- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Quarterly Journal: International Security

Excerpt from “China’s Century” Why America’s Edge Will Endure”

| Spring 2012

International Security, Winter 2011/12

“Change is inevitable, but it is often incremental and non-linear.  In the coming decades, China may surge out of its unimpressive condition and close the gap with the United States.  Or China might continue to rise in place – steadily improving its capabilities in absolute terms while stagnating, or even declining, relative to the United States.  At the time of this writing, the United States remains mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and carries the largest debt in its history.  Moreover, the recent partisan stand-off over raising the debt ceiling suggests the American political system is losing the capacity for compromise on basic issues, let alone on large-scale problems.  It is impossible to say whether the current malaise is the beginning of the end of the unipolar era or simply an aberration.  The best that can be done is to make plans for the future on the basis of long-term trends.  And the trends suggest that the United States’ economic, technological, and military lead over China will be an enduring feature of international relations, not a passing moment in time, but a deeply embedded condition that will persist well into this century.”

The full-text of Beckley's article can be found here.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Beckley, Michael. Excerpt from “China’s Century” Why America’s Edge Will Endure”.” Quarterly Journal: International Security (Spring 2012).

The Author