Foreign-policy observers have long debated: What if Beijing were handed a golden opportunity to strut on the world stage, absent a more powerful United States? Would it seize the opportunity, acting for the good of all and convincing the globe of its peaceful intentions? Or would it pursue a cramped vision of national interest? The world has inadvertently run that very experiment since January.
The combination of China’s early coronavirus recovery, the catastrophic health and economic situation in the United States, an administration whose “America First” instincts have turned the country inward, and a mostly every-country-for-itself response to the global pandemic has put China in the geopolitical driver’s seat. So far, Beijing has squandered the opportunity in dramatic fashion.
So far, Beijing has squandered the opportunity in dramatic fashion.
The news of Chinese diplomats burning documents in Houston represents just the latest, most dramatic development in Washington’s quickly deteriorating relationship with Beijing. The United States is not the only country with worsening ties. In the first half of 2020, Beijing has been ecumenical in its assertiveness: Britain, Japan, Australia, India, Canada, and others have been on the receiving end of China’s so-called wolf-warrior diplomacy.
Read the full article in The Atlantic.
More from CNAS
ReportsRising to the China Challenge
The United States and China are locked in strategic competition over the future of the Indo-Pacific—the most populous, dynamic, and consequential region in the world....
By Ely Ratner, Daniel Kliman, Susanna V. Blume, Rush Doshi, Chris Dougherty, Richard Fontaine, Peter Harrell, Martijn Rasser, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Eric Sayers, Daleep Singh, Paul Scharre, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Neil Bhatiya, Ashley Feng, Joshua Fitt, Megan Lamberth, Kristine Lee & Ainikki Riikonen
VideoRichard Fontaine and Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian Discuss America and the Post-Pandemic World
At the launch of the CNAS 2020 National Security Conference, CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine and Axios China Reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian discussed challenges and opportunities...
By Richard Fontaine & Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
PodcastChina’s Role Within the War, with Jude Blanchette and Dave Shullman
What role will China choose to play within the Russia-Ukrainian war? Beijing has notably refused to condemn Moscow for its military aggression, instead putting the blame on th...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, David Shullman & Jude Blanchette
PodcastThe CCP Century: Jacob Stokes On The Upcoming 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress
Jacob Stokes joins the pod to discuss the upcoming 20th CCP Congress, which has not garnered a lot of attention outside of China, but will serve as a crucial inflection point ...
By Jacob Stokes