Celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, October, 2019
Xu Yu Xinhua / Redux

Competition between the United States and China is unavoidable. China’s trade practices have cost the United States millions of jobs, and its economic rise has disrupted the international system that underpins American security and prosperity. Beijing now openly aims to surpass the United States as the global technological hegemon, and its defense budget could exceed that of the United States as soon as the 2030s. China’s rise has touched off an intense rivalry with the United States over everything from trade and cyber-espionage to influence within international bodies, such as the United Nations. Demographic and environmental headwinds will likely slow China’s economic growth—but they won’t keep the Middle Kingdom from presenting a formidable threat to American interests for decades to come.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has embraced rivalry with China, waging a trade war against Beijing and ratcheting up defense spending

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  • TARUN CHHABRA is a Fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution and served as Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Council during the Obama administration.
  • SCOTT MOORE is Director of the Penn Global China Program and a lecturer in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • DOMINIC TIERNEY is Associate Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College and a Templeton Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
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