The Nuclear Peace and its Consequences for China's Rise

I just put the finishing touches on my M.A. thesis, bringing one of the most stressful months of my life to a satisfying close. 10,181 words, 45 pages, three entirely different drafts, and an ungodly amount of writing and revision. I am happy with the finished product and will turn it in tomorrow morning, then post a link to it online. My faculty advisor was John Mearsheimer, the best professor I’ve had at the U of C and one of the most influential international relations scholars in America.

The thesis:

I argue that security conflict between the U.S. and China can be managed short of war, regardless of how strong China becomes. This is the case because of the phenomenon known as the “nuclear peace”; because every great power in the contemporary international system possesses a secure, second-strike nuclear capability, the best prediction we can make is that every possible conflict between the U.S. and China - or any pair of contemporary great powers - will be stopped short of war because of nuclear deterrence, which raises the costs of war to unacceptably high levels, outweighing all potential political gains to be had by conquest. With this behind me, I’m turning my mind away from school and on to other things, with the exception of my Japanese and Norwegian coursework. I still need to finish Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, and I’m currently reading several books on education: Alfie Kohn’s What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated?, Nel Nodding’s Philosophy of Education, and Myron Lieberman’s The Educational Morass, among others. I am extremely excited for this weekend, as I am going home to Muskegon, MI to hang out with my wonderful family for the first time since March.

I feel as though an enormous burden has been lifted from me.

Ryan McCarl
Attorney | Writer | Educator