American-Chinese Relationships: Compete or Collaborate?

Research Question

Will the new approach of competing with China rather than collaborating with it be beneficial for the United States strategically?

Annotated Bibliography

Anwar, Brigadier Muhammad Shakoor. 2020. “Relevance and Significance of Pak- China Relationship for USA in Changing Regional Dynamics.” Journal of Law & Social Studies (JLSS) 2, no. 2: 87–95.

This article dwells upon the peculiarities of the relationships between the USA, Pakistan, and China. Anwar (2020) claims that Pakistan has been an old Chinese ally, but the country was not completely subordinate to the Asian power. The USA played a considerable role in decreasing the level of collaboration between China and Pakistan by providing investment and interacting in various domains (economic, social, cultural). Pakistani interests in Afghanistan are seen as another reason for the limited influence of both China and the USA. This is a reputable source published in a scholarly journal. This article is a valuable source as it sheds light on different alliances China and the USA create to gain (for China) or retain (for the USA) a leading position in the world arena.

Friedman, Thomas L. 2021. “What Comes After the War on Terrorism? War on China?” New York Times, 2021. Web.

In this article, Friedman (2021) provides an analysis of the shift in the current U.S.-Chinese relationships. The author stresses that the aggressive foreign and domestic policy of the Chinese Democratic Republic can be regarded as a threat to American interests in the region and the global scale. China is trying to occupy the leading position in the global arena, but the USA will try to prevent this new world order. The article is a valuable source as it is published in a reputable newspaper and is current. The article also provides insights into the reasons behind the new approach to American-Chinese relationships and the potential outcomes of this shift.

Hosli, Madeline O., Isidoro Campioni-Noack, Rory Johnson, and Lunting Wu. 2020. “A New or No Order? The EU-China-US Relationship and Its Impact on Global Order.” In The Evolving Relationship between China, the EU and the USA: A New Global Order?, edited by Jing Men, Simon Schunz, and Duncan Freeman, 13–30. New York: Routledge.

This is a valuable source for the exploration of the peculiarities of the relationships between the USA and China and their influence on world politics. This source focuses on the relations between the USA, China, and the EU, which helps in developing an understanding of the processes that have taken place in the world arena. It is stressed that Obama Administration’s position on the relationship in the triangle led to a less prominent position of the USA. The European Union is now also losing its status as a world power, while China has started its assertive foreign policy to gain more influence in the world. This source is valuable as it is current and created by experts in the field. The chapter contains data that can be instrumental in building a broader picture of the relationships in the global arena with a focus on economic and political aspects.

Thesis Statement and Arguments

Thesis Statement

Due to China’s aggressive foreign and domestic policies posing threats to the stability in the world and undermining American interests, the United States should switch from collaboration to competition with the PRC.


One of the arguments for developing a stronger position based on the principles of competition is associated with the military area. China has built a potent navy and starts acting assertively and even irresponsibly in the South China Sea, so Taiwan, as well as other countries in the region, may be at risk (Mao 2021). China is continuously emphasizing that Taiwan is a part of their country and should be controlled by the PRC government. China is also trying to affect the Australian political agenda by imposing sanctions, for example, the ones against Australian export.

Another argument to support the need for a more assertive approach to relations with China is the fact that the Chinese government is using its economic influence on the governments in different countries. The tariff wars with the USA can be regarded as an illustration of some ways the two rivals utilize to ensure that their interests are met (Anwar 2020; Friedman 2021). The influence of China on international institutions, such as the World Health Organization, among others, has also been debated widely.

Annotated Bibliography

Akdag, Suffet, Hakan Yildirim, and Andrew Adewale Alola. 2021. The USA–China Trade Policy Uncertainty and Inference for the Major Global South Indexes Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences ahead-of-print, no. ahead-of-print. Web.

This scholarly article is a valuable source as it deals with the economic impact of the uncertainties between American and Chinese economic relationships on the world economy. The recent trade policies between the two countries have been characterized by fierce competition and hostility, which has already had negative effects on such countries as Turkey, Indonesia, India, Brazil, and South Africa. This scholarly article is a valuable source as it sheds light on the economic aspects of the political agendas of the two countries.

Musvver, Abdul. 2017. “Trade and Economic Cooperation Between USA and China: Performance and Prospects. Journal of Economics and Trade 2, no. 1: 23-29.

This article is concerned with the economic relationships between China and the United States in 2017 and they way they were seen at that period. In 2017, the two countries tried to develop partnerships in diverse spheres rather than compete and try to occupy the leading position in the world. This source is instrumental in building the dynamics of the relationships between the United States and China.

Final Paper

The relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China have fluctuated since the first days of the creation of the latter. It is noteworthy that the United States aimed at becoming a leading nation on the global arena after the World War II, but they paid specific attention to the Pacific region (Baaquie et al. 2019). In the 1970s, China changed their economic paradigm, which led to their economic growth, as they employed capitalistic approaches while claiming their adherence to communist values (Zhu 2018). The use of western economic strategies and the collapse of the Soviet Union had a considerable effect on the relations between China and the USA. The two countries tried to cooperate and become partners rather than competitors, but the controversies between these countries’ systems made these attempts impossible. Due to China’s aggressive foreign and domestic policies posing threats to the stability in the world and undermining American interests, the United States should switch from collaboration to competition with the PRC.

Regional or Global Powers in the Twentieth Century?

The current relations between the PRC and the USA are deeply rooted in the consequences of the Second World War. The United States had been an influential regional power, but it grew to the position of a leader after the big war as the Old World was devastated (Baaquie et al. 2019). China had also been a considerable regional power, but Japan had been a potent rival that prevented China from growing economically or politically. The World War II and years immediately after the great war, China endured political, economic, and social instability, that resulted in numerous military conflicts and civil war.

The Communist Party used rather ineffective economic and political strategies, so China could hardly rise as a global leader. During the Cold War era, China was in the camp of the Communist world headed by the USSR, while the United States led the Western democratic world (Anwar 2020). These positions persisted during the larger part of the twentieth century with the USA as a global leader (a leading nation in strategic conflict with the communist system) and China as a regional power. Importantly, China has never renounced the country’s focus on communist ideology and values that are rather contradictory in some areas to those of the democratic world.

A Period of Cooperation

In the 1970s, the Chinese government maintained its core methods in their relations with other countries, as well as domestic policies. However, a new economic approach was chosen to ensure the stability or rather survival of the system, and a new policy of reforms and opening was utilized (Zhu 2018). The country started numerous projects and partnerships with various countries, including the United States. Foreign investors were welcome and Chinese entrepreneurs were free to invest into other countries. The Chinese government invested considerably in the American economy, and such actions were favorable for the country’s economy.

The new approach also changed American government’s attitude towards China and ways to interact with this Asian country. In the 1980-1990s, the U. S. government saw China as a partner who can help in their rivalry with the USSR (Baaquie et al. 2019). American businesses find the cooperation with Chinese companies fruitful as they received an opportunity to reduce costs due to the low labor costs and various benefits provided by the government of the PRC (Musvver 2017; Zhu 2018). However, this period of close interactions and collaboration lasted until the late 2000s.

Relations in the Twenty-First Century

As mentioned above the collapse of the Soviet Union had an impact on the world order as the world’s polarization ceased to exist. At that, the place of a rival of the USA must have become a target of China whose economic growth led to this country’s considerable empowerment (Hosli et al. 2020). The PRC changed its economic and political reforms that prevented the country from evolving into a democratic society. The domestic policy of this country makes it difficult for democratic countries collaborate with the government that utilizes oppressive measures. The United States was built on the principles of people’s true control over their government, which proved to be an effective political system (Patterson 2016). China made certain steps in this direction, but the changes were not numerous or far0reaching. The communist party’s control over the individual and the state remained strong, and continued increasing after the presidency of President Xi Jinping (Friedman 2021). The shift towards openness and liberty in the economic sphere that was apparent at the end of the twentieth century stopped in the twenty-first century.

When discussing relations between the United States and China, it is important to shed light on the Chinese government’s domestic policies. A certain degree of democratization of Chinese society made the collaboration between this country and the USA closer (Hosli et al. 2020). These days, democratic reforms are replaced with the increasing control of the government in all aspects of people’s life. Business life is controlled heavily by the government, which results in the less efficient business climate. Individuals’ rights are violated, and the most conspicuous illustration of the negative effects of this process is the situation with the Uyghurs. This population with its distinctive culture (mainly associated with practicing Islam) faces oppression and human rights violations (Friedman 2021). Clearly, doing business with a country where such policies are a new norm is not acceptable for American society. The United States, as well as other western countries, try to affect China’s policies related to the Uyghurs, but these efforts have not been effective in any way.

