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China-US Ties: Predicting The Global Impact

The US-China relationship makes for an interesting study not only from a micro perspective, but a macro one as well: any change in dynamics between the two global powers holds the potential to influence the global community.

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Political Scientist Analyze Potential Impact Of US-China Relations

The crux of the debate on the US-China ties focuses on the relationship shared by the two countries. But how does this relationship impact the world? What does it mean for the international political community, and by extension, the rest of the world? How do changes in Sino-American ties shape and reshape global phenomena? And most importantly, what is the long-term impact of the relationship between China and the United States?

Evan Hillebrand and Stacy Closson set out to answer these questions in their book, ‘Energy, Economic Growth, and Geopolitical Futures: Eight Long-Range Scenarios’.

Published for the MIT Press, the book evaluates the possible long-range outcomes of present-day developments in the China-US relationship and how the same will affect international relations and global order.

The authors are currently working at the Patterson School at the University of Kentucky.

Short-range vs. Long-range Political Planning

The inclination to emphasize the significance of quick decision-making with short-term goals in mind is a characteristic common to legislators and analysts the world over. Both political urgency and political proximity may be used to rationalize this tendency. Lawmakers and political scientists prioritize the political ‘here and now’ at the cost of the long-term effect of decisions and the experiences of political societies foreign to the immediate audience.

Experts opine that predicting the long-range impact of political decisions can prove to be extremely difficult, and many a times the agreed-to ‘most-likely scenario’ is rendered irrelevant as processes pan out differently from what policymakers expect. As such, most policymakers grant short-term goals a greater priority status and are, more often than not, reluctant to publicize the associated long-range impacts.

Political experts warn against the risks associated with this practice given that no short-term political decision can be fully appreciated without acknowledging the long-term effects it has. Emphasizing and analyzing only the short-term leads to an imbalance in political analyses and results in a myopic understanding of how governance and policymaking work. It also makes the entire lawmaking process inscrutable, thereby alienating the larger social and academic audiences from the lawmaking elites.

Analyzing How Political Futures Are Created

To the layperson, a political decision is best understood in the ‘what’ terms: what the decision constitutes and what its subsequent impact is. The ‘how’ element is usually either overlooked or proves too complex for an accurate analysis. However, in their new book...


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