Acknowledgements. The reported study was funded by RFBR and ÑASS, project number 21-514-93002.
Abstract. This article addresses the current confrontation between the United States and China in the context of the history of international relations and civilization expansions. The work demonstrates how most attempts to analyze the essence of this important phenomenon in modern world politics are based on too narrow a view: both from the standpoint of world history and the entire system of modern international relations. The author introduces the concepts of “Westernism” and “Westernist period” in order to describe the modern world. These terms are reminiscent of “Hellenism” and “Hellenistic period”, which the period of the global spread of Western civilizational models. Using world history as an example, the author examines characteristic features of such periods and concludes that the wide geographical spread of the cultural forms of any civilization and the civilizational unity caused by it historically did not lead to complete political unity. As a rule, this spread ended in a period of fragmentation, which in the sense of international relations can be called multipolarity. The author infers that the current Sino-US conflict is neither purely civilizational nor geopolitical, but it demonstrates that civilizationally united westernized world enters a period of political fragmentation. This is how one should understand the process, which in the modern foreign policy language is called the transition from unipolarity to multipolarity.
Keywords: USA, China, conflict, Westernism, hegemony, multipolarity
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