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Friends or foes?
With China inching closer to becoming a superpower in its own right, US will have to willy-nilly give away some of its international roles and responsibilities
30/07/2013

When two global giants meet to discuss weighty matters and affairs of the world, there is an air of expectation all around. So it was when Chinese President Xi Jinping met US President Barack Obama in the second week of June. It was interesting to see the interactions between China, which is on course to becoming a superpower, and the United States, which has been a superpower for the past 70 years or so.

Many political scientists put a special wager on Sino-American relationship, describing it as the most important political milestone that will shape the trajectory and direction of global politics in the years to come. Many feel that it’s only a matter of time before China pulls up ahead of the US, the same way that Rome and Britain were once eclipsed by Carthage and Germany respectively. With China’s clout growing thick and fast, many are betting that history will once again repeat itself and just like Rome and Britain in the past, the US will give way to a new world order dominated by China.


In the first half of 2011, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projected that the Chinese economy will overtake the US to become the biggest economy in the world by the end of 2016. What was America’s reaction? It accepted the prediction graciously. Even Obama said in a conference that “It is in the United States’ interest that China continues on the path of success, because we believe that a peaceful, stable and prosperous China is not only good for the Chinese but also good for the world and for the United States.”

But despite such sentiments, the ever increasing tensions between the two countries suggest that the reality is far more knotty for the rhetoric to untangle. China’s ever increasing military expenditure remains a key worry for the US. A 2011 report prepared by the International Institute for Strategic Studies anticipated that “if spending trends continue, China will achieve military equality with the United States in 15–20 years.”

By:- Amir Hossain
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