US-China Strategic Rivalry

Great Power Competition in the Post-industrial Age

Published in: New Asian Disorder: Rivalries Embroiling the Pacific Century (March 2022); Edited by Lowell Dittmer, page 141

Posted on RAND.org on January 20, 2022

by Timothy R. Heath

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Tensions between United States and China have spurred a growing literature on the possibilities of great power transition and war. Even if war is avoided, the clash between US efforts to maintain an Asia-Pacific order favorable to its interests and China's own efforts to revamp that order in its favor raise the risk of an increasingly unsettled and unstable Asia-Pacific region. By providing a "middle range" theory on the role that competition and threat perceptions play in inter-state conflict, the literature on "strategic rivalry" can potentially contribute to the study of how the emerging "Asian disorder" might evolve and the risks it might entail.

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