The international political economy of contemporary US-China relations
This book investigates the changing nature of US power at the level of world order using US relations with the People's Republic of China in the 1990s as a case study. It is argued that US hegemony has given way to a period of dominance in which the neo-liberal policy objectives of the US state are increasingly realised via the structural power of global institutions and the ideological preferences which underpin them; the cultivation of regional trading blocs; and the material power of the US state as conceived in more traditional terms. This neo-Gramscian assessment of US power is accompanied by the idea that political agency is required to satisfy policy goals under conditions of globalisation. State policy is thereby understood as the product of a political process involving US civil society and non-state actors rather than a given entity. The chapters of the book flesh out the methods by which the US has sought to promote a liberal trading order in the light of China's emergence as a global power and the various areas of consensus and disagreement between the two nations. This takes the form of analysing five major thematic areas of the relationship which include assessments of the historical evolution of US-China relations; the political economy of US-China trade; the role of social forces (civil society) in US-China relations; environmental aspects of the relationship; and the impact of regionalism on US-China relations. Overall, the intention is to problematise the view that the relationship can still be broached in conventional state-centric terms which play down new structural conditions underpinned by the onset of economic globalisation and more multilateral forms of power. In many senses, the thesis entails a novel approach to the political economy of relations between two of the world's foremost powers by placing analysis within the context of neo Gramscian critical theory. It concludes by noting that though US structural power remains considerable in the post-hegemonic era of the 1990s and beyond, the rise of China may induce moves, for better and perhaps worse, to a more multilateral world order.