Chinese Aircraft Carrier Liaoning
As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, it has opened our eyes to China’s rapidly expanding role in the international order and global economy. Beijing’s outsize role in the World Health Organization has come under attack, as has the muscular diplomacy used by China’s foreign ministry in responding to criticism.
Three decades of American global hegemony after the Cold War led to complacency about the growing role of China. But changes to the U.S. National Defense Strategy in 2018 signaled a new willingness to confront China and Russia, shifting the focus from the Global War on Terror.
China’s current role has historic parallels that may be closer to home than is often realized. At the start of the 20th century, the United States had emerged from a civil war and a period of rapid industrialization to become a global power almost overnight. By 1920, the country was…
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