The relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been called the most crucial of the twenty-first century. On most measures, economic or military, geopolitical or diplomatic, they compete with each other. Both powers, in different ways, see themselves as intrinsically global – the United States more through promotion of what it regards as universally valid political and social values, and China simply because of the vast importance of its economic and developmental reach. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the relationship between the two impacts on almost every other country, sometimes enforcing them to take sides, or creating problems in their allegiances. China and the United States are not only indispensable to each other, they are also indispensable to everyone else. This chapter looks at the ways in which how they relate to each other inevitably impacts on the rest of the world, and in what ways this manifests itself, and attempts to provide a holistic framework from which to understand this relationship.
Kerry Brown and Meghan Iverson
China and the US are the contemporary world's two greatest powers. And yet there is a lack of consensus about how far they are able to work with each other, accommodating China's new pre-eminence and the US' need to adapt and change its posture particularly in the Asia Pacific region. In terms of hard power, for the foreseeable future the US will still be overwhelmingly preeminent. And yet in other areas, we are already seeing changes to the role it plays, particularly under Donald Trump, and the ways in which it is trying to craft a new narrative for the region with, and around, China. This chapter attempts to describe how this new narrative might unfold.