China and the USA: cooperation or conflict?
China and the USA: cooperation or conflict?

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

China and the USA: cooperation or conflict?

3 Analysing cooperation and conflict

In the previous sections, you have read overviews of the evolving relationship between China and the United States and some of the contending views on each side of that relationship as to the potential for cooperation and conflict. You will have noted a range of terms used to describe this relationship: win–win, zero-sum, interdependent, unipolar, hegemonic and so on. These words are part of the language of international relations and appear in both everyday international political discourses and in more abstract academic debates about international politics.

This section changes pace somewhat and takes a more analytical look at the evolving areas of cooperation and conflict between China and the United States. It begins to unpick some of those debates by taking a closer look at the kinds of international relationships that exist in the world, by characterising those relationships as different ‘forms of interdependence’. This is not the only way in which you can analyse China–United States relations or international relations more generally and it proceeds by making a number of assumptions about how to understand the world, some of which you may come to question. Nevertheless, this is an important approach to international relations and one that is closely connected, as you have already seen, to real-world political debates.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371