Transition ScenariosChina and the United States in the Twenty-First Century

Transition ScenariosChina and the United States in the Twenty-First Century

David P. Rapkin and William R. Thompson

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9780226040332

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

There is considerable speculation that the twenty-first century will witness a systemic leadership transition in which the United States, the incumbent system leader, is passed by China. The probability and timing of such a momentous event remains unclear. So, too, are the causal processes which might bring it about. Despite the occurrence of previous systemic transitions, commentators tend to treat the possible ascendance of China to predominance as a novelty. A different approach relies heavily on international relations theory and applies a forward reasoning approach to constructing a range of possible future transition scenarios. As the future unfolds, we watch for reality-scenario correspondence which also helps to identify the mix of conflict inducing and constraining drivers at work