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US-China Relations – What Is at Stake

In this course you will learn why US-China relations have deteriorated, how the failure of America’s policy of engagement with Beijing has given way to ever-sharper competition in the economic, technology and military spheres, and how this geopolitical contest is likely to play out.

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Starts Jan 18
Ends Jun 30
Estimated 3 weeks
2–3 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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Western strategists hoped that by integrating China into the global economy, especially by admitting it to the WTO, the seeds of democracy would eventually bloom. They were wrong. The West’s mishandling of the Global Financial Crisis boosted the Chinese Communist Party’s confidence in its unique authoritarian model of state-driven capitalism and encouraged Beijing to start translating its growing economic clout into greater political influence on the world stage.

The US remains the sole superpower, but it can feel China breathing down its neck as Xi Jinping seeks to realise his China Dream of national rejuvenation. Hoped-for collaboration has been replaced by out-and-out competition across the policy spectrum.

You will learn in this course why bilateral ties have sunk so low, culminating in a trade and technology war begun by Donald Trump that Joe Biden is perpetuating. You will track how Trump’s initial recourse to tariffs on imports of Chinese goods gradually gave way to restrictions on Chinese access to US technology, especially advanced semiconductors.

While China’s determination to close the technology gap with the US is driven by the imperative of finding the next drivers of economic growth, you will see how it also fits in with Beijing’s doctrine of cyber sovereignty – exemplified by its strict censorship of the internet – and by its strategy to increase self-sufficiency in key domains.

The contest between the US and China inevitably has a military dimension as Beijing seeks to end American hegemony in the western Pacific and reassert control over what it deems historically to be its sphere of influence. The flashpoint to watch is Taiwan. You will learn about the balance of forces and the challenges facing both militaries, enabling you to judge by the end of the course whether a hot war is likely.

Our carefully tailored teaching materials include bespoke online teaching videos of a high professional standard. They complement unbiased insights, real-life examples and practical guidance that will equip you with the analytical frameworks and tools to apply to your investment decisions, risk assessments or policymaking. You will learn directly from a team of experts at Enodo Economics who collectively have more than 250 years of experience focusing on the economics, politics, markets and culture of China.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

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  • Where bilateral relations went wrong
  • How the conflict is fundamentally a clash between two incompatible ideologies

  • Why technological reliance on the US threatens China’s key political, economic goals

  • Whether Chinese military modernisation has made a hot war over Taiwan more likely

  • What the Great Decoupling now underway means for the global economy

Learner testimonials

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Janet L. Yellen : United States Secretary of The Treasury; Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018

“Understanding the Chinese economy is not for the fainthearted. You have to make sense of the data but also be able to put it in the context of industrial policy, Beijing’s political priorities and so on. I liken it to doing a jigsaw without being able to see the picture on the box. Yet that’s what Diana Choyleva does so well in her regular commentary, which I’ve really enjoyed following, and now with the Enodo Economics program she’s put together for edX. Take the courses and you’ll learn not only how to put the various pieces of the China puzzle together, you’ll get to see the whole picture.”


Orit Gadiesh: Chairman Bain & Co

“China matters. Even more than you realise. If you want to thrive and succeed in business, consulting, investing or policymaking you must really understand China and how it shapes the world. This EdX programme created by Enodo Economics will help you do just that and stay at the top of your game. It’s rare to find unbiased, thoughtful and practical teaching by great communicators, but this is it. An indispensable guide.”

About the instructors

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