Undergraduate Fellows Annual Theme

U.S.-China Relations: Is a New Cold War Coming? Is It Already Here?

The People's Republic of China and the U.S. are the two largest economies in the world, each generating more than $20 trillion in economic activity per year. Bilateral trade between the two countries is nearly half a trillion dollars, with the U.S. running a trade deficit with China of more than $300 billion. Many U.S. firms, particularly in the technology sector, generate much of their revenue from their production in China. Both countries seek to expand their influence around the world through trade and investment. One of the central tenets of the establishment and expansion of the European Union is that increasing trade, investment, and diplomatic relations between countries would reduce the likelihood of hostilities between nations, but while trade has expanded between the U.S. and China, diplomatic relations remain challenging.

It was President Eisenhower who signed the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with Taiwan, and though that treaty was superseded by the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1979, much of the substance of the MDT is contained in the Taiwan Relations Act. Taiwan donated $1 million to the construction of the Eisenhower Memorial that opened in Washington, D.C., in 2020.

Over the course of the year, the Fellows will explore the economic and political forces that unite the two countries as well as those forces that create dangerous frictions between them.

Previous themes

2020-21: The Domino Theory and Eisenhower's Foreign Policy

2019-20: The Government We Pay For

2018-19: Common Security, Common Prosperity