Bipolarity and the future of U.S.-China relations
Title: Bipolarity and the future of U.S.-China relations
Author: MAHER, Richard
Citation: Political science quarterly, 2018, Vol. 133, No. 3, pp. 497-525
Series/Number: [Global Governance Programme]; [Europe in the World]
ISSN: 0032-3195; 1538-165X
With the economic, political, and military rise of China over the past two decades, the international system is experiencing its most profound transformation in at least a quarter century. While there is no consensus today on the future of China’s rise, or the impact it will have on the global distribution of power or on world politics more broadly, it seems increasingly clear that the “unipolar moment” in world politics is approaching its twilight. The United States will remain the preeminent world power well into the future. It will be decades before China is able to match—let alone surpass—the United States across the full spectrum of power assets and capabilities or to equal the United States’ ability to convert power resources into effective global influence. But while it is doubtful that China will become a superpower of the same scale as the United States, China does not have to perfectly equal U.S. power and influence to have enough global reach for the system to be considered bipolar. China and the United States will stand apart from the rest of the world in the coming decades, thus returning the international system to a condition of rough, or “loose,” bipolarity.
First published: 19 September 2018
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