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International Relations Between the U.S and China

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The relations between the United States and China have grown dramatically since Nixon's visit in 1972. Nixon's visit got the Chinese and the US back as friends, instead of being against each other because of their government differences. This relationship has been very shaky ever since the nations have been dealing with each other. First, they were on good terms in the late seventeen hundreds. They traded with each other quite often, and American businessmen went over to start businesses in China, which helped out the economy a lot. When the Gold Rush started, there was a really bad disease that had gone all over southeast China.

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Segal in the concluding remarks of his article titled, “Tying China into International System” presented few assumptions. He foresaw that the uncontrolled economic growth in China would result in an increasing need and desire to trade with the outside world and China needs to be tied into the international system on the basis of these assumption about China’s future. One of them was a) that it will not disintegrate in chaos, will have a looser political system b) second that East Asian region will fail to develop any serious multilateralelism. There will be much talk in the region about the need to work more closely at the ASEAN and CSAP forum on the security of the region, however no real action was perceived. Surprisingly the East Asian region will have ramification of the Chinese power and the lead in dealing with China in the coming years would not be initiated by the East Asian countries. This would leave China unchallenged in the region. He also asserted that China would also likely to have a major long term adversarial relationship with the west. The aforementioned analysis describes some of the reality of the Chinese rise as of today. Beijing has certainly not disintegrated into chaos, through a steady projection of its influence, it has established that it is indeed a rising power and would continue to do so. The West especially the US may not have a direct adversarial relationship with China but all that is not hunky-dory in the Sino-US relationship. Interestingly this becomes evident when the trajectory of the bilateral relations is analysed at a profound level. Both the US and China are ambitious countries as far as projecting their influence is concerned. China is the only country which has directly challenged the US hegemony after Soviet Union. In the post-Cold War era of multipolarity the decline of the West (US) has also been juxtaposed with the rise of the rest (China) even by American scholars. While the US was preoccupied with the global war on terror campaign and entangled itself in Iraq and Afghanistan; the People’s Republic effectively utilised this opportune moment of US occupation to its advantage by extending its international interactions and maximised its inventory of allies in the international political system. The Chinese influence in the international politics was regarded significant to such an extent that US too responded to the emerging threat discourse with an accommodating view. In a Congressional Report (2008) and the US Quadrennial Defense review (QDR-2001), the US administration was counselled to adopt ‘engagement’ as the best way to integrate China into prevailing global system. Today, China is engaging itself with the international community like never before by crafting a multitude of bilateral agreements and partnerships

Beijing has sought trade agreements, oil and gas contracts, scientific and technological cooperation, and de-facto multilateral security arrangements with countries both around its periphery and around the world such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It has also extracted oil and gas exploration contracts with Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, and Cuba; and with Central Asian states such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan; in search to satiate its hungers for energy security.

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The problem of the character of the relations between the US and China is one of the key questions which are actively discussed on the threshold of the election of 2012. Is China a strategic partner or a strategic competitor of the US? Although the US and China do not base their relations on the principles of the open confrontation and seek for the effective cooperation in dealing with many international and domestic questions, there are a lot of aspects according to which the countries cannot reach the mutual understanding under the influence of the rapid growth of China and determining its strong position at the global arena. That is why it is possible to speak about the US-China relations as tending to a kind of competition or rather suspicious relations as opposite to the situation of the possible partnership. Moreover, the state of affairs can change tomorrow with references to the changes in the world policy and economy. The relations between the US and China have a long history and can be discussed as difficult with accentuating the peculiarities of the policies provided by the US and Chinese governments during different periods of time. The US as the most powerful country in the world was always inclined to control the situation in the globe economy and policy referring to establishing the international relations with the other countries. Analysts also observe the tendencies of the US to control the situation in relations with China. However, today to control the peculiarities of China’s strategy is difficult because of the country’s rapid economic progress (Sutter, 2010)

Politicians from the both countries do not concentrate on the possible conflict in the relations and accentuate the aspects for the further cooperation. Nevertheless, the pressure in the US-China relations is obvious, and it is explained by the misunderstandings in providing the policy connected with such issues as trade questions, energy problem, human rights, and Taiwan problem (Sutter, 2010).

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Obviously, there is a threshold below which legislative opposition aids executives, as Schelling predicted, and above which it constrains executives. Is there an optimal amount of legislative opposition to executive foreign policy? What domestic or international factors determine that optimal level? Future research should also explore why the US Congress has demonstrated so much hostility toward China. Is congressional hostility to China driven by genuine concern for the human rights of its citizens? Or are American legislators chiefly motivated by the economic concerns of their constituents, and use anti-Chinese rhetoric to posture themselves for reelection?

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Garrett, B. (2006). US-China relations in the era of globalization and terror: A framework for analysis. Journal of Contemporary China, 15(48), 389-415.

Lieberthal, K. G. & Pollack, J. D. (2012). Establishing credibility and trust the next President must manage America’s most important relationship. Retrieved from

Sutter, R. G. (2010). U.S. – Chinese relations: Perilous past, pragmatic present. USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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