USA and China

The Geopolitical Dynamics of Power Shift: Examining the Competition between China and the USA

Published on: May 15, 2024
Author(s): Youssef Salloum
Keyword(s): China, USA
ISSN: 3036-9495

I – Preface

The relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America has been complicated since 1949, due to Mao’s communist doctrine and close ties with the Soviet Union, but after 1980 economic relations grew rapidly as one of the close economic ties, as well as the dominant rivalry in the Asia-Pacific  region.It can be described as the most important bilateral relationship in the world in the twenty-first century, due to the volume of financial and trade exchanges, as well as because of the enormous geopolitical power of both parties.

But because of the American extremism in hostility to the Chinese side, and working seriously to strike Chinese interests – as we mentioned above – relations have been strained with the United States’ attempt to encircle Chinese influence and strike its interests, so China began to surround it – the United States’ regional allies to China – and then China began to work to encircle American interests everywhere it can penetrate financially. Economically and militarily, and of course this expansionist and encirclement policy was directed towards dependence on developing countries, some of which were destined to be of geopolitical and geostrategic importance to the other.

China’s diplomacy with developing countries, in effect the heart of its foreign economic policy, is based on an alleged virtuous circle through which Beijing promotes the idea that trade, investment, and lending produce economic development opportunities for both China and its developing-country partners.  This is the logic behind China’s discourse on win-win outcomes but increasingly, and there is skepticism about these claims in many developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia about whether Beijing’s vision aligns well with its own interests.

With China’s rapid economic growth and increasing global influence in recent years, there is a noticeable shift in the balance of power on the global stage. This shift raises questions about the potential geopolitical implications of China’s ascendancy and its deepening integration into the global economy. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how China’s rise as a global power is reshaping the international order, and what implications it may have on the existing geopolitical dynamics.

Based on the idea that the world is shifting towards a multi-polar structure with China and Russia emerging as major powers alongside the United States, this research hypothesis is as following:

The rise of China and Russia as global powers counterbalances to US hegemony, leading to increased competition and potential conflicts in global politics.

This research aims to prove its hypothesis through studying the following problematics:

  • critically analyze the challenges and opportunities that China’s ascendancy presents for the global community, as well as the potential effects on regional and international security.
  • Assessing the impact of the Sino-Russian security partnership on western security policies and strategies with an examination of Geopolitical dynamics and security threats.
  • Analyzing the impact of China’s investment in African infrastructure on US influence in the region.
  • Impact of China’s increasing space capabilities and technological advancements on U.S. national security strategies and policies.

II – The Geopolitical Implications of China’s Ascendancy and Global Integration

China’s rise and integration into the world community is one of the most important phenomena of the post-Cold War era. Although there are many theories of international relations, the fundamental problem lies in the current theories of Western international relations, which have been based mainly on the geopolitical, geocultural, and historical experiences of modern European nation-states. However, these theories are insufficient to explain the international affairs of civilized countries such as China, India, Iran and others. It can also be claimed that Understanding China’s rise depends on the type of theoretical framework of international relations used.

Initially, the Chinese Communist Party controlled China’s international relations, especially during the Maoist era – between 1949 and 1976 – Marxism-Leninism. Mao Zedong believed that official power was that which guided in dealing with other countries. But it was only after the Fourteenth Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1992 that Deng Xiaoping’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics” became the guiding ideology. Pay special attention to the establishment of international relations as an academic discipline of theory and experimental research. As a result, the National Association for the History of International Relations (NAHIR) was established [1]in 1980, changing its name in 1999 to the China National Association for International Studies (CNAIS) [2]due to its broad coverage and clear objectives. (Yaqing, 2009)

Over the years, China as a civilized country has begun to realize the need to develop its own theory of Chinese international relations, i.e.  China had to take a theory of international relations from Chinese principles rooted in traditional Chinese philosophy and Western theoretical achievements. It developed its own concepts within the framework of international relations, so the period from 1978 to 1990 was called the “pre-theoretical” stage, followed by the “Theory and Innovation” phase from 1991 to 2000. (Kumar, 2018)

