The end of World War II marked the beginning of a global system of commerce installed and protected by United States maritime forces. This model of free trade laid the foundation for the People’s Republic of China’s inexorable rise in global affairs. The U.S. supported China’s industrialization by granting it near limitless access to American capital and consumer and financial markets, while it benefited equally from a vast and ever growing supply of consumer goods that have kept the cost of living in America nearly flat for a decade.
Now, however, both nations are expanding their economic interests and military commitments into each other’s regional neighborhoods. To complicate matters, this is happening at a time when both nations are finding themselves stymied by political and territorial challenges within their own hemispheres.
In this paper, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Audry Oxley argues that managing future international issues between the countries will require a commitment to cooperation and a sturdy diplomatic platform.
I think probably that the lesson that [Kim Jong Un is] learning is that he doesn’t have to give up anything and yet people will be scrambling for summits with him. ... The longer we have these drawn-out talks, these summits, bilaterals, trilaterals, quadrilaterals, the more it buys time for them to reinforce their claimed status [as a nuclear power] but also to continue with their R&D. But I do think that there is an element of trying to mitigate the sanctions, and also Kim took all those discussions about military strikes seriously enough to try and take the wind out of the sails. ... I find it difficult to envision how or why he would give up his nuclear weapons, which have pretty much given him what he’s wanted: which is the strategic relevance, the international prestige, and deterrence.