Are the US and China on a collision course?

This question depends upon your understanding of the term collision course, but the relationship between the US and China looks like it will continue to be antagonistic for the time being. This is because the two countries have completely different values and interests.

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Whether intentional or not, the suggestion that the United States and China are on a collision course gives the impression that some kind of war between the two countries is inevitable. This is by no means the case. In fact, it's likely that both sides will refrain from engaging in armed conflict, not least because it is not in the interests of either Washington or Beijing.

Even so, it's likely that the fraught relationship that currently exists between the U.S. and China will continue to get worse before it gets better. This is primarily due to the existence of a number of contentious economic and political issues that sharply divide the two countries.

For one thing, there is the growing assertiveness of the Chinese in the South China Sea, which Beijing regards as its exclusive sphere of influence. The United States, however, regards increased Chinese military activity in the region as a threat to its strategic interests.

Then there is the issue of human rights. Unlike its predecessor, the Biden administration has been vocal in calling out Beijing for human rights abuses, such as the genocide of the Uyghurs and a crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.

Although mutually-beneficial economic relations between the United States and China are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, it's almost certainly the case that they will take place against the backdrop of growing mutual distrust.

In the final analysis, the United States and China do not share the same values and interests, and so even if they are not exactly on a collision course, they are likely to find themselves locked in an increasingly fierce competition for supremacy on the international stage.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

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