The EU, the US and China – Towards a New International Order?
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The EU, the US and China – Towards a New International Order?

Edited by Men Jing and Wei Shen

The interaction between the EU, the US and China is of particular importance to the formation of the international order in the 21st century. This book focuses on the latest developments and examines how critical the interactions between these three players are to future global governance.
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Chapter 2: The EU, the US and China: strategic engagement, political commitment and diplomatic interaction in multilateral arenas

Michael Smith


This chapter sets out to delineate and to explore a puzzle arising from the mutual engagement of the EU, the US and China in a range of multilateral arenas. The puzzle is this: that the three parties are increasingly engaged with groupings such as the G20, but that they apparently have markedly differing conceptualizations and experiences of and approaches to multilateral cooperation arising from a series of contextual and other factors. This in turn leads to a puzzle about multilateral cooperation more generally: there is clearly an increasing demand for such cooperation, but it is very unclear exactly where and how this demand can be satisfied and if it were to be satisfied, how this would affect the broader provision of global governance and world order. The performance of multilateral groupings can be seen as decidedly sub-optimal, and this raises important questions about the roles of institutions, ideas and power in processes of global governance (Barnett and Duvall 2003). In addressing these questions, the chapter deals with issues that are at the core of this volume: how, when and why might the relations between the EU, the US and China form the basis for a New International Order? Moreover, these issues relate very strongly to questions about the ways in which the EU might approach some solutions to the global puzzles that confront it (Gnesotto and Grevi 2006).

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