A New Cold War? Causes and Future of the Emerging US-China Rivalry

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Abstract


The Trump Administration declared China a strategic competitor and a revisionist power. It escalated a trade war to a fullfrontal clash with China. Some experts qualified it as a new Cold War between the US and China. Both countries are undergoing dramatic transformation. Their destinations will determine the course and outcome of the emerging US-China rivalry. This article argues that while engagement is now defined by competitive interests, the profound interdependence continues underpinning the bilateral relationship. Although there is no precedent to guide economic and geostrategic competition between the two largest and deeply intertwined economies and heavily militarized superpowers, the US and China must find some balance of interests with each other and avoid violent confrontation that serves neither’s interest. This level of engagement requires vision and flexibility. With strong economic interdependence, the existence of an international institutional order, limited ideological confrontation, and nuclear second-strike capability, leaders of two countries have no choice but find ways to manage their competition and continue futher engagement with each other. Authors conclude that the stronger China grows, the harder it gets for Washington to force it back down. Driving PRC into a corner is the way to make China even tougher. So it could cause more severe consequences for both countries.

About the authors

Zhao Suisheng

University of Denver

Email: cambridgeyd@163.com

Professor and Director of the Center for China-US Cooperation, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

Dan Guo

Party School of the Central Committee of C.P.C (Chinese Academy of Governance)

Email: cambridgeyd@163.com

Ph.D. Candidate, the International Strategic Research Institute and of the Graduate School, Party School of the Central Committee of CPC (Chinese Academy of Governance), Visiting scholar at University of Denver

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