After China’s theoretical learning phase, which is theory and innovation, the deepening phase (2001-2007) developed an interest in constructivist theory, which coincided with the controversy over China’s peaceful rise within the framework of Chinese philosophy known as Yi Jing, indicating that changing identity and behavior. Also, the Chinese state realized that theories of international relations were not only tools for explaining foreign policy but also means of understanding the complexities of international politics. There is no doubt that At this point, Chinese international relations scholars learned Western methodology and analytical frameworks, but also tried to derive the ontological essence from ancient Chinese philosophy in order to explain the integration of the Chinese economy into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. (Yeoh, 2019)

At the 17th Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2007, Hu Jintao articulated the “scientific view of development” according to which the emphasis was placed on a “harmonious world” and a “harmonious society,” which cannot be achieved without peaceful development. One can clearly see that Jiang Zemin’s focus was on building a “prosperous society” by 2020 by maintaining a high growth rate, but Hu Jintao’s focus was on balanced and sustainable economic development. Moreover, the interest coincided Building with the official controversy over China’s peaceful rise, China’s national redefinition of China’s interests and strategy for peaceful development in the world. (Yeoh, 2019)

After the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, President Xi Jinping spoke of the “Chinese Dream” and the “Belt and Road Initiative.” Internally, he stressed building a prosperous society by eradicating poverty for 50 million people as part of supply-side reform of China’s economy by 2020. Externally, he spoke of the positive roles of the Belt and Road Initiative by connecting Europe with Asia and reviving the ancient Silk Roads. (Kumar, 2018, pp. 31-32)

From then until 2022, talks are underway about the possibility of including West Asian or Middle East, Latin America and Africa countries in China’s Belt and Road Initiative as well. He also addressed the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB[3]) and the BRICS Bank for New Development, and the hosting of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, where Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted the benefits of globalization, such as China’s leadership role in the 2016 Paris climate agreement to build an inclusive, equitable and just global economic order that cannot be ignored. Hence, it is clear that there is a shift in Chinese foreign policy from Deng Xiaoping’s 24-section strategy, which constitutes “keeping an eye and sticking to your time,” to Xi Jinping’s role as a global leader in geopolitics and geo-economic affairs. (Girard, 2018)

Debt is often seen as the most detrimental form of poverty, and those who are quick to borrow money are typically slow to repay debts. China has understood this concept well, utilizing its economic policy to create a barrier around India, limiting New Delhi’s ability to make independent decisions. In response, India has developed its own strategy, known as the “necklace of diamonds,” which aims to surround China with allies such as Central Asia, Mongolia, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Seychelles, Oman, and Iran. This initiative involves joint defense drills, combined arms exercises, expanded economic partnerships, industrial corridors, and significant arms deals. Both India and China are focused on restricting each other’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region, using strategic alliances to outpace their economic rivals. (Wang, 2022)

The Indian Ocean, a vast body of water that accounts for nearly a fifth of the Earth’s surface, is a crucial element in global trade and geopolitics. Spanning three continents and 28 countries, it serves as a major route for international trade, connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. While the Indian Ocean has historically brought prosperity through trade, it has also been a point of entry for colonial powers in the past.

Today, China is looking to continue this strategy of maritime dominance in the region. Central to their plan is the “String of Pearls,” a network of strategic ports and military facilities that stretches from Mombasa to Djibouti, Karachi to Gwadar, Colombo to Hambantota, and further to Chattogram, Sittwe, and the cocoa islands. Like a pearl diver casting their net far and wide, China is acquiring strategic assets and influence in the Indian Ocean region. (Peltier, 2020)

However, Beijing’s actions have raised concerns among other nations in the region, particularly India. China’s debt trap policy, in which nations become indebted and are forced to make geostrategic concessions, has sparked frustration and alarm. In response, India has crafted a counter-strategy known as the “necklace of diamonds.” This strategy involves increasing naval bases abroad, forming new military partnerships, and expanding power projection across the Asia Pacific region.

