04 January 2012

China’s Century? Why America’s Edge Will Endure

This provocative article offers a useful corrective for overly-declinist views of America’s trajectory in the international system, which have been quite fashionable of late in certain quarters.

Michael Beckley, China’s Century? Why America’s Edge Will Endure,” International Security, 36/3 (Winter 2011/12): 41-78.

Two assumptions dominate current foreign policy debates in the United States and China. First, the United States is in decline relative to China. Second, much of this decline is the result of globalization and the hegemonic burdens the United States bears to sustain globalization. Both of these assumptions are wrong. The United States is not in decline; in fact, it is now wealthier, more innovative, and more militarily powerful compared to China than it was in 1991. Moreover, globalization and hegemony do not erode U.S. power; they reinforce it. The United States derives competitive advantages from its hegemonic position, and globalization allows it to exploit these advantages, attracting economic activity and manipulating the international system to its benefit. The United States should therefore continue to prop up the global economy and maintain a robust diplomatic and military presence abroad. …

For the article cited here, see Andrew S. Erickson and David Yang, “On the Verge of a Game-Changer,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 135.3 (May 2009): 26-32.

For a related article of possible interest, see Gabe Collins and Andrew EricksonChina’s S-Curve Trajectory: Structural factors will likely slow the growth of China’s economy and comprehensive national power,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 44 (15 August 2011).