China’s capital in 618 and declared himself an emperor of the Tang Dynasty, which lasted for three hundred years. Consequently, China acquired strength as a nation and became a prosperous and powerful country. The Tang had three major accomplishments, namely an equal-field system, a merit-based bureaucracy, and a firm communications and transportation system. The latter was largely attributed to the Grand Canal construction. Additionally, well-built and well-maintained advanced road systems by the Tang rulers propelled the effective transportation and communications system. The emperor employed the equal-field system that ensured equal, fair distribution of land. The major problem faced was controlling the vast land accumulated by powerful families. Lastly, the developed system was assisted with the recruitment of educated, efficient, and loyal government officials, the majority of them being bureaucrats with high intellectual abilities. The hegemony of Tang China also extended through collecting money and gifts from other people. The empire stretched to Vietnam valleys to the south, Manchuria, and parts of Tibet. The Tang overran Korea in 668 and established Silla kingdom.
In relation to religious issues, Buddhism made an appearance through trade routes in China. It was widely practiced before the Tang Dynasty. The Buddhist monasteries held the majority of the land due to their dominant influence and exerted political impact. However, supporters of Confucianism and Daoism challenged Buddhism growth. Differences in beliefs resulted in the conflict arising between Buddhism and Confucianism. The qualities emphasized by Confucianism entailed societal duties of the individual, highest order value, obedience to superiors, and hierarchy. On the other hand, Buddhism encouraged its followers for society withdrawal and meditation.
Consequently, the 9th century led to the conspiracy of Confucian scholar-bureaucrats, aimed at convincing emperors to take monasteries’ land. They advised the emperors to use the equal-field system. As a result, thousands of monasteries were set ablaze under emperor Wuzong. This evacuation pushed many nuns and monks to forsake monasteries and return to civilian life. The Tang Dynasty and Buddhism faded, thus making Confucianism the central ideology of Chinese civilization.
According to Cohen and de Bary, Neo-Confucianism development brought to an end the Buddhism and Confucianism conflict (181). Politics and morality were a major concern of Classical Confucians who preached for an ordered political and social structure. Buddhist beliefs like individual spiritual relationships and the soul’s nature were familiar to the Neo-Confucians. They referred to Li, which means spiritual presence. The growth of the new form of Confucianism made a reconciliation of Confucianism and Buddhism.
Global hegemony has an influence on other countries by predetermining the international relationships. The hegemony’s description of the single pole is domineering, absolute, and does not have a purpose of questioning whether the subordinates are satisfied with the regime. The assumption of China as a global hegemony does not portray the world as a better place. Contrastingly, it inevitably results in the fostered national resentment and an international backlash incitement. The prosperity in the benevolent power role of the Chinese is unachievable due to the flawless of global hegemony concept.
A country’s favorable political, military, and economic position on a global arena leads to the praise of its trustworthy and efficient leaders. Powerful procurement and the nation’s ongoing propensity security make the citizens of such countries fill themselves with praises for high hopes of the nation’s elevation and global influence of hegemony. However, the global hegemony pursuit is tricky, replete with several global obligations and national interest undermined for the satisfaction of these obligations.
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A huge military, having greater abilities than other countries is a requirement for global hegemony (Cohen & de Bary 100). For this to be achieved, an increased defensive spending and the national expenditures cut back would be required, thus undermining the national interest. In addition, there is a need to satisfy the needs the majority of the population from which the military of China employs a number of its troops, who are willing to fight for the nation.
China as a Hegemon
As mentioned earlier, the Chinese regional hegemony depends on several factors, including ecological family, leadership, and mutual obligations, which lead to the economic prosperity of the nation.
The Ecological Family. The golden era of the Tang and Song shows the importance of a good family, leading to an effective empire. The increased infrastructure developed during this period aided in the economic growth of the nation.
In hegemony, the family is the pillar of continuous development of generations and abundant achievements of a given society. Families contribute to the growth of the society (Yao 47). Furthermore, they act as the core of education, humanization, and happiness among others. Mothers and fathers have for years been the source of education and attempted to arise humanist feelings in their children. Parents exemplified their authority by educating their children about their roles in the society. In turn, it assisted in the upbringing of intellects in the community.
Families also serve as the core of history and culture. Previously, the Chinese society tightened its patriarchal social structure owing to the increase in wealth and agricultural productivity. The elites had a purpose of preserving family fortunes and women were confined at home for ensuring purity. The wrapping of the feet of young girls for impairing their natural growth was the custom of the majority of the families. In addition, veil wearing by elite women underlined their subservience to their male counterparts.
Moreover, families enhance self-fulfillment and self-cultivation by building relations amongst other family members and other neighboring families. The family acts as a political analog in displaying an effective government. Proper order and effective leadership result in the development of the national economy.
Mutual Obligations. Mutual obligations are essential in hegemony. For example, distributive claims are properly comprehended as actions that aim at meeting the obligations to the family and to the society. These obligations are always bilateral and not unilateral. Particularly, the parent is in authority over the child and the men are responsible for their women. The children and women are submissive to their parents and men respectively. The same scenario is experienced in workplaces, as employees have to adhere to the demands of their employer.
For centuries, China has developed into a hegemon of the Asian continent, displaying its mutual obligations to other Asian countries. The wide spread of Confucianism instilled in other Asian countries like Korea and Japan led to the development of these nations.
Leadership Ideology. A nation’s survival depends on the type of leadership it has. Good governance precipitates the economy, well-being of citizens, political stability, and security to mention but a few. The goal of the Chinese rulers was to promote the society’s development, improving living standards and seeing the economic upheaval through proper infrastructure. One can view the adoption of Confucianism by rational rulers as a wise choice in power maximization. Several solutions were offered in the context of the government of East Asia between 618-1800 CE. Chinese rulers observed constraint from complex societies who wanted them to aid the social opposition provision of multiple sources and the build-up of coercive power resistance. The society called for robust commercialization and urbanization from their rulers (Cohen and de Bary 160). They yearned for commercialization of cities, villages, and market towns.
Good leadership is a virtue that is absorbed and built upon proper family structures. The values developed through families are essential for one to assume leadership roles. Parents’ requirements are to nurture their children to lead exemplary lives and have humility toward their family members and the society, in general. They help build the future leaders of the nation through their hard work and commitment in upbringing their offspring. A broken family with no qualities of good upbringing will raise children who will exhibit unfavorable character and behavior. The enormous lust for power allows conflict to arise in societies, thus diminishing the humanistic values instilled.
The negative form of the Golden Rule of Confucianism asserts that one should not do to others what one in turn would not want them to do to oneself. Further, it states that young generations are insolent and arrogant when growing up (Yao 28). In adulthood, one accomplishes nothing and at old age, one does not want to die. Nonetheless, it also proclaims that if one rules the family accordingly, the nation ruling will be as easy as a walk in the park. As the saying asserts that the charity begins at home, leadership is based on the proper family structure. It is mandatory for rulers to have leadership qualities to exercise power to the ruling party.
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The Chinese government for years has displayed good leadership performance that contributed to the establishment of their empire across Asia. Proper infrastructures set in place have encouraged trade between the Chinese people and other states. Furthermore, improved transport systems have eased the trading and movement of individuals across the state.
Concisely, one should admit that hegemony has both advantages and disadvantages. The latter often result in the vast negative implications for various nations. However, the Chinese regional hegemony has also led to an increased population over the years, urbanization, and technological innovations among others. The Chinese local hegemony aided the development of China into a world dominant regime. Additionally, it has boosted the economic value of the state on the global arena.