One key aspect of China’s maritime expansion is its efforts to gain dual-use rights in Oman’s Duqm Port, construct a deep-water port in Kenya’s Lamu Island, and negotiate for a submarine base in the Maldives. These actions have not gone unnoticed by India, which sees them as a threat to its own security and interests in the region. (Peltier, 2020)

In conclusion, the Indian Ocean is a crucial arena for global trade and geopolitics, with China and India both vying for influence and control. While China seeks to expand its reach through the String of Pearls strategy, India is responding with its own security measures and alliances. The competition for dominance in the Indian Ocean region is likely to continue shaping the geopolitical landscape for years to come.


III – The Implications of the Sino-Russian Security Partnership on Western Policymakers: A Geopolitical Analysis

The Sino-Russian security partnership, characterized by growing military cooperation, joint exercises, and mutual support in international forums, poses significant challenges for Western policymakers. As two major powers with shared concerns about perceived encroachment by the West and a desire to challenge the existing international order, China and Russia have found common ground in their strategic interests. This partnership has important implications for Western policymakers, particularly in the areas of global security, economic competition, and geopolitical influence.

As the Winter Olympics kicked off in Beijing in 2014, Russian President Putin visited his Chinese counterpart and the two issued a joint statement in support of Russia’s position on NATO enlargement. As tensions along Ukraine’s border escalate, the Sino-Russian security consensus has alarmed Western policymakers. However, military cooperation requires that China’s growing convergence of interests with Russia not be overlooked on another front—financing and abandoning the dollar. (Nikoladze, 2022)

De-dollarization1 emerged as a priority for Russia in 2014 in response to Western sanctions following the annexation of Crimea, limiting the ability of state companies and banks to raise funding in Western markets. China also began to see value in this initiative after the outbreak of the US-China trade war in 2018 and the US use of punitive financial measures (Nikoladze, 2022). Moscow quickly found a partner in Beijing to support its efforts to remove the dollar as part of its expanded economic cooperation.  Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed 38 agreements on a visit to Moscow in 2014 to deepen energy cooperation and conclude a three-year currency swap deal worth 150 billion yuan (about $24.5 billion). This deal was renewed for another three years in 2017. (Christine Huang, 2022)

Russia and China moved away from using the dollar in bilateral trade in 2018 after the United States imposed hefty tariffs on Chinese goods and the U.S.-China trade war began. While Moscow had previously led the initiative to abandon the dollar, Beijing quickly formulated Russia’s strategy when it recognized its own risks of U.S. punitive fiscal measures. This paved the way for the 2019 agreement to exchange the dollar for national currencies in international settlements between them.  This fiscal coordination has helped Russia reduce its dependence on the dollar for trade. While 80% of Russia’s total exports were denominated in U.S. dollars in 2013, just over half of its total exports were settled in dollars before the Ukraine crisis erupted in 2022, with most of the decline absorbed by its trade with China. (Nikoladze, 2022)

In 2015, China established a new reciprocal financial system, to dispense with the US SWIFT system[4], the Interbank Cross-Border Payment System (CIPS),[5] a payment system that provides clearing and settlement services to participants in cross-border payments and trade in RMB[6], with the support of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC[7]). CIPS also counts several foreign banks as shareholders including HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank of East Asia, DBS Bank, CITI, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and BNP Paribas. (Kuo, 2022)

CIPS participants are divided into two types, either direct participant or indirect participant. Live participants open a CIPS account, which sends and receives transfers directly through CIPS, while indirect participants have indirect access to services provided by CIPS through direct participants. As of February 2022, CIPS had 1304 participants of which 76 as direct participants and 1228 as indirect participants. Of the indirect participants, 936 are from Asia (including 540 from Mainland China), 164 from Europe, 43 from Africa, 29 from North America, 23 from Oceania, and 17 from South America, covering 104 countries and territories around the world. (Kuo, 2022)

