The defining geopolitical contest of the twenty-first century is between China and the US. But is it avoidable? And if it happens, is the outcome already inevitable?
China and America are world powers without serious rivals. They eye each other warily across the Pacific; they communicate poorly; there seems little natural empathy. A massive geopolitical contest has begun.
America prizes freedom; China values freedom from chaos.
America values strategic decisiveness; China values patience.
America is becoming society of lasting inequality; China a meritocracy.
America has abandoned multilateralism; China welcomes it.
Kishore Mahbubani, a diplomat and scholar with unrivalled access to policymakers in Beijing and Washington, has written the definitive guide to the deep fault lines in the relationship, a clear-eyed assessment of the risk of any confrontation, and a bracingly honest appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses, and superpower eccentricities, of the US and China.
Kishore Mahbubani is a veteran diplomat, student of philosophy, and celebrated author, he is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute. His careers in diplomacy and academia have taken him from Singapore’s Chargé d’Affaires to wartime Cambodia (1973-74) and President of the UN Security Council (Jan 2001, May 2002) to the Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (2004-2017).
Mahbubani writes and speaks prolifically on the rise of Asia, geopolitics and global governance. His seven books (including his latest Has the West Lost It?) and articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times and Foreign Affairs have earned him global recognition as “the muse of the Asian century.” Since his 1998 debut Can Asians Think?, he has challenged conventional wisdom on the big questions of our time.
Mahbubani has been listed among the world’s top 100 public intellectuals by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines and among the Top 50 individuals who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism by the Financial Times. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October 2019. More information can be found on http://www.mahbubani.net.