What is the end game of US-China competition? (Andy Zelleke)

Author: Andy Zelleke | The Diplomat | Published 3 November 2020

Something refreshing in the plethora of articles exploring the different dimensions of the current US-China tensions, Harvard Business School‘s Andy Zelleke asks, “What ‘yesable proposition,’ fundamentally, is the United States offering China?”

To avert the massive costs and foregone opportunities of a new cold war — let alone a catastrophic hot war — is there a plausible vision for the future that could keep both Washington and Beijing happy? Or that would at least minimally satisfy each, in light of their alternatives? A stable equilibrium that the two rivals could sign onto, expressly or tacitly?

What might be the terms of a plausible U.S.-China equilibrium state? What follows are a few key elements of a potential modus vivendi, incorporating the United States’ likely insistence on territorial containment of China and the preservation of a favorable balance of power (military, geopolitical, economic, and technological) via coalition.

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