U.S. - China: “Power Transition” and the Outlines of “Conflict Bipolarity”

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Abstract


This article focuses on the phenomenon of global rivalry between China and the United States in terms of power transition theory, which is scientifically new and relevant due to the increased attention to the so-called “Thucydides trap”, in which, as some experts claim, both states have fallen. This paper presents a different vision of the global rivalry for leadership in the shaping of a new world order, which has already taken the form of overt non-violent confrontation and manifests itself in technological and trade wars as well as scientific and cultural rivalries. Nevertheless, despite the non-violent nature of the rivalry, this process is followed by an increase in the military capabilities of states, mainly projected in the basins of the Pacific and Indian Oceans (Indo-Pacific region). The methodological basis of the paper is ‘power transition’ theory, which has been developed over the past 60 years by A.F. Organsky, J. Kugler, D. Lemke, R. Tammen and other researchers, united in the TransResearch Consortium. The authors argue that the analytical prism of this theory is more relevant to the analysis of current global rivalry than the classical neorealist balance of power approach. Through the prism of the theory the issues of rebalancing the global system of economic governance are analyzed. Also, a comparative analysis of the US-Japanese and US-Chinese trade and technological wars is carried out. Both the military and aggregate capabilities of two countries on a global scale and in the Indo-Pacific region are examined. The conclusion contains findings and comments on the impact of U.S. - China rivalry on the system of international relations.


Full Text

 

Fig. 1. Visual Interpretation of Power Transition Theory
Source: compiled by the authors on the basis of: [The Oxford Encyclopedia… 2018].

 

Fig. 2. Satisfaction by status-quo in world hierarchy
Source: compiled by the authors on the basis of: [The Oxford Encyclopedia… 2018].

 

Fig. 3. US-led and China-led Institutions of Global Economic Governance
Source: compiled by the authors on the basis of: [Дегтерев 2016: 91].

 

Fig. 4a. Share of U.S. nominal GDP in current U.S. dollars, %
Source: World Development Indicators // World Bank. URL: https://databank.worldbank.org/source/world-development-indicators (accessed: 02.02.2021).

 

Fig4b. Share of U.S. nominal GDP per capita in current U.S. dollars, %
Source: World Development Indicators // World Bank. URL: https://databank.worldbank.org/source/world-development-indicators (accessed: 02.02.2021).

 

Fig. 4c. Share of U.S. GDP at PPP per capita  in current international dollars, %
Source: World Development Indicators // World Bank. URL: https://databank.worldbank.org/source/world-development-indicators (accessed: 02.02.2021).

 

Fig. 4d. Share of U.S. GDP at PPP in current U.S. dollars, %
Source: World Development Indicators // World Bank. URL: https://databank.worldbank.org/source/world-development-indicators (accessed: 02.02.2021).

 

 

Fig. 5. A brief timeline of the U.S. — China Trade War in 2018—2021
Source: compiled by the authors based on: The US — China Trade War: A Timeline // China Briefing. August 25, 2020. URL: https://www.china-briefing.com/news/the-us-china-trade-war-a-timeline/ (accessed: 02.02.2021).
Note: events relevant to the technology sphere are shaded.

 

Fig. 6a. U.S.-China trade in 2010—2020, billions USD
Source: U.S. Census Bureau. URL: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html (accessed: 02.02.2021).

 

Fig. 6b. U.S. — China trade balance in 2010—2020, billions USD
Source: U.S. Census Bureau. URL: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html (accessed: 02.02.2021).

 

Fig. 7a. TOP 5 countries by CINC1970—2018
Source: prepared by the authors based on the data from: 1970—2012. — NMC 5.0. URL: https://correlatesofwar.org/
data-sets/national-material-capabilities/nmc-v5-1 (accessed: 02.02.2021); 2018 — [Degterev, Nikulin, Ramich 2021: 313—319].

 

Fig. 7b. CINC 2018 components
Source: prepared by the authors based on the data from: 1970—2012. — NMC 5.0. URL: https://correlatesofwar.org/
data-sets/national-material-capabilities/nmc-v5-1 (accessed: 02.02.2021); 2018 — [Degterev, Nikulin, Ramich 2021: 313—319].

About the authors

Denis Andreevich Degterev

RUDN University

Author for correspondence.
Email: degterev-da@rudn.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7426-1383
Moscow, Russian Federation

Dr. of Sc. (Political Science), PhD in Economics, Head, Department of Theory and History of International Relations, RUDN University; Professor, World Economy Department, MGIMO University; Professor, Department of European Studies; St. Petersburg State University

Mirzet Safetovich Ramich

RUDN University

Email: ramich_ms@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1479-2785
Moscow, Russian Federation

Postgraduate Student, Department of Theory and History of International Relations

Anatoly Vladimirovich Tsvyk

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Email: a.tsvyk91@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0563-5609
Moscow, Russian Federation

PhD in History

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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files Action
1.
Fig. 1. Visual Interpretation of Power Transition Theory

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2.
Fig. 2. Satisfaction by status-quo in world hierarchy

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3.
Fig. 3. US-led and China-led Institutions of Global Economic Governance

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4.
Fig. 4a. Share of U.S. nominal GDP in current U.S. dollars, %

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5.
Fig. 4b. Share of U.S. nominal GDP per capita in current U.S. dollars, %

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6.
Fig. 4c. Share of U.S. GDP at PPP per capita in current international dollars, %

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7.
Fig. 4d. Share of U.S. GDP at PPP in current U.S. dollars, %

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8.
Fig. 5. A brief timeline of the U.S. — China Trade War in 2018—2021

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9.
Fig. 6a. U.S.-China trade in 2010—2020, billions USD

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10.
Fig. 6b. U.S. — China trade balance in 2010—2020, billions USD

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11.
Fig. 7a. TOP 5 countries by CINC1970—2018

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12.
Fig. 7b. CINC 2018 components

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