Asia & the Pacific

17 Items

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- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Facing the China Challenge with Policy Memos to Leadership

| Spring 2020

Since publishing his book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, three years ago, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Graham Allison has been searching for ways to escape the dangerous dynamic that could lead Washington and Beijing to stumble into a catastrophic conflict neither side wants. Convinced that there is no monopoly of strategic wisdom on either side of the Pacific, Allison decided to take a classroom assignment on crafting a grand strategy to meet the China challenge and open it to the public as a case competition. His office received dozens of valuable submissions from across the world.

Photo of results showing that a computer has defeated a team of human doctors in the CHAIN Cup at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, Saturday, June 30, 2018.

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Is China Beating America to AI Supremacy?

| Dec. 22, 2019

OVER THE past year, writes I have been collaborating with a prominent leader in the technology industry to combine his decades of experience advancing frontier technologies, on the one hand, and my decades of experience in national security decisionmaking, on the other. Together, we have been trying to understand the national security implications of China’s great leap forward in artificial intelligence (AI). Our purpose in this essay is to sound an alarm over China’s rapid progress and the current prospect of it overtaking the United States in applying AI in the decade ahead; to explain why AI is for the autocracy led by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter, the “Party”) an existential priority; to identify key unanswered questions about the dangers of an unconstrained AI arms race between the two digital superpowers; and to point to the reasons why we believe that this is a race the United States can and must win.

Photo of Presidents Trump and Xi during meeting on sidelines of G20, June 29, 2019.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Could the United States and China Be Rivalry Partners?

| July 07, 2019

The strategic rationale for the relationship between the United States and China has collapsed. After a quarter century in which American presidents sought to integrate a rapidly developing China into the American-led international order, the United States has concluded that what it thought was a “strategic partner” is in fact a “strategic adversary.” After decades of keeping its head down following Deng Xiaoping’s injunction to “hide and bide,” Xi Jinping’s China has discarded that cloak and become increasingly assertive.

The American flag flies alongside a Chinese national symbol as President Donald Trump is welcomed to a summit in Beijing, November 9, 2017.

Andy Wong (AP)

Speech - Asia Society Policy Institute

The Avoidable War: Reflections on U.S.-China Relations and the End of Strategic Engagement

| January 2019

The Asia Policy Institute recently released a collection of speeches by its President and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd about the rivalry between China and the United States. In his forward to the collection, Graham Allison explains why relations between the two countries have become "the defining issue of international relations in the 21st century", and why Kevin Rudd is uniquely equipped to provide insight into them. Read on for both the full introduction and the full report.

"Within the covers of this book, long-time China watcher and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has provided an analytic snapshot that would normally only be available to the president or prime minister of a major nation. In substance, it would be the envy of the best professional intelligence agency."

Russian and Chinese flags sit side by side on a table in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, on June 8, 2018.

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Analysis & Opinions - The Wall Street Journal

A Sino-Russian Entente Again Threatens America

| Jan. 29, 2019

Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski warned in 1997 that the greatest long-term threat to U.S. interests would be a “grand coalition” of China and Russia, “united not by ideology but by complementary grievances.” This coalition “would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time China would likely be the leader and Russia the follower.”

The Chinese flag displayed at the Russian booth of import fair.

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

China and Russia: A Strategic Alliance in the Making

| Dec. 14, 2018

THE YEAR before he died in 2017, one of America’s leading twentieth-century strategic thinkers, Zbigniew Brzezinski, sounded an alarm. In analyzing threats to American security, “the most dangerous scenario,” he warned, would be “a grand coalition of China and Russia…united not by ideology but by complementary grievances.” This coalition “would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time China would likely be the leader and Russia the follower.”

In this combination of photos, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping speak during a business event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

AP Photo/Andy Wong

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How Trump Could Stumble From a Trade War Into a Real War with China

| Apr. 20, 2018

Having just returned from a week in China in which I had the opportunity to talk directly—and listen!—to all of its leaders beneath President Xi Jinping, I came away even more worried about the future of the relationship between the United States and China than I had been. While almost every day brings another tweet or announcement in the war of words, I see the current “phony war” as the proverbial calm before the storm. In one line, my bet is that things will soon get worse before they get worse.

An American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem and flags during a welcome ceremony for visiting U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. November 9, 2017 (Andy Wong/Associated Press).

Andy Wong/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - Cato Unbound

The Future of U.S.-China Relations Begins at Home

| Mar. 12, 2018

Kori Schake’s essay (and the book from which it is adapted) provides a serious, penetrating, and provocative invitation to debate the overriding geostrategic challenge of our time: what to do about the rise of China. Safe Passage is an outstanding example of the sort of work we champion at the Harvard Belfer Center’s Applied History Project. It illuminates current challenges by careful analysis of the historical record. And the case she examines in which the United States rose to rival and eventually surpass the British global hegemony is among the most instructive of the 16 cases in the Harvard Thucydides’ Trap case file for policymakers seeking to cope with the current U.S.-China competition.