Since the end of WWII, the United States has been the preeminent cultural, economic, and military power in the international system. Even at the height of the Cold War, the United States maintained its supremacy over the Soviet Union, and would continue to do so well into the 21st century.
However, since the late 20th century, a new power has risen, the People’s Republic of China, driven by annual economic growth rates of over 10% in the last three decades. China currently has the second largest economy and the fastest growing economy in the world. It is projected to overtake the U.S economy by 2020. Unlike the Soviet Union, China has emphasized a peaceful approach in its rise. However, questions remain as to what impact China’s ascent will have on the international system, once exclusively dominated by the U.S. but increasingly multi-polar.