China Rising: EU and US Responses to a Changing World Order

For the first time in a century, a set of large, populous and increasingly wealthy states—China, India and Russia—are on the cusp of achieving great-power status. These powers are entering an international system still governed by a “Western” conception of legal and political order and based on the primacy of post-World War II rules, drawn from liberal models of capitalism and democracy practiced in the U.S. and in Western Europe. In this context, the most important question facing the West over the next decade is this: What will be the relationship between the EU and the US vis-a-vis these rising powers? Will the transatlantic relationship become stronger, faced with this new geopolitical and geo-economic challenge? Or will the US and the EU—an increasingly prominent global player—compete for economic and political advantage? This issue goes far beyond the old “Mars vs. Venus” controversy: nothing less than the viability of the current international economic and political order, not to mention the health of the planet, rests on the answer.

On April 15-16, 2011, the Berkeley APEC Study Center organized the third in a series of conferences designed to explore the questions described above, with a particular focus on the rise of China and its challenge to a liberal international order dominated by Western powers. Successful conferences on the rise of Russia (2009) and India (2010) brought together US and international scholars to discuss the impact of these newly powerful states on the EU-US partnership and on EU and US relationships with the rising powers themselves. The April 2011 conference brought together prominent American, European, and Chinese scholars, working in each of the three dominant theoretical traditions (realism, liberalism, and constructivism) of international relations, to discuss these important questions.

The Friday and Saturday main conference commenced at 9:30 A.M. at the Institute of European Studies Seminar Room in 201 Moses Hall. The Friday evening panel and reception was held at 6:30 P.M. in the Institute of East Asian Studies (2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor Conference Room).

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