Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, January 2020
Xosé Bouzas / Hans Lucas / Redux

In the post–Cold War era, the Western world has suffered no shortage of grand theories of history and international relations. The settings and actors may change, but the global geopolitical drama goes on: variants of realism and liberalism compete to explain and predict state behavior, scholars debate whether the world is witnessing the end of history, a clash of civilizations, or something else entirely. And it is no surprise that the question that now attracts more analytical attention than any other is the rise of China under President Xi Jinping and the challenge it presents to American power. In

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