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

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China and the USA: cooperation or conflict?

3.9 Summing up

While in Sections 1 and 2 you read some general accounts of the changing relationship between China and the United States and the prospects for cooperation and conflict in that relationship, in Section 3 you studied how to set out some of the different kinds of interaction that arise in international relations, including China–United States relations, in a more formalised way.

In this exploration of interdependence you have seen that:

  • states might pursue absolute or relative gains
  • in pursuing absolute gains, where states are only interested in how much they themselves benefit, you have seen that interactions might be either positive-, negative- or zero-sum and you will have noted some examples of each
  • even in pursuit of absolute gains in a positive-sum game, power is an important factor in determining outcomes
  • any exercise of power involves costs as well as benefits.

In the following sections you will be able to apply some of these terms to particular aspects of contemporary China–US relations.


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