Additionally, one of the primary implications of the Sino-Russian security partnership for Western policymakers is the potential impact on global security dynamics. Both China and Russia have demonstrated a willingness to challenge Western-led security arrangements, such as NATO and U.S. alliances in the Asia-Pacific region. This partnership has the potential to alter the balance of power in key strategic regions, such as the South China Sea and Eastern Europe, where both countries have overlapping security concerns with the West. Western policymakers must navigate these new security challenges by reevaluating their defense strategies and strengthening alliances with like-minded partners to counterbalance the growing influence of China and Russia.

Furthermore, the Sino-Russian security partnership has important economic implications for Western policymakers. Both countries have deepened their economic ties through initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, which aim to promote economic cooperation and connectivity across Eurasia. This economic partnership has the potential to challenge Western dominance in key economic sectors, such as technology, energy, and infrastructure development. Western policymakers must respond to this challenge by promoting economic competitiveness, innovation, and investment in emerging markets to counter the economic influence of China and Russia. (Asia Society, 2023)

The Sino-Russian security partnership has significant implications for Western policymakers in terms of geopolitical influence. China and Russia have increasingly coordinated their foreign policy objectives and narratives on key international issues, such as human rights, democracy, and multilateralism, to challenge Western-led norms and institutions. This partnership has the potential to undermine Western influence in global governance structures, such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund. Western policymakers must respond by engaging in strategic diplomacy, promoting democratic values, and defending the rules-based international order to counter the growing influence of China and Russia. (Asia Society, 2023)

In conclusion, the Sino-Russian security partnership presents complex challenges for Western policymakers across a range of issues, including global security, economic competition, and geopolitical influence. As China and Russia deepen their strategic cooperation and challenge Western-led norms and institutions, Western policymakers must navigate these new security dynamics by reevaluating their defense strategies, promoting economic competitiveness, and defending democratic values. Failure to address the implications of the Sino-Russian security partnership could have far-reaching consequences for global stability and the international order. By understanding the geopolitical implications of this partnership, Western policymakers can develop effective strategies to protect their interests and uphold the values of democracy, peace, and prosperity.

IV – Africa’s Role as a Geopolitical Battleground: Analyzing China’s Challenge to US Influence

Africa has emerged as a key battleground for geopolitics, with China increasingly challenging US influence on the continent. The competition between these two global powers is reshaping the political and economic landscape of Africa, and has significant implications for the continent’s future development.

The United States has long been a dominant player in Africa, with significant political and economic interests in the region. The US has traditionally seen Africa as a strategic partner, particularly in terms of counterterrorism efforts and promoting democracy and human rights. However, China’s growing presence in Africa is posing a challenge to US influence. China has significantly increased its economic engagement with Africa in recent years, becoming the continent’s largest trading partner and investing heavily in infrastructure projects. Chinese companies are involved in a wide range of sectors in Africa, from mining and agriculture to telecommunications and construction. This influx of Chinese investment has brought much-needed development to many African countries, but it has also raised concerns about debt sustainability, environmental impact, and labor rights.

China’s engagement with Africa is driven by its strategic interests, including access to natural resources, markets for Chinese products, and diplomatic support on the international stage. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has also expanded its influence in Africa, with Chinese-funded infrastructure projects connecting the continent more closely to the global economy. China is the biggest developing nation, while Africa is the continent with the most developing nations. The economic ties between China and Africa have grown quickly in recent years, with Chinese investment in Africa increasing significantly over the past 40 years. Investment flows have risen from $75 million in 2003 to $5 billion in 2021. (Freitas, 2023)

The competition between China and the US in Africa is not just about economics, but also about political influence and strategic positioning. Both countries are vying for alliances with African governments, offering development assistance, military support, and diplomatic backing in exchange for favorable relations. The US has been critical of China’s growing presence in Africa, raising concerns about debt trap diplomacy, lack of transparency, and human rights violations.

