We characterize bubble football buy Sino–US relations as superficial friendship on the basis of our bubble football equipments quantitative analysis of the behavior that this dyad exhibits. Lack of stability in bilateral ties and shifts between periods of positive and negative relations are fundamental features of superficial friendship. This level of instability is much higher than that exhibited by real enemies, superficial enemies, or real friends. The trend line below estimates the frequency and intensity of disturbances in Sino–US relations.31 Figure 2 is the basis for asserting that post Cold War Sino–US ties can be characterized by the concept of superficial friendship.
As Johnston does not share our understanding of superficial friendship, he questions whether or not the average score we obtain from the trend line of Sino–US relations from 1989 to present supports our theory of superficial friendship. Johnston argues: ‘[T]he fitted trend lines show that the average annual score increases over time and the annual average absolute deviation declines. The monthly disaggregated data shows similar trends. In other words, Sino–US relations improve and the volatility declines.’32
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