Foreign affairs, however, can be seen as the central domain leading to the deterioration of relations between China and the United States. The Chinese economy is now serving as an instrument to attain political benefits. In order to enhance its influence on other countries, the Chinese government invests heavily into diverse projects in other countries in the region and across the globe. One of the illustrations of this approach is China’s relations with Pakistan the country that is a rival of India (Anwar 2020). Such projects as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) launched in 2013 can be seen as an example of the methods utilized by the Chinese government. The PRC also invest into the development of Pakistani infrastructure and their military sector. Such actions have a negative effect on the stability in the region.

Pakistan’s continuous clash with India over territories and the very existence of the two countries destabilizes the region. The recent events in Afghanistan have not happened without the involvement of Pakistan, as well as China (indirectly and directly) (Greenfield 2021). China has a border with Afghanistan, which makes the development of proper relations an important objective. The Uyghurs of Afghanistan, as seen by the Chinese government, can join with Chinese Uyghurs starting a serious military conflict on the territory of the PRC. The geographic position of Afghanistan also makes it an important player in the region. China is also interested in investing in various business projects that can contribute to its economic growth. For example, the production of lithium can become an important sector of the Chinese economy.

As far as economic instruments are concerned, China started using these tools against the USA to gain an advantage and prevent American growth. The so-called tariff wars can be regarded as an illustration of this opposition in the economic sphere. China and the United States have tried to support their business interests internally and in the international arena. It is noteworthy that Chinese activities have been more assertive, and the country has tried to concentrate on its economic and political interests without proper adherence to the existing contracts and international trade regulations (Akdag, Yildirim and Alola 2021). These uncertainties have a significant adverse impact on the global economic situation.

An example of the influence China is trying to safeguard is its relations with Australia. The two countries have collaborated in various fields and have close trade relations. At that, as a response to Australia’s independent policies that are not consistent with Chinese interests, China imposed sanctions against Australian products and banned exports from Australia (Mao 2021). Clearly, such actions have a negative effect on the situation in the region and globally. The United States has to respond accordingly to ensure that such assertive and often irresponsible behavior will not lead to major clashes in the Pacific or on the global scale. The democratic system has proved its effectiveness, and the spread of authoritarian practices can lead to various adverse effects for the world. The twentieth century with its two big wars serves as a reminder of the need to prevent countries from actions that become a common practice for China. The USA should become the nation leading the rest of the countries in their effort to establish the world order enabling all states to develop and prosper.

It is critical to pay specific attention to economic aspects and neutralize malign activities of the Chinese government. The USA should develop partnerships with other countries in such areas as military, political, and social. Human rights violations cannot be tolerated as the situation in many countries shows that such practices may spread across the globe destabilizing the world order that was created after World War II.

In conclusion, it is necessary to state that the PRC is trying to occupy a hegemonic position in the Pacific and Asia. China also aims at becoming a global superpower with the only rival, the United States. The Chinese government articulates the corresponding messages, although it also states that the accusations of some countries are not relevant and their policies are consistent with the global conventions. These declarations, however, are questioned by the American government and other stakeholders as China is acting assertively in many situations. The Chinese government tends to use its economic might as a means to achieve its goals. Chinese investments into numerous projects across the globe put other countries into a vulnerable position, making them Chinese allies. At that, China often supports authoritarian regimes and has controversial domestic policies with numerous violations of human rights. In a way, China’s empowerment can lead to the spread of authoritarian and non-democratic practices internationally, which is a threat to American interests and security. China is trying to prevent the economic development of the United States in many ways.

Therefore, the USA has to react accordingly and ensure that Chinese activities cannot pose a threat to the sustainable development of the world. The United States can be seen as the leader of the Western world who can ensure the creation of effective alliances and partnerships to address the threats posed by China. The emergence of such alliances contributes to the safety in the Pacific and the entire world, preventing China from spreading its influence or directly occupying some countries (such as Taiwan and Vietnam).


Baaquie, Belal Ehsan, Peter Richmond, Bertrand M. Roehner, and Qing-Hai Wang. 2019. “The Future Of US–China Relations: A Scientific Investigation”. China and the World 2, no. 1: 1-53.

Greenfield, Charlotte. 2021. “Analysis: As West Ponders Aid for Afghanistan, China and Pakistan Quick to Provide Relief.” Reuters, 2021. Web.

Mao, Frances. 2021. “Aukus: Australia’s Big Gamble on the US over China.” BBC, 2021. Web.

Patterson, Thomas. 2016. We The People. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Zhu, Zhiqun. 2018. “Chinese Investment in the USA and US–China Relations.” Asian Education and Development Studies, 1-15. Web.

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DemoEssays. "American-Chinese Relationships: Compete or Collaborate?" September 7, 2022.