China and America are no strangers to war and the history of China’s war with America is one of the main reasons why the Obama Administration would not drop missiles on Vietnam.
China has held a central role in international relations from the 1700’s. Not much different from medieval Europe, Asia was split into dynasties compared to western monarchs. Asia had hundreds of years of ancestry, isolated by the sea for many years, it is not surprising Asia, in particular, China was not a modern state. America was clearly the dominant power, by both technological advancements and manpower on the sea. Which is why Chinese manpower in the first Korean War was not only a surprise but a clear show of military and strategic power. China was a world power.
What is the effect on current foreign US-Sino foreign policy?
Donald Trump has clearly not learned his lessons from history. China is now a current, modern and powerful state, capable of just as much damage as America if neither state backs down from the trade war. China has proven in military prowess and continues to create new alliances with clear growth strategies in play. However, this has been the case since the Cold War. America has had to constantly adapt their foreign policy towards China due to the increasing demand for China to become a wider part of the international system, instigated by America, and now outgrown the US in trade and economic power.
Donald Trump is on his back foot!
The US consequentially has had to take the backfoot, even when China was still growing, due to the decline in American power since the early 1990’s. The relative peace between the two superpowers was waning, ultimately realizing that there was an area for growth, and China attacked that position. Since then, the US has become a reactionary force on the global stage, especially since Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States, because has no experience in politics and is acting off of instinct, making Trump highly unpredictable, whereas China has always been more balanced, with a clear goal of expansion. It is ironic to see that the once paternalistic ideology of the US in China has flipped, hence China is becoming a more progressive state by strategically incorporating western values into their foreign policy. Making China the primary source of strategic foreign policy and America is playing catch-up.