Sino-US Rivalry: Resulted in, Either Confrontation or Cooperation?
“The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the centre of the action”.
– Hillary Clinon
As Sino-U.S. rivalry is getting intensified with the passage of time. U.S. policies towards China is being undergone through an abrupt change from the Kissinger’s administration to the Obama’s government, “to contain China to Cooperate China”. Presently, U.S. is really anxious upon Chinese rapid growth in terms of economics and military aspects. Competitive tensions between both powers are getting strong. if at the one hand China is emerging as world’s largest economy, on the other hand U.S. economy is heading towards downfall.
Presently American policies are going through a transformatary phase. U.S is trying to divert its strategic posture from so called anti-terrorist to any other direction. As an American analyst stated that “the U.S. global strategy has basically completed a major transition shifting from anti-terror to dealing with emerging powers, from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific”. Recently, U.S. announced “Pivot towards Asia” to restore its declining economy. Accordingly U.S. is building up economic and military ties with emerging powers i.e. India, China, Singapore, Indonesia etc. Moreover, US “twin trade” agreements, The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are also the part of US agenda to rebalance its economy. Resultantly China is feeling a strong strain on itself. China sees all of these U.S. initiatives against itself. China has view that US wants to hamper Chinese progress and development so it can keep its supremacy and hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region. Accordingly, China is also taking steps to neutralize U.S. impact in the regional dynamics. The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) strategy, the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), the revival of the Free Trade Area of Asia and the Pacific (FTAAP) initiative, the intensification of bilateral partnerships with its neighbors and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are some counter initiatives adapted by the Chinese side.
Currently, there are two major flashpoints between China and U.S. First one is Cyber Warfare (CW). U.S. and China both countries are headed toward an escalating cyber war. Recently few Chinese hackers have arrested in U.S., accused of masterminding government-led cyber hacking to steal trade secrets from six major American companies, working in the key power and metals industries. Now U.S. decision-making elite is facing a critical issue that how the US will have respond to the cyber intrusion.
Second area of concern for U.S. is Chinese military modernization especially in terms of Navy. China is the second largest arms exporter, the second largest arms importer and China’s military budget is the second largest in the world after U.S. Currently China’s improving naval capabilities posing a potential challenge to U.S. naval capabilities in blue-water. It is the very first time, when U.S. is facing a potential threat to its longstanding status as the leading military power in Asia-Pacific since the end of the Cold War.
Now it is recommended that cooperation, rather than confrontation, would benefit both powers as well as enhance stability in the Asia-Pacific. While competition; resulted in confrontation would have disastrous outcomes i.e. global instability and insecurity.
The writer holds a Masters degree in Defence & Strategic Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and currently working as Researcher at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad.