Here is a quote from Ye Shi, writing in the late 12th early 13th century when foreign invaders held the north, referring back to a text from the Warring States period.
“One maintains a country with principles, with proper roles, and with the ability to change according to the circumstances. For the Zhong guo (the “Central country”) not to govern the Yi di (tribal peoples) is principle. For the Zhong guo to be the Zhong guo and for the Yi di to be Yi di is the proper role. We are in control of both. Therefore if they come to pillage then we go to war with them; if they come to submit then we receive them; to order them according to their reasons for coming is the ability to change according to the circumstances…The reason the Zhong guo is the Zhong guo is simply because it has these three thing. If we cast aside the tools by which we will necessarily be victorious and merely rely on deceit and force than we will have transformed ourselves into Yi di…However, although the Yi di are unprincipled, they always expect good faith and principle from the Zhong guo. The Zhong guo regards the Yi di as unprincipled and thus responds to them without employing good faith and principle. It does not understand that this is the reason it is the Zhong guo. Basically it cannot abandon something because the Yi di lack it.”
Capitalism will prevent a hegemonic war between China and the United States. China is a rising power relative to the U.S., both economically and militarily, but a war between these nations is not likely. Profit and economic stability are the goals. China has just over 10% of the nuclear warheads as the U.S., however, the estimated 300 they do have is more than enough for Mutually Assured Destruction. Money, not military deterrence, will prevent this war.
China bases its decisions on foreign policy at least partly on mutual respect, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful coexistence, equality, and mutual benefit. Moreover, China says it “never seeks hegemony”. A United States cost/benefit analysis would obviously favor peaceful trade with China without disrupting the U.S. imperialist pursuits in weaker and unprotected countries. China will not threaten their biggest trade partner and the U.S. does not want any trouble because the import/export exchange is mutually beneficial and China is a major source of lending for U.S. Therefore, peace is in the common interest.
As 21st century political values tend to put more emphasis on profit and the major military powers refine their military capabilities (deterrence), economic cooperation will become increasingly important. We have insured peace by creating a system of mutually assured economic interdependence.