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Stanley Foundation: Keeping Tabs on China's Rise

Authors: Thomas Barnett, and Gary J. Schmitt
May 1, 2007



With almost clockwork precision, every 50 years
for the past two centuries China has appeared to
be at a "hinge" moment in its history. Once again
that is the case, as China stands poised at the verge
of a return to great power status. By all appearances
it is already, or soon will be, a dominant
player in East Asia -- whether on economic, political,
or security issues -- and is playing an increasing
global role. And, in decades ahead, China could
even present a challenge to US primacy.
Indeed, the rise of China is the principal strategic
fact of the 21st century. Where China goes -- and
how fast -- will have a significant, if not defining,
impact on the shape of the international system
and will exert considerable influence on the
future of US security and prosperity. The rise of
China presents challenges to the United States
across several dimensions of power (military,
diplomatic, political, economic, even cultural),
and there is virtually no issue critical to America's
future -- global economic growth, nonproliferation,
controlling potential pandemics, climate
change, energy security -- that is not affected by
the US-China relationship.

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