There is a growing concern regarding the Chinese presence in Africa, with many critics arguing that China may be promoting a form of neocolonialism on the continent. Neocolonialism is a term used to describe the indirect control exerted by powerful countries over less powerful nations in order to exploit their resources and labor for their own benefit. This form of control is achieved through various means, including economic, political, and cultural domination. (Freitas, 2023)

Furthermore, China’s involvement in African countries with weak governance has raised concerns about the potential for political manipulation and interference. Critics argue that China may be imposing its own cultural values and political ideologies on African nations, undermining their indigenous culture and identity. This interference in domestic affairs can further exacerbate the power imbalance between China and African countries, leading to accusations of neocolonialism.

As China and the US continue to compete for influence in Africa, African countries find themselves in a delicate position, balancing the benefits of engagement with both powers against the risks of being caught in the middle of a geopolitical struggle. African governments will need to carefully navigate this complex landscape, weighing the potential economic gains of Chinese investment against the political and security implications of aligning too closely with Beijing.

In response to these allegations, China has maintained that its intentions in Africa are purely economic and developmental. Chinese officials have reiterated their commitment to promoting mutual prosperity and development through shared economic opportunities and modernization. They have also stated that China has no intention of monopolizing African resources or land, and that their presence in Africa is aimed at fostering economic growth and cooperation. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC, 2021)

Despite these assertions, there is still widespread skepticism and opposition to China’s presence in Africa. Many African countries have expressed concerns about the negative impacts of Chinese investment and development projects, including environmental degradation, labor exploitation, and cultural assimilation. In recent years, there have been numerous instances of backlash against Chinese companies and workers in Africa, with some countries cancelling or renegotiating contracts with Chinese firms. (Larry Hanauer, 2014)

China’s competition in its attempt to enter the African world through aid, loans, and other means of positive intervention to gain a foothold in Africa threatens the sheer influence of the United States and its long-standing international allies. African governments willingly accepted loans from Beijing because they had no need for accountability in return.  African leaders can win elections thanks to the roads, ports and railways promised to citizens. The white paper published before the forum affirmed China’s commitment to non-interference in the internal affairs of African countries. (Tianyong, 2019) But locals are increasingly protesting the projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) because of the environmental problems generated in their communities. (Gbadamosi, 2021)

African leaders met in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, in November 2021 for the Eighth Triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Beijing cut its funding in the three years following the conference from $60 billion at the previous summit to $40 billion. This was a sign that China’s relationship with the continent was changing. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered his speech via video link, as he has not left China since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He pledged to encourage Chinese companies to invest at least $10 billion in Africa over the next three years, and to endorse greener deals. China also promised African governments to donate one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses. (Gbadamosi, 2021)

Angola, Ghana, Gambia and Kenya have seen demonstrations against Chinese-funded projects. As with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Chinese banks paid $19 million in construction payments to a company with no known construction projects, public concern about loans has grown with few chains used to launder money for projects that were never built. In Nigeria, for example, one of the largest recipients of investments of the Belt and Road Initiative, or so-called mock projects, is $6.8 million.  These projects were intended to provide off-grid electricity to communities, but the Nigerian Rural Electricity Agency ended up making payments to more than 150 vague or unknown contractors.

Despite this discontent, relations with China have provided Africans with affordable technology, student exchanges, medical training programs – in addition to trade imbalances. China’  s exports to Africa amounted to more than $113 billion in 2019 but received $95.5 billion in imports, a trade deficit of nearly $18 billion for African economies. The United States is trying to capitalize on frustrations with Beijing.  In a statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Nigeria in November 2021, without mentioning China, “Other countries’ infrastructure deals are opaque and compulsory, they burden countries with uncontrollable debt.” But Washington is not putting down the carpet of welcome exactly.” (Gbadamosi, 2021)

In conclusion, the debate over China’s presence in Africa is complex and multifaceted. While China may argue that its intentions are purely economic and developmental, critics continue to raise concerns about the potential for neocolonialism and exploitation. It is clear that there is a need for greater transparency, accountability, and dialogue between Chinese investors and African governments to ensure that development projects benefit all parties involved. Only through open and honest communication can the potential risks and challenges associated with China’s presence in Africa be effectively addressed. While U.S. relations have been driven primarily by security, not economic, concerns. The United States may provide military equipment and luggage, but in the daily lives of Africans, the cell phones used, the televisions watched, and the roads on which they drive, have been built by China.


