China and USA foreign policy
The flurry of speculation and polemic that has characterized U.S.-Chinese relations in the past decade or so reached a new intensity with the leadership turnover in China earlier this year. As Barack Obama started his second term in office and Xi Jinping assumed power in March, renewed debates emerged about the future of U.S.-Chinese relations, still perceived as the two greatest competitors for hegemonic status in international affairs. However, the reevaluation of this critical relationship has in fact known successive rounds. With the shock of the recession, the economic “scramble” for Africa (both Xi Jinping and Obama visited Africa earlier this year with grand investment plans) and not least the agitation that China feels is instigated by the United States in South East Asia, the relations between the two countries have reached occasional strains. This relationship has also been punctuated by a few frictional episodes such as accusations of cyber spying against Beijing or inescapable dilemmas over environmental issues (both fearing that unilateral reductions of CO2 emissions would slow down their economies and reduce the leverage of one against the other). Such moments added further conundrums to this critical relationship and scholars and policy analysts alike have been keen to propose their forecasts. In the field of international relations, the scholarly explanations for U.S.-Chinese relations are commonly divided among realists, liberals and constructivists, and ranging from pessimistic to optimistic scenarios. Realists predict inescapable security dilemmas and power balancing arising between the two countries, further complicated by regional dynamics and the possession of nuclear weapons by both. On a more optimistic note, the liberal argument stresses the economic interests and institutional connections between the two countries (including membership in international organizations) as enablers of trust and cooperation....
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