23 December 2019

ThinkChina Video: The New Superpower Rivalry

Watch or re-watch the ChinaTalks lecture on the new superpower rivalry between China and the US by professor Øystein Tunsjø, head of the Asia-program at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies at the Norwegian Defence University College.


The United States and China are today much more powerful than any other state and the distribution of capabilities in the international system is now bipolar. This new era of U.S.–China bipolarity differs from the U.S.–Soviet rivalry of the second half of the twentieth century. The most important difference is not economic interdependence, ideology, institutions, the role of nuclear weapons or political leaders, but geopolitics. Based on a new geostructural realist theory, The lecture will focus on explaining and predicting balancing and stability in the new bipolar system. Geostructural realism contends that the U.S. and China are unlikely in the near future to pursue an arms race characteristic of the U.S.–Soviet pattern of behavior, but there is a relatively higher risk of a limited war between the superpowers in the twenty-first century than during the previous bipolar era. Finally, the lecture will address how U.S.–China rivalry affects transatlantic relations and Europe, as well as address how the U.S.–China superpower rivalry affects broader issues, including the balance between engagement and containment, the current trade war and the nexus between economics and security, the role of president Trump and Xi, transatlantic relations and Europe.

Watch the ChinaTalks lecture:

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