US — China relations and the crisis of liberal order

Nana de Graaff and Bastiaan van Apeldoorn

Xi Jinping and Donald Trump on the latter’s state visit to China, November 2017 | Credit: Shealah Craighead, Official White House Photo

Whose crisis?

Enter China

Xi’s elite power concentration

A hybrid scenario

This hybrid scenario, however, does not imply the absence of contestation and, crucially, hinges on the resolution of domestic political and social contestation within both the US and China. The key question here is whether and how the American and Chinese elites are able to manage their societal contradictions, domestically and internationally. This will require, among other things, major structural solutions and a (re)distribution of social, societal and natural resources in order to lower inequality, improve employment opportunities, solve the immigration conundrum and to ecologically save the planet. China is facing many domestic challenges, from spiralling national debt to the middle income trap, nevertheless it seems to be in a better position to address these crises than the US under Trump.

Nana de Graaff is Assistant Professor in International Relations at the Department of Political Science at the VU University Amsterdam.

Bastiaan van Apeldoorn is Reader in International Relations in the Department of Political Science at the VU University Amsterdam.

Their co-authored article, ‘US–China relations and the liberal world order: contending elites, colliding visions’, appeared in the January 2018 special issue of International Affairs, ‘Ordering the world: liberal internationalism in theory and practice’.

Read the article here.

Explore the rest of the special issue here.

International Affairs Blog

The official blog of International Affairs, the…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store