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The Crisis of Expectations in the China - USA Relations

Student: Jiayu Xu

Supervisor: Timofey Bordachev

Faculty: Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Educational Programme: International Relations: European and Asian Studies (Master)

Final Grade: 10

Year of Graduation: 2019

During the past 20 years, the United States had been expecting that with economic development, China would gradually become a more democratic regime and the stakeholder for the U.S.-led international liberal system. It shouldn’t be deluded that the previous interaction of China-U.S. dyad has been rewarding the two actors as well as the regional and international community. Today, however, especially since 2008, China-U.S. relations is derailing from that nascent expectations: China has stopped being ambivalent about its particular system and unveiled the desire to strengthen its global influence with Belt and Road Initiative, Asia Infrastructure bank and “Made in China 2025”, while U.S., with declining confidence and bottom line being challenged, considers China not as a transforming partner but a strategic competitor. Regardless U.S. dissatisfaction, it should be underpinned that China’s prevailing toughness is generated by the domestic dilemma and the global challenges it is facing rather than its intent to overturn the system, within which China has been greatly benefited and contributing lots of efforts. The crisis of expectations marks the beginning of post-engagement era and emerging of new world order: China is proposing the world an alternative platform for promoting common prosperity, while U.S. is doubting the liberal order via prism of populism. To some extent, the crisis of expectations in China-U.S. relations reflects the predicament within global liberal order: the contradiction between international liberalism and nation’s sovereignty, on the one hand, and the urgency regarding to advancing the global agenda, on the other hand.

Full text (added May 16, 2019)

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