The interactions between the U.S. and China have always been complicated with a range of cross-cultural and political issues, mainly due to the incongruences between the regimes of the specified countries. However, in the wake of the global health crisis and the resulting economic disaster that has been observed globally, the U.S. – China relationships have become particularly convoluted, with several old disagreements surfacing and new conflicts arising (Jackson, 2000).
However, new trends in the development of the dynamic between the two states can currently be observed, mostly due to the introduction of new technological opportunities and the impact of globalization. By integrating the tools that allow for more accurate communication and creating a support system based on the rapport with other states, both the U.S. and China appear to be willing to compromise rather than unwrap an open confrontation, potentially resulting in a global conflict.
Applying the taxonomy of negotiation approaches as it is portrayed in the article by Chang and Li (2019) to the current context of the U.S. – Chinese political situation, one will recognize some of the strategies used both sides in their attempts at establishing some modicum of peace.
Specifically, the use of what Jackson (2000, p. 325) defined as “hard strategies,” namely, insisting on a specific stance and seeking to attain the desired result at all costs, could be observed multiple times in the U.S. – Chinese negotiations over the past few years. As Chong and Li (2019) explain, due to the nature of the specified conflict, which is rooted in cultural misconceptions and misalignment of philosophes and values of the two nations, the goal of achieving collaboration and mutual understanding is currently as far from both U.S. and China as it has ever been. Therefore, it is vital for the parties under analysis to come to a conclusion about the necessity to reconcile their differences and establish relatively peaceful relationships (Chong & Li, 2019).
With the current global crisis, the refusal to cooperate will have a drastic effect not only on the quality of political relationships between the states but also on their economic opportunities and the sociocultural interactions between their citizens (Chong & Li, 2019). Thus, the emphasis on the strategy that Jackson (2000) identified as the route to reconciliation should be regarded as one of the essential goalposts for the negotiation process between the U.S. and China in the future.
Additionally, when considering the reasons for the relationships between the American and Chinese governments to fail, one should bring up the issue of power imbalance. In his article, Jackson (2000, p. 335) specifies the indispensable necessity of “relative power” as the element of successful negotiations. However, given the differences in the governmental structures of China, which is built on an authoritarian regime, and the U.S., with its democracy and global support, one must mention the presence of clear power imbalance between the two states. At the same time, it is worth noting that the described power imbalance hinges on China’s unwillingness to abandon the totalitarian governmental structure and accept the principles of democracy, which would open the doors for China to the global community (Chong & Li, 2019). Therefore, the observed situation, specifically the misunderstanding between the U.S. and China, should be managed not only on a political level but also on a sociocultural one.
In fact, the current discrepancy between the extent of influence that the U.S. and China exert could also be viewed as an opportunity to come to some semblance of an agreement. According to Jackson (2000, p. 335), “In fact, negotiation is most successful when there is a clear power difference, but not necessarily a large power difference.” Thus, granted that the U.S. and China presently hold a relatively similar amount of political and economic power, the U.S. being represented by some of the most powerful businesses, and China currently still holding its title of the global manufacturing hub, the opportunities for reconciliation and successful negotiation are possible.
While the complete agreement on all matters regarding politics and economy, as well as the further collaboration, are presently rather unlikely outcomes of negotiations between the U.S. and China, the described step will still be useful, at least, in the sense of minimizing the extent of the confrontation.
In this respect, the significance of globalization and technological development must not be underrated. By incorporating the communication tools that will allow for consistent dialogue between the U.S. and China, while minimizing the probability of misunderstandings, chances for positive outcomes will remain high. In the specified process, technological tools will perform the function of the intermediary between the U.S. and China, allowing the two parties to understand each other better and to respond to each other in a timely fashion (Chong & Li, 2019).
Furthermore, in negotiations between governments, technology often wields substantial bargaining power. Specifically, technology allows countries to address the problem of resource scarcity, therefore, introducing a competitive advantage to their economic context (Chong & Li, 2019). Therefore, with advanced technology and the ability to utilize it properly, countries can gain substantial power in the global setting, which will help them in managing negotiations with their opponents accordingly (Chong & Li, 2019).
Additionally, innovative technologies imply greater opportunities for investments, which, in turn, will increase a country’s economic and political status, providing it with the power to navigate the negotiation process in the way that it finds most suitable. Finally, technological advances can be utilized to encourage connectivity between the conflicting parties and share ideas and values while retaining the safety and security of their citizens. Therefore, technological assets should be used to forward the dialogue as opposed to increasing the hostility by building additional barriers between each other.
Owing to the innovations in diplomacy, as well as the technological opportunities for improved communication and the support that the globalized community provides for both states, the U.S. and China manage to contain the conflict and consider compromising as the main strategy. Although in its unadulterated form, the specified solution appears to be a temporary solution to the current discord between the two states, it allows keeping the U.S. and China in a relatively peaceful environment, which should be considered an achievement, given the strenuous relationships between the two states.
Therefore, as a negotiation approach, the selected framework should be deemed acceptable given the complications caused by the pandemic and the related economic concerns. However, in the nearest future, resolving the conflict openly and establishing a rapport should be seen as the priority for U.S. – Chinese political relationships. As a result of the specified endeavors, the conflict that has been taking place for decades will eventually be resolved. Although it would be naïve to expect that the U.S. and China will establish a friendly rapport immediately, one can assume that the levels of hostility between the two will eventually be minimized.
Chong, T. T. L., & Li, X. (2019). Understanding the China–US trade war: Causes, economic impact, and the worst-case scenario. Economic and Political Studies, 7(2), 185-202. Web.
Jackson, R. (2000). Successful negotiation in international violent conflict. Journal of Peace Research, 37(3), 323-343. Web.