Handbook of US–China Relations
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Handbook of US–China Relations

Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan

This Handbook addresses the key questions surrounding US–China relations: what are the historical and contemporary contexts that underpin this complex relationship? How has the strategic rivalry between the two evolved? What are the key flashpoints in their relationship? What are the key security issues between the two powers? The international contributors explore the historical, political, economic, military, and international and regional spheres of the US–China relationship. The topics they discuss include human rights, Chinese public perception of the United States, US–China strategic rivalry, China’s defence build-up and cyber war.
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Chapter 10: China’s global challenge to the United States

Andrew T. H. Tan


China’s dramatic economic rise, its emerging global economic power, and its expanding military capabilities have led to predictions that it will soon supplant the United States as the dominant global power. However, it is not in fact on a trajectory to do so. China does not have the desire or capacity for global leadership, its armed forces are not organized for deployment and intervention in the far corners of the globe, and it suffers from a significant deficit in soft power that would make it appeal to others and confer it with global influence. On the other hand, the United States continues to have the will and capacity, backed by its global military capabilities and dominant position established following the end of World War II, to play a global role. Thus, while China’s global influence will increase as it becomes a global economic actor, it will in fact not replace the United States as the dominant global power any time soon. For the foreseeable future, the United States will remain the ‘indispensable nation’.

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