The rise of China is the key issue of the 21st century. Can China rise peacefully? Has America's engagement policy created a peer competitor? How should the US respond to Beijing's island-building in the South China Sea, and its institution-building in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)?
This short documentary film (18:43 minutes) by Bill Callahan examines how the personal experiences of iconic IR theorists John Mearsheimer (Chicago) and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. (Harvard) on their first trips to China have framed their strategic understandings of US-China relations. Are Offensive Realists like Mearsheimer correct that a rising China is structurally determined to challenge the hegemonic US? Can US-China relations be managed through diplomacy and international organisations, as the Liberal Institutionalists argue? Or does the US's China policy need a combination of Realism and Liberalism, as Nye suggests?
Bill Callahan is professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His films can be viewed at vimeo.com/billcallahan.