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Issues & Insights Vol. 21, WP 5 – No One is Satisfied: Two Theories of the US-China Global Rivalry and the International Order

  • Younn Shwe Sin Htay

    Non-resident Nonproliferation Fellow, Pacific Forum

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Abstract

A remarkable shift is underway in the geostrategic relations between the United States, long a dominant global power, and China, a relentless economic engine with a rapidly growing military. Their competition promises to change the face of global politics in the 21st century. This paper examines that conflict from the perspectives of two discrete political theories: power transition theory and hegemonic stability theory, which come to different conclusions when applied to China and the United States separately. However, taken together with both nations in mind, they arrive at six possible futures, including regional warfare and a wholesale overhaul of the existing international order.

Keywords: international order, hegemon, challenger, satisfaction, dissatisfaction

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