V – The Strategic Implications of China’s Space Program on U.S. National Security

Since 2016, China’s space industry has made rapid and innovative progress, manifested in the steady improvement of space infrastructure, the completion and operation  of the BeiDou  navigation system, the completion of the high-precision Earth observation system, the steady improvement of the communication and satellite transmission service capability, the conclusion of the final step of the three-step lunar exploration program (orbit, Earth and back), the completion of the first stages of the construction of the space station, a smooth interplanetary journey and extraterrestrial landing. The moon system by Tianwen-1, followed by the exploration of Mars, these achievements attracted the world’s attention. (SCIPRC, 2022)

The U.S. intelligence community has been listed in reports on China’s space program as a major U.S. security concern[8], but criticism from the intelligence community has failed to distinguish between civilian and military space endeavors because of a broad perspective on any development. Todd Harrison, director of the Space Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said [9]the report “integrates space capabilities in general with space capabilities that pose potential threats.”  For example, the U.S. intelligence community’s annual threat assessment published on April 13, 2021, of China’s civilian space programs such as a future space station and a network of navigation satellites cites China’s pursuit capabilities that could pose a threat to the United States. (Erwin, 2021)

China believes  that the mission of its space program is to explore outer space to expand humanity’s understanding of the Earth and the universe, to facilitate a global consensus on our shared responsibility to use outer space for peaceful purposes and to safeguard its security for the benefit of all mankind, to meet the requirements of economic, scientific and technological development, national security and social progress, as well as to raise the scientific and cultural standards of the Chinese people, as well as Safeguard China’s national rights and interests, and build its all-round power.

China did not care about the American style of thinking and intimidation of Chinese sovereign actions, and continued to develop its space programs as it launched the first phase of the Yuanzheng-1S program, which aims to carry three satellites, all designed to conduct tests and verify communication technologies in orbit, according to Chinese state media. China has already launched a Long March 2C missile. It will carry three new experimental communications satellites into low-Earth orbit on May 20, 2022. China is looking to build its own version of the American broadband constellation Starlink from private company SpaceX, led by Elon Musk,[10] famous for his dream of colonizing Mars. (Jones, 2022)

Notably, two of the satellites were developed by Changguang Satellite Technology Co., Ltd., a developer and operator of remote sensing satellites that emerged from the state-owned Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). [11]The spacecraft carries laser communication payloads between satellites developed by another CAS institute, where Satellites can help send information to each other and reduce the need for ground stations on the Earth’s surface. The other satellite was developed by Aerospace Dongfanghong Satellite Ltd Co., which belongs to the Chinese Academy of Space Technology -CAST-[12], itself a major spacecraft manufacturing institute affiliated with the CAS Academy. (Jones, 2022)

China plans to build a massive block of 13,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit as its answer to   SpaceX’s Starlink and other Broadband towers, such as the network built by OneWeb. China also allowed companies participating in the May 20, 2022, launch to participate in obtaining insurance contracts to build the constellation, as could other companies such as Galaxy Space., which launched six experimental satellites by it in March 2021 (Jones, 2022). Thus, China has reached the possibility of space development without relying on American scientific returns, and it has begun to compete with it in the dream of human access to Mars. In addition, as we have already mentioned, it has become an act of retaliation rather than a reaction, that is, it has been able to build a policy to strike American interests directly, instead of delving into the response to the encirclement actions themselves.

