Originally Posted by godofthunder9010
I think you can probably add the case where the USA did not support China's position in their little border war with Vietnam in 1980 as another item that soured the relationship.
Does the fact that a loose alliance once existed between the USA and China offer something to build on? I'd like to see relations improve, myself. Lets face it, in today's world, those two countries are your biggest heavy hitters. The lack of a perceived threat to both China and the USA means that future relations must be built on something else. For the time being, trade is the centerpiece to the relationship. Where does it go from here?
China is one of the genuine enigmas of world history. For centuries the most advanced and civilized nation on earth, she has never had the military might to back her status, despite her millions of citizens. For the first time in China's history, largely due to nuclear weapons and the fall of the USSR, she is in, military wise, the most powerful phase of her history. You rightly mention that trade is the centerpiece of the relationship. Trade is arguably the most important relationship that can exist between nations. For the time being there is nowhere else for any US-China relationship to go. However, trade with the West beings Western values, seeing as the trade is almost exclusively one way - us to them. China is already the 2nd biggest PC market in the world and growing 7 times faster than the US market. Western companies are falling over themselves to obtain trading and manufacturing rights in Chinese markets. For the first time it's now possible to buy shares in Chinese companies. Chinese students are flooding Western Universities (I know because there are tons at mine).
If trade continues at the current pace, you may find that in 20 years time relations will gradually grow closer. However, the Chinese still may have that innate superiority that they feel is their right over the 'barbarians' that populate the rest of the world. I'm not sure about that but I do know that there were reasons why the People's Republic of China emerged and I know that their greatest enemy, the Soviet Union, is no more. However, there does need to be some political reforms or some observers predict that the current Chinese economic boom will collapse and China will go the same way as some of the other Asian 'Tiger' economies.