US, China take to floor in newest dance

By Huai Chang Source:Global Times Published: 2012-11-12 23:45:05

Some predict that the centennial competition between China and the US already kicked off anew after the London Olympic Games. Since the end of World War II, the US has already seen off two political or economic challengers, the Soviet Union and Japan. Will China be the third one to follow?

Viewed from a perspective of a constant struggle for power, the US is firmly in control of the global system. Its hegemony has been updated to a 2.0 vision.

The US makes use of its financial leverage to absorb global wealth. It always locates itself atop the logistics supply chain and pyramid of international corporate profits.

The US also controls the credit allocation and trading rules of world capital markets, and it is becoming an emerging energy exporter. Besides, the US has the most powerful military and the closest allies.

However, China has been expanding its strength in recent years. Unlike the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, future strategic competition between China and the US could be defined as "a cloudy war," because it is changeable and its boundaries are difficult to determine.

China and the US are ambiguous, rather than clear, rivals. The two countries have awareness of cooperation, competition and confrontation alike in various fields. Their focus may change with time. Out of a lack of mutual understanding, both sides view the other as a potential enemy. However, this will not influence their economic cooperation.

The US containment of China is no longer about confrontation in all fields. Instead, it has become a soft siege. The network of US allies will be shored up by temporary alliances organized for temporary purposes.

The US' role as a global policeman will also be adjusted. Long-term and low-cost wars will become common strategic choices for the US.

Currently China appears fragile, but it has boundless vitality and potential. Under such circumstances, the purpose of US containment is to maintain the power gap between itself and China as long as possible. 

US foreign policy has never lacked for idealism. The US has been crying for a new enemy throughout the war on terror. US President Barack Obama, in his second term, will face the task of adjusting his national security team and creating new forms of idealism.

It will require high attention and vigilance to see what role China will play in this new chapter. This will indicate how the centennial competition between China and the US will play out in future.

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