The main purpose of this article is to present the kind of consequences the rise of China poses in terms of U.S. global leadership and the structure of the international system. This entails a discussion of how the power struggle between the two countries will take shape in the future and an exploration of the data that indicates China’s economic and military power. To facilitate this discussion, similar recent ‘rises’ and ‘challenges’ are closely examined. In this framework, a two-stage analysis is made to help predict how the challenge from China will affect the international political system. First, by examining how some recent rises and challenges have developed and culminated, helpful examples are provided to contextualize how China’s current challenge should be assessed. Second, the data regarding the current economic and military powers of China and the U.S. are compared and inferences are made about how the struggle between these two actors will take shape based on the trend of change in these indicators, particularly over the last 30 years.