A staff member walks past U.S. and Chinese flags placed for a joint news conference by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 2018.
Jason Lee / REUTERS

This November, we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of what was called “the war to end all wars” between the great powers of the early twentieth century. Of course, the war to end all wars turned out to be anything but. Because of a catastrophic series of unintended consequences, more wars followed in its wake, and the geopolitical map of the world has been redrawn three times since then.

When future generations look back on 2018, it could well be as the year in which the relationship between the two great powers of the twenty-first century—the United States and China—shifted from peaceful coexistence to a new form of confrontation, although its final trajectory remains far from certain.

In a speech at the Hudson Institute earlier this month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accused China of unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft, increasing military aggression, and

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  • KEVIN RUDD is former Prime Minister of Australia and President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. This article is adapted from an address the author delivered earlier this month at the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis.
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