For all the acrimony in Washington today, the city’s foreign policy establishment is settling on a rare bipartisan consensus: that the world has entered a new era of great-power competition. The struggle between the United States and other great powers, the emerging consensus holds, will fundamentally shape geopolitics going forward, for good or ill. And more than terrorism, climate change, or nuclear weapons in Iran or North Korea, the threats posed by these other great powers—namely, China and Russia—will consume U.S. foreign-policy makers in the decades ahead.
President Donald Trump’s administration has been a prime mover in setting this new agenda. Its National Security Strategy, published in December 2017, portrayed China and Russia as seeking “to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests,” with Beijing displacing the United States in the Indo-Pacific and Russia establishing spheres of influence near its borders. When he presented the new National Defense Strategy in January 2018, then Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that “Great Power competition—not terrorism—is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said much the same in April, when he told NATO foreign ministers that the world had entered “a new era of great-power competition,” adding separately that “China wants to be the dominant economic and military power of the world, spreading its authoritarian vision for society and its corrupt practices worldwide.” GPC has become the Pentagon’s newest acronym.
Read the full article in Foreign Affairs.
More from CNAS
CommentaryThe United States Can’t Afford the Brutal Price of Chinese Solar Panels
Buying Chinese solar panels to reduce emissions is like using gas to put out a fire....
By Henry Wu
CommentaryIsrael’s growing ties to China are testing its relationship with the U.S.
As a sovereign, high-tech, democratic powerhouse, Israel has a fundamental stake in the contest between China and the free world....
By David Feith
VideoBank of Russia Hiked Rates
Elina Ribakova discusses how the spike in Covid-19 cases and new restrictions could affect the Russian economy with Bloomberg's Alix Steel and Guy Johnson. Watch the full vid...
By Elina Ribakova
CommentaryBipartisan support for taking on China goes only so far
The embrace of great-power competition comes with a critical caveat. Both parties’ enthusiasm for the concept abruptly ends when it requires doing something politically hard....
By Vance Serchuk