The Past Serving the Present: Yan Xuetongs Theory of Moral Realism and the Future of the Global Order

3391
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-11-76-84
S. Krivokhizh (skrivokhizh@hse.ru),
National Research University Higher School of Economics (Saint Petersburg), 16, Souyza Pechatnikov Str., Saint Petersburg 190121, Russian Federation;
E. Soboleva (edsoboleva@hse.ru),
National Research University Higher School of Economics (Saint Petersburg), 16, Souyza Pechatnikov Str., Saint Petersburg 190121, Russian Federation

Abstract. Recently Chinese IR scholars have been debating the need to create their own original theory of international relations, which is traditionally dominated by Western scholars. One of the key contributors to the ongoing debate is Yan Xuetong, the professor of Tsinghua University. In 2005 he started a research project, which aim was to enrich international relations with non-Western thought and historical experience. He analyzed Chinese classical texts from the Pre-Qin era and evaluated their applicability to the analysis of modern international relations. In 2014 he formulated the theory of moral realism, which combined main assumptions of realism with new concepts derived from the ancient Chinese thought. The main goal of the theory and related research questions is to provide an alternative explanation of China’s rise and the future of the world order. In this article, the authors analyse the key concepts of the theory presented in different publications of Yan Xuetong: morality, political strength, power, types of leadership and types of major power. The key concept of the theory is morality, which is borrowed from the ancient Chinese philosophy. Moral behaviour in domestic and international politics increases strength and comprehensive power of a state on the international arena, while moral qualities of the major power shape the world order and determine international stability. The authors examine practical recommendations built upon the moral realism theory that Yan Xuetong gives to the Chinese leadership. From a scientific point of view, the theory is criticized for the lack of clear definitions, for contradictions and biases, but it is valuable because it reflects the thinking of major Chinese intellectuals. 

Keywords: international relations theory, moral realism, Yan Xuetong, Chinese foreign policy 


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For citation:
Krivokhizh S., Soboleva E. The Past Serving the Present: Yan Xuetongs Theory of Moral Realism and the Future of the Global Order. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2017, vol. 61, no. 11, pp. 76-84. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-11-76-84



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