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Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy

Kishore Mahbubani

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PublicAffairs,U.S.
01 July 2020
History; Political science & theory; Geopolitics
The twenty-first century's great geopolitical contest has begun. A major trade war has broken out. American and Chinese naval vessels are having close encounters in the South China Sea. American congressmen and businessmen are cheering their government's public attacks on China. China is standing firm and resolute. Who will win this contest? What is at stake? And who will judge the winner?

In this book, Kishore Mahbubani evaluates the two sides, and shows how China has been thinking on a global scale, launching ambitious initiatives under some of the world's most pragmatic and competent leaders. Most critically, the Chinese people have regained their cultural confidence. Chinese society is now infused with innovation and dynamism. Meanwhile, America has seen the power of its economic model badly damaged by the 2008 financial crisis. To many it is no longer the indispensable nation but an awkward interloper.

The global rise of China and the relative strategic decline of the US presents a political challenge that the US has never faced before. American policymakers must shake off their complacency and launch a major strategic reboot of both domestic and foreign policies that have weakened the nation's social foundations and global standing. Otherwise, the start-up nation, barely two hundred and fifty years old, with only a quarter of China's population, cannot expect to defeat the world's oldest continuous civilization. With his trademark candor, Mahbubani delivers impartial and incisive insights on the strategic stakes and mistakes in this new great game.
By:   Kishore Mahbubani
Imprint:   PublicAffairs,U.S.
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 238mm,  Width: 160mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   520g
ISBN:   9781541768130
ISBN 10:   1541768132
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   01 July 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Kishore Mahbubani, a Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, has had two distinguished careers, 33 years in diplomacy and 15 years in academia, when he was the Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He lived in New York for over ten years as Singapore's Ambassador to the UN. In 2019, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is globally recognised as Asia's leading public intellectual. He has authored several books, among them Can Asians Think?, Has the West Lost It? The New Asian Hemisphere, The Great Convergence, and Beyond the Age of Innocence (the last 3 all PublicAffairs). He travels extensively and lives in Singapore.

Reviews for Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy

We need to know how China thinks and sees itself in the world, whether we see them as our friends, our adversary, or somewhere in between. There is no better guide for westerners to the Asian world view than Kishore Mahbubani. He shares the wealth of his knowledge and experience in this vitally important book. --Lawrence H. Summers is a former President of Harvard University and a former Treasury Secretary Kishore Mahbubani's Has China Won? is a serious contribution: reviewing strategic wisdom from Kennan to Kennedy, asking provocative, even heretical questions about China's rise, and counseling a world safe for diversity. --Graham Allison, author of Destined For War: Can America and China escape Thucydides's Trap, is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard University Kishore Mahbubani has long extolled what the West taught the rest of the world and how many parts of Asia, including China and India, have benefitted from what they have learnt. Yet no one seems more surprised at what China has learned from the US than the United States itself, which now sees China purely as a rival that threatens its global primacy. Mahbubani asks pointedly: what did China do to deserve this? He has gone further than ever before to challenge his readers to think of the consequences if the rivalry is allowed to grow unchecked. --Wang Gungwu, University Professor at the National University of Singapore Kishore Mahbubani has deep experience in diplomacy and international relations, an highly-developed relatively rare ability to think strategically in complex settings, and a unique capacity (by virtue of his life story) to connect with and respect multiple civilizations and their values. These skills, insights and experience are on full display in his new book, Has China Won? A provocative title, but a little misleading. In fact, he analyzes in an even-handed way the scenarios that could play out in the emerging rivalry between China and the USA. His assessment of the biases and mistakes on both sides is both brutal and crucial. It will take most readers out of their comfort zone, and that is part of its strength. There are many insights, but at the core, is the proposition that the outcome over time will depend mainly on the capacity (or its absence) on both sides, to understand and respect deep differences in civilizations that are built over hundreds and even thousands of years, ones that lead to varying governance structures and relative values with respect to individual freedoms, social and political stability and more; in other words seeing the worlds through the eyes of the other. That said there is a wide range of common interests on which to build. Notwithstanding the title of the book, it is fairly clear by the end that in Mahbubani's view, either everyone (not just China and the USA) wins or no one wins. It is an important book at a crucial moment in history. --Michael Spence was conferred the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 Kishore Mahbubani has a remarkable ability to see through the complacent orthodoxies that lead great nations astray. Has China Won? identifies the myths and mistakes that are undermining Chinese and American relations with each other and the world, and it offers both countries candid and clear-eyed advice for how to do better in the future. Leaders in Beijing and Washington will not like everything he has to say, but they would do well to pay close attention to it anyway. And so should you. --Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University China and the US are locked in a struggle for international primacy, and the result of this contest will shape the world order for generations to come. Kishore captures the complexity of this battle with the measured nuance and clear insight it deserves. Not to be missed. --Ian Bremmer, author of Us vs. Them and president, Eurasia Group Has China Won? is a provocative title. In his latest book, Kishore Mahbubani explains why this is in fact the wrong question to ask. Despite rising resentment and mutual misperception, both the United States and China ultimately know that war between them will be cataclysmic. In this revelatory new book, Mahbubani appeals to the deeper rationality of both great powers, arguing that the greatest challenge of our times will be to answer the question of whether humanity has won. Both American and Chinese readers will benefit from Mahbubani's wisdom. --George Yeo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Singapore Praise for Has China Won? Americans should heed Kishore Mahbubani's astringent advice, unwelcome as it may