The goal of this course is to help students obtain, in the context of dynamic history and complex realities of power and ideas, a better grasp of the China-U.S. relations, the most important bilateral relations to China at the present as well as in a large part of her modern history, and also increasingly likely the most important ones to the United States in the coming decades. There is already little doubt in the world that the prospects of this bilateral relationship will in a large part shape the world political economy and more. The general orientation of the past evolution of the intercourses between these two powers with very different traditions but the similar “continental” magnitude will be surveyed, the developments in the most recent years and months emphasized, and the predictable future prospects discussed.
The course is characterized, among other things, by prominence of the political and strategic aspects of the international relations and foreign policy, while their social and economic ones are also touched from time to time, especially when they do have significant politico-strategic implications. As in most other courses in the field of international studies almost anywhere, students are expected to have at least a minimum grounding in general international political theories. There may be often a largely consistent theme or framework of “grand strategy” emerged in discussing, which has been marked by a holistic approach, a focus on the calculated relationship between ends and means, a constant concern with the cost-effectiveness of different policy options, and the most important strategic quality of unrelenting adaptation to the unending changes of the world.
The weekly themes of the course are as follows:
I. The emergence of the American preponderance and China’s evolving relations with the international society
II. Conflict, confrontation, and rapprochement: the China-U.S. relations in the Cold War years and beyond
III. Crisis in Tiananmen and its aftermath
IV. From the Embassy bombing, through 9/11, to the 16th Party Congress of the CCP
V. Toward partnership through vicissitudes
VI. Drastic ups and downs: Obama and China
VII. Obama and China again: Historic rivalry and competition over Asia-Pacific?
VIII. Effects of political economy and culture: The United States and the Chinese high Politics
IX. South China Sea dispute: U.S. power in the Pacific and China’s maritime
X. Northeast Asia: China’s extraordinarily intensive maritime confrontation
XI. Northeast Asia: China, U.S., and the oft-dramatic North Korea problem,
and troubled China-ROK political relations
XII. New problems at a new agenda: Finance, trade, energy, investment,
strategic weaponry, and more
XIII. China’s rising, and the uncertain future of China-U.S. relations