Perception and Misperception in US-China Relations

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U.S. – China relations are at the forefront of the global mind in many different respects. The two countries are viewed as the world’s superpowers and from the perspective of both Americans and Chinese each other are considered existential threats. Dr. Andrew Scobell provided the “Good News” that a sizeable number of security measures and interactions have taken place and more will take place in the future. Talking is good (and is much better than fighting). The Bad news is that despite the peace talks and agreements mutual distrust and suspicion still lingers.

China has 4 rings of security it must juggle all at the same time:

1st Ring: Homelang (Domestic Drag)- People right outside in the streets. Firewall on the internet, rebel groups within the country.

2nd Ring: Periphery (A Buffer Strategy)- 14 adjacent countries. “China lives in a much rougher neighborhood than America. Their neighbors are not quite as nice.”

3rd Ring: Regional (Spheres of Influence)- 6 distinct geopolitical regions that surround China. Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Huge influences in these smaller Asian countries

4th Ring: Global (Expanding Global Interesets)- Since 1990’s China has been making moves to capture more market and become more globally connected.

China views the U.S. as the only country in the world that has the ability to impact ALL 4 rings of influence which doesn’t help the trust issues China and the U.S. have with each other.

Qin Yaqing, from China Foreign Affairs University, said that “The United States may not have a global or overall strategy at all and may have too many strategic choices to form a grand master plan, but in the eye of the Chinese, it does have one. It may not be called grand strategy, but it is represented as a grand plan to deal with China. In this respect, whether or not the US really has such a strategy is not important. What is important is that in the eye of the beholder there is one.”

It indeed seems that all hope is lost concerning U.S. – China relations, however, interests of both countries are served when each other can stay away from war. This fact brings me hope that teamwork may be the answer at helping both countries. At least for now…

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