An analysis of U.S.-China arms race dynamics
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The current dynamics of the U.S.-China great power competition has been accompanied by a series of military adaptations by both nations. Within the past three decades, China has substantially altered their military’s force structure, capabilities, and doctrine in order to reform the PLA into an advanced fighting force. America, traditionally viewed as the preeminent global military superpower, now finds itself challenged by a near-peer adversary in the Indo-Pacific region and has began to adapt accordingly to such a loss in relative power position. Through analyzing the various military adaptations undergone by both the American and Chinese armed forces through the lens of existing arms race literature, we can form a greater understanding of what motivates and encourages the dynamics of dyadic arms buildups. Our research has shown that the steps taken by each nation are consistent with existing understandings of the causes and consequences of arms races.