Foreign Affairs
America’s Inability to Halt China’s Soaring Influence

China’s rise as a global superpower is a significant challenge to the established global order. Despite US efforts to curb its influence, the US’s ability to do so remains in question. To halt China’s influence, the US must adapt its strategy by managing competition, building coalitions, and finding common ground on global challenges like climate change and pandemics.

Engaging China in a dialogue and diplomacy, strengthening domestic unity, and investing in research, education, and technology will help the US maintain its competitive edge. The world has entered an era where China’s influence is undeniably on the rise, and America’s inability to halt it calls for a reevaluation of international strategies. The path forward may be to coexist with a new global order where multiple powers, including the US and China, share leadership roles and responsibilities.

China has become the world’s second-largest economy, trailing only the US, due to its export-led economy, infrastructure development, and growing middle class. China’s influence extends beyond economics, with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) fostering economic interdependencies with numerous countries and facilitating global diplomatic influence. The country is also modernizing its armed forces and expanding naval capabilities, challenging US dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. However, territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the ongoing dispute over Taiwan remain contentious issues. Overall, China’s economic powerhouse status is remarkable.

The United States has been attempting to counter China’s rapid rise but has struggled to contain its expansion. Economic interdependence between the two nations, as Chinese goods flood American markets and US businesses invest heavily in China, limits America’s options for confrontation. China’s global diplomacy through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has eroded US influence in regions traditionally considered its sphere of interest.

Domestic challenges, such as political polarization and internal issues, have diverted attention and resources away from effective international dealings with China. China’s investments in technology, such as 5G and artificial intelligence, have raised concerns about America’s technological leadership. China’s focus on shaping international organizations like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization has also undermined US influence. The waning perception of US leadership has given China an opportunity to present itself as a more reliable global partner.

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