CACS Occasional Paper No 8

Towards Solarium II: The US-China Trade War, and US Options for Countering the Rise of China

Charles Matseke
PhD Candidate, Central China Normal University

This Occasional Paper examines the current trade war between the US and China, and its implications for stability and the global order. Drawing on the theory of hegemonic power, it argues that the trade war has been initiated to counter the rise of China in the global political economy. perspective. Next, it uses International Relations theory, particularly the theory of hegemonic power, to assess the idea that the rise of China threatens US national interests and security. Follow this, it revisits Project Solarium formulated by President Dwight D Eisenhower to counter Soviet expansionism during the Cold War, and ask what could be expected next through the prism of hegemonic power in global politics. It concludes by arguing that just as Project Solarium was a long-term strategy to counter Soviet expansionism during the Cold War, the US will need a similar long-term strategy for countering the rise of China. The alternative would be to explore prospects for collective leadership, thereby departing from the hegemonic model of global politics.