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Chinese Americans and U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-first Century: Applications of Cross-national Competence to Interdependent Resource-Consumption Challenges

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

The arrival of the new millennium offers a wake-up interval during which scholars, public-policy makers, media representatives, cultural leaders, and the attentive public could fruitfully take a fresh look at U.S.-China interactions in light of the global changes that have altered the underlying context of this crucial relationship in fundamental, but widely unappreciated, ways. Four developments are particularly illuminating in understanding the extent to which prevailing twentieth-century perspectives on U.S.-China relations no longer are tenable. First, the well-being of the peoples of both countries increasingly is determined by their collective responses to challenges that involve linked rather than separate destinies. Second, nongovernmental actors, operating along and across the U.S.-China frontier, have become major players in the evolving relationship. Their influence rivals and, at times, overshadows that of state agents. Third, the worldwide skill revolution has dramatically enhanced the ability of individuals, acting singly and through local communities and organized collectivities, to shape the outcome of transnational relations. Finally, an impressive number of Chinese Americans in all walks of life are endowed with cross-national competencies that can reduce friction between the two states and promote the realization of mutually beneficial outcomes.


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