Moscow has climbed to 18th in this year’s Index. Despite price rises...
2021-04-21 2 ENGLISH REPORTS
With the arrival of the Joe Biden administration and the evolution— once again—of a U.S. grand strategy under a new president, a familiar question emerges: after Donald Trump, what idea (or set of ideas) will drive national security policy? The Trump administration replaced the “global war on terror” with “great power competition” as the organizing principle of U.S. national security policy and framed U.S.-China relations as a “strategic competition.”1 Beijing assumed such centrality because Trump largely discounted threats from Moscow and because Beijing’s external activism and use of coercion grew in scope and frequency. The Biden administration’s early statements and actions indicate it has accepted the frame of strategic competition with China— “extreme competition” in the words of President Biden—but that the policy expressions within this framework will difer substantially from its predecessors.
The trajectory of U.S. strategy and policy toward China is perhaps the most salient issue for the geopolitics of East Asia in the coming decades. This region, more than any other, not only is the crucible for U.S.-China competition but will also be the recipient of the resulting dynamics. U.S.-China relations thus will have a defning infuence on the distribution of power across East Asia at the very time that the region becomes the center of global politics, as Europe was during the Cold War. It has become a truism to note that no one in Asia wants to choose between Washington and Beijing and no one wants Beijing to dominate. Asia’s geopolitical reality will be the space between these views. Yet the region’s lingering questions about American commitment and capability will muddle the choices for Asian policymakers, as do projections of China’s growth and infuence.
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