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8 Aug 2021
Strategic Trends Series (6)

The US-China Conflict in Light of International Relations Theories

Dr. Mohammad Fayez Farhat

Executive Summary

China’s economic, military, and technological rise poses essential questions about its impact on the future and shape of the current unipolar world order. Even if we assume that this rise will eventually result in the multipolar world order, other important questions emerge about the mechanisms of this transition. Will it involve an inevitable US-China military clash, or could it occur smoothly? And, what is the expected timeframe for such a change?

Several writings in recent years, particularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, have tried to answer these questions. However, given the complexity of international relations and interactions, it is difficult to give precise answers. Hence, it is necessary to refer to international relations theories on the conditions and mechanisms of transition in the world order. There are several theories in this regard. However, this study relies on two main theories – the Power Transition Theory and the Hegemonic Stability Theory.

These two were selected due to their coherent arguments and their reliance on varied and distinctive perspectives to understand a transition in the world order, giving systematic and relatively coherent answers based on these two theories. However, the study does not claim to give a final answer on the impact of China’s rise on the future of the world order, or the mechanisms of this transition. Instead, it represents an initial and necessary contribution to the research efforts required at this stage.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Mohammad Fayez Farhat is the Director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. He holds a BA in Political Science from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University (1992), a Master’s in Political Science (New Regionalism in Asia) (2001), and a Ph.D. in Political Science (Occupation and Rebuilding the State: A Comparative Study of Post-World War II Experiences and Post-Cold War Experiences) (2013), Cairo University. His research interests are focused on Asian studies.

Dr. Farhat pays special attention to the ongoing transformations in the Middle East, the policies of major powers in the region, political Islam movements, and the transformations underway in the structure of the world economic order, especially the rising international economic blocs. He has authored several books, including Occupation and Rebuilding the State: The Cases of Japan, Afghanistan, and Iraq (The Centre for Arab Unity Studies, 2015) and many papers published in dozens of books by many Arab and international think tanks.