This notion of global empire being something like a baton that gets passed from nation-state to nation-state is seriously misleading, in my view, for this reason:
China and the U.S. both exist within the Empire of Finance. Virtually every mercantile nation with access to global markets lives, works and thrives/dies within the Empire of Finance. Every nation that allows capital to flow into its economy is subservient to the Empire of Finance. Every nation with capital and debt markets exposed to (or dependent on) global financial flows is just another fiefdom in the Empire of Finance.
China has brought 20 years of future growth and income forward, and eventually that vein of "wealth" runs out as time advances into the stripmined future.
The same can be said of all nations that have borrowed heavily from future growth and income to fund consumption/GDP "growth" today.
1. If you want your national currency to act as a global reserve currency (or global reserve currency), you must run permanent large trade deficits This is the essence of Triffin's Paradox, which I have covered many times.
2. Your national currency must float freely in the global marketplace and be liquid enough to trade in global foreign exchange (FX) markets.
3. Your sovereign debt/bonds must float freely in the global credit/debt marketplace and be liquid enough to trade in size (tens of billions of dollars) daily.
4. Global capital must be free to flow in and out of your currency, debt, assets and economy . ( is the core of liquidity, risk management, and profitability.)
The Empire of Finance is a harsh master; any nation-state that wants to secure the privileges of hegemony must first be willing to accept the risk of full exposure to skittish global markets and capital flows.
Such a loss of faith or fear of loss quickly kills a nation's ability to float more debt on the global marketplace.
only nation-states that operate within the unforgiving global Empire of Finance can establish hegemony in that Empire, but only nations that become autonomous autarkies (i.e. self-sufficient and independent of global markets, resources, credit, capital, etc.) can thrive outside the global Empire of Finance.
If you want global hegemony, you must accept the dominance of global finance and pay tribute. If you don't want to submit to the empire, then you cannot be a global hegemon.
Being the hegemon within the collapsing system won't protect the hegemon from collapse. Every nation-state that has submitted to the Empire of Finance will collapse.