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Yleana Escalante
Department: International Relations
Year: Senior
Class: IR 308

Which World Are We Living In?: U.S.-China Relations

Today’s world is characterized by rapid and constant changes. The International Order is suffering from transformation that entails a change in the structure, distribution, and balance of power. As well as a reconfiguration of the international system and the ideas and paradigms on which it is based. A Realist-Constructivist lens can help analyze and predict the next five to ten years.

The future of the United States-China relations depends on three variables, security dilemma, material power, and soft power. The relationship between the U.S. and China is characterized by competition and lack of trust. They both rely on material power in order to attack one another. Additionally, China has shown constant growth, both in its economy and in its political and military presence challenging the international world order led by the U.S. And, over the past years, China has been promoting an image of good will by promoting its own narrative and employing it as a useful tool.

The most likely scenario would be the one of competition. Even though there might seem that cooperation is possible, at the end of the day the U.S. and China will focus on their own national interest and security. From a Realist-Constructivist approach, competition between the U.S. and China will be very much present in the next decade. They will continue to compete for world leadership, and will use hard and soft power in order to do so.