But the main rhetoric that forms the backbone of any conflict is military development, in other words, the ability of one country to enter into war against another, with the possibility of equal chances of winning between the two parties or the conflicting parties. China has engaged in sustained and large-scale efforts to transform the People’s Liberation Army from a heavy-moving, low-productivity and high-tech infantry army and from a ground-based military force to a high-tech force and a high-precision and covert internal communication network, with an increasing focus on inter-joint operations with development and improvement projections for the navy and air forces.

Some aspects of China’s military modernization are receiving international media attention, especially high-tech weapons, but the PLA is modernizing almost every aspect of its combat equipment, personnel system, training practices, and more.  The process of replacing Cold War-era equipment and systems with a new high-tech stockpile had several different reasons: Because the PLA is very large and organizationally divided, because new equipment is constantly updated or becomes obsolete, and because the PLA has prioritized certain technologies for strategic reasons.  However, through a combination of foreign acquisition and local development, the PLA is gradually modernizing its forces in all areas of combat. (Rinehart, 2016)

The Pentagon estimates that the security challenge of sovereignty in a Taiwan-related military emergency has been the “main strategic direction” of the People’s Liberation Army and the focus of planning and modernization efforts since the early nineties. To prevent Taiwan from formalizing independence from the People’s Republic of China (Hass, 2021). In the People’s Liberation Army’s Taiwan-focused central planning efforts, the prospect of U.S. engagement with Taiwan has had significant weight in modernizing the force and developing operational concepts designed to counter key U.S. technological advantages. The update is explicitly designed to prevent the U.S. military from sending reinforcements in the event of a conflict, by controlling access to maritime approach routes through a variety of counter-attacks. (Andrew Scobell, 2015)

VI – Conclusion: The Potential for Conflict and Competition

China’s rise as a global power has been its massive investments in infrastructure, technology, and innovation. The country has poured billions of dollars into developing its high-speed rail network, building state-of-the-art infrastructure, and investing in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and biotechnology. These investments have not only propelled China’s economy forward but have also enhanced its global competitiveness and influence.

In addition to its economic might, China has also been actively expanding its military capabilities and asserting its presence in regional and global security affairs. The country has been modernizing its armed forces, investing in advanced military hardware, and expanding its naval presence in the South China Sea and beyond. China’s growing military prowess has given it greater leverage in international negotiations and enabled it to assert its interests more forcefully on the global stage.

The rise of China and Russia as global powers has had a significant counterbalancing effect on US hegemony in the international system. While the United States remains the dominant superpower in the world, the emergence of these two countries as major players on the global stage has challenged its dominance and forced it to reassess its strategic priorities and alliances.

One of the key ways in which China and Russia have countered US hegemony is through the formation of strategic partnerships and alliances with other countries. Both countries have sought to strengthen their ties with each other and with other US adversaries such as Iran and North Korea in order to challenge American influence and assert their own interests on the global stage. These partnerships have given China and Russia greater leverage in international negotiations and enabled them to challenge US dominance in various regions around the world.

Another way in which China and Russia have countered US hegemony is through their assertive foreign policies and military buildups. Both countries have been actively expanding their military capabilities, projecting power in key strategic regions, and challenging US interests in various global hotspots. China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea, Russia’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, and their joint military exercises have all served to undermine US influence and create new sources of conflict and competition in global politics.

The rise of China and Russia as global powers has also increased the potential for conflict and competition in global politics. As these countries assert their interests and challenge US hegemony, they have inevitably come into conflict with each other and with other major powers around the world. The tensions between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea, the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine in Eastern Europe, and the proxy wars in Syria and other regions all underscore the potential for conflict and competition in the international system.

One of the key areas of potential conflict between China and Russia is in Central Asia, where both countries have significant economic and strategic interests. China’s Belt and Road Initiative aims to expand its influence in the region and develop key trade routes connecting Asia to Europe, while Russia sees Central Asia as its traditional sphere of influence and is wary of Chinese encroachment. The competition between these two countries in Central Asia could lead to increased tensions, proxy conflicts, and potential military confrontations that could escalate into a larger regional conflict.

