The defining geopolitical contest of the twenty-first century is between China and the US. But is it avoidable? And if it happens, is the outcome already inevitable?
These are the questions central to the distinguished Singaporean academic and diplomat, Kishore Mahbubahi in his book Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy.
“A seasoned Singaporean diplomat’s latest book injects much-needed realpolitik back into the U.S.-China relationship and asks painful questions about the state of America”, writes The National Interest.
China and America are world powers without serious rivals.
They eye each other warily across the Pacific; they communicate poorly; there seems little natural empathy.
A massive geopolitical contest has begun.
America prizes freedom; China values freedom from chaos.
America values strategic decisiveness; China values patience.
America is becoming society of lasting inequality; China a meritocracy.
America has abandoned multilateralism; China welcomes it.
Kishore Mahbubani is a Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore (NUS). Mr. Mahbubani has been privileged to enjoy two distinct careers, in diplomacy (1971 to 2004) and in academia (2004 to 2019). He is a prolific writer who has spoken in many corners of the world.
The National Interest: Kishore Mahbubani, a diplomat and scholar with unrivalled access to policymakers in Beijing and Washington, has written the definitive guide to the deep fault lines in the relationship, a clear-eyed assessment of the risk of any confrontation, and a bracingly honest appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses, and superpower eccentricities, of the US and China.
Mahbubani’s latest book, Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy, published in 2020, is a crucial guide to understanding the modern U.S.-China relationship and why this relationship has been marred by such hostility in recent times.
This is also not a book written by a politician to pander to their supporters or voting base. Instead, taking advantage of over three decades of hands-on diplomatic experience, Mahbubani has put forth an unrelentingly realist and highly authoritative book on the twenty-first century’s greatest geopolitical contest.
In nine chapters, Mahbubani’s diplomatic skill shines as he systematically explores the U.S.-China relationship while carefully balancing both sides of this sensitive story, but also lambasts American exceptionalism in the tradition of Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt, author of The Myth of American Exceptionalism, labeling it as one of the significant ideological barriers preventing the United States from seeing reason.