Cold Rivals

The New Era of US-China Strategic Competition

Evan S. Medeiros, Editor

Leading authorities analyze growing tensions in US-China relations and what this means for the future
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Leading authorities analyze growing tensions in US-China relations and what this means for the future

The US-China relationship is now defined by “strategic competition.” In Cold Rivals, a distinguished group of scholars from the United States and China examine the reasons for this deterioration and its implications for world politics.

The two countries are now competitors locked in a long-term rivalry, but how volatile this rivalry will become is still to be determined. The book explores not only the historical roots and contemporary foreign policy aspects of this era, but also looks at the economic, military, and technological arenas of US-China strategic competition. In doing so, this volume highlights important differences in US and Chinese perspectives. A final section of the volume explores future scenarios for this relationship from a variety of perspectives, all coming to a sobering conclusion.

This policy-relevant book provides a comprehensive overview of US-China strategic competition and reinvigorates thinking about how to avoid reaching a crisis point.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: A New Strategic Reality
Evan. S. Medeiros

Part I
1. Explaining and Understanding Competition in U.S.-China Relations
Evan S. Medeiros
2. Old Cold War and New
Richard K. Betts
3. The U.S. and China: From Partners to Competitors in America’s Eyes
Harry Harding
4. From Reluctant Cooperation to Assertive Competition: China’s Reaction to U.S. Strategic Pressure 1979-2022
Wang Jisi

Part II
5. China’s Management of Strategic Competition with the United States
Wu Xinbo
6. The Evolution of America’s China Policy: Rethink, Reset, Recalibrate
Elizabeth Economy
7. The Economic Origins of U.S.-China Strategic Competition
Arthur R. Kroeber

Part III
8. The Military Factor in U.S.-China Strategic Competition
Phillip C. Saunders
9. National Security and Strategic Competition between China and the United States
Li Chen
10. Non-Traditional Security Competition: the Espionage Realm
James Mulvenon

Part IV
11. China’s Rise as a Technology Power and U.S.-China Technology Competition: Assessing Beijing’s Response
Paul Triolo
12. From Backwater to Near-Peer: Changing U.S. Approaches Towards China as a Technological Competitor
Helen Toner

Part V
13. Time Horizons and The Future of Sino-American Relations
David M. Edelstein
14. Parsing and Managing U.S.-China Competition
David Shambaugh
15. Forecasting the Future of U.S.-China Relations
Evan S. Medeiros

List of Contributors


"Medeiros has produced a superb and timely volume that brings together leading scholars from both countries to probe the depth and dimensions of competition between the United States and China. Anyone interested in the trajectory of this critical relationship should read this book."—M. Taylor Fravel, director, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

"Cold Rivals is essential reading for anyone seeking to make sense of contemporary US-China competition. The all-star lineup of contributors provides much-needed context, historical perspective, and insightful analysis on the most consequential geopolitical contest of our time."—Andrew Scobell, Distinguished Fellow for China, US Institute of Peace,

"With an all-star assemblage of scholars and former practitioners of US-China relations from both countries, Cold Rivals delivers a wealth of unique and must-read insights on the how, what, and why of intensifying strategic competition between the two powers and foreshadows even greater contestation and possibly conflict in the years to come."—Bates Gill, executive director, Center for China Analysis, Asia Society,

"Cold Rivals: The New Era of US-China Strategic Competition edited by Medeiros serves as a helpful tool for policymakers who deal with US-China relations or other two-country rival dyads."—SAIS Review of International Affairs

"Evan Medeiros has brought together an all-star cast of renowned American and Chinese experts to produce a valuable contribution to the literature on contemporary US–China relations. This exciting new edited volume offers both countries' perspectives on the full scope of contentious topics in the contemporary bilateral relationship, from economics and politics to technology and security."—The China Quarterly


Richard K. Betts, Elizabeth Economy, David M. Edelstein, Harry Harding, Arthur R. Kroeber, Li Chen, Evan S. Medeiros, James Mulvenon, Phillip C. Saunders, David Shambaugh, Helen Toner, Paul Triolo, Wang Jisi, Wu Xinbo

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Evan S. Medeiros is the inaugural Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Cling Family Distinguished Fellow in US-China Studies. During the Obama Administration, he held senior positions on the National Security Council including Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asia. He has published seven books including China's International Behavior: Activism, Opportunism, and Diversification.

320 pp., 7 x 10
1 tabl, 11 figures
ISBN: 978-1-64712-358-1
Aug 2023

320 pp., 7 x 10
1 tabl, 11 figures
ISBN: 978-1-64712-359-8
Aug 2023

320 pp.
1 tabl, 11 figures
ISBN: 978-1-64712-360-4
Aug 2023

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