[1] NAHIR: National Association of History of International Relations.

[2] CNAIS: China National Association for International Studies.

[3] AIIB: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

[4] SWIFT: Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

[5] CIPS: Cross-Border Interbank Payment System.

[6] RMB : Renminbi : The official currency of China, circulating officially and within international organizations, other than the yuan traded in the Chinese internal market.

[7] PBOC: People’s Bank Of China.

[8] Intelligence Community: A statement of the intersection of information between all U.S. intelligence agencies.

[9] Todd Harrison is the Director of the Space Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (IISS).

[10] Elon Musk: CEO of &

[11] CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences.

[12] CAST: China Academy For Space Technology.


Andrew Scobell, A. S. (2015). The People’s Liberation Army and Contingency Planning in China. Washington, D.C-USA: National Defense University Press. Retrieved from

Army:, C. P. (n.d.). Between the known strategic weapons owned. MIRVs, ICBM, Hydrogenic Missiles, Hypersonic Missiles, High elevation Bombers.

Asia Society. (2023). Together and Apart: The Conundrum of the China-Russia Partnership. Shanghai, PRC: Asia Society Policy Institute. Retrieved from

Christine Huang, L. S. (2022). China’s Partnership With Russia Seen as Serious Problem for the U.S. Washington D.C. – USA: Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Erwin, S. (2021). Analysts: China’s space programs are a security concern to the U.S. but not all are nefarious. Colorado – USA: SpaceNews. Retrieved from

Freitas, M. V. (2023). The Impact of Chinese Investments in Africa: Neocolonialism or Cooperation? Policy Center. Retrieved from

Gbadamosi, N. (2021). What Is China’s Future in Africa? Washington D.C- USA: Foreign Policy. Retrieved from

Girard, B. (2018). The G20 Summit: Highlighting China’s Headache. London – UKE: The Diplomat. Retrieved from

Hass, D. D. (2021). Getting the China challenge right. Washington D.C – USA: Brookings. Retrieved from

Jones, A. (2022). China launches 3 communications test satellites to low Earth orbit. New York – USA: Retrieved from

Kumar, S. (2018). Theorising Chinese International Relations and the Rise of China: A Preliminary Investigation (Vol. 54). Delhi – India: Relaciones Internacionales.

Kuo, M. A. (2022). China’s CIPS: A Potential Alternative in Global Financial Order. London – UKE: The diplomat. Retrieved from

Larry Hanauer, L. J. (2014). China in Africa: Implications of a Deepening Relationship. RAND Corporation: Research Breif, 4. doi:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC. (2021). China and Africa in the New Era:A Partnership of Equals. Beijing, PRC: The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. Retrieved from

Nikoladze, M. B. (2022). Russia and China: Partners in Dedollarization. Atlanta- USA: Atlantic Council. Retrieved from

Peltier, C. (2020). China’s Logistics Capabilities for Expeditionary Operations. Washington D.C., USA: The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission to support its deliberations. Retrieved from

Rinehart, I. E. (2016). The Chinese Military: Overview and Issues for Congress. Washington D.C – USA: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from

SCIPRC. (2022). China’s Space Program: A 2021 Perspective. The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. Beijing – PRC: China National Space Administration – CNSA. Retrieved from

Tianyong, Z. (2019). The Chinese Dream and China’s Path. Beirut – Lebanon, translated by Ye Liang Ying, China Fund for the Support of Humanities and Social Sciences and: Bisan Publishing and Distribution.

Wang, K. (2022). China: Is it burdening poor countries with unsustainable debt? London, UKE: BBC. Retrieved from

Yaqing, Q. (2009). Development of International Relations Theory in China (2 ed., Vol. 46). Delhi – India: International Studies.

Yeoh, E. K. (2019). Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations. CCPS, 5(1). Retrieved from


Scroll to Top