Chapter 3: Sino-EU-US relations: where are they going?
International relations have been evolving rapidly since the end of the Cold War. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US became the only superpower in the 1990s. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, although Washington still took the leadership in world affairs, it encountered more and more difficulties in maintaining its supreme status. The financial crisis, which began in 2008, weakened its influence. As a consequence, the emerging powers are becoming more visible on the global scene, on issues ranging from world governance to financial and economic security. In particular, China is becoming an indispensable player in almost all the important world affairs. The EU, as a regional organization with 28 member states, aspires to be not only an economic power and normative power, but also to play an important role in global political and security issues. While the EU's enlargement to the east indeed made the union larger, it does not necessarily make it stronger. The euro came into existence at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and has become the currency of 17 EU member states. However, the financial crisis dragged the euro into an evident crisis that seems likely to negatively affect the integration process of the EU. The EU faces a serious challenge as to how to stabilize the Eurozone and solve the sovereign debt problem.As founders of the current international system, the US and the EU's leading member states do retain great influence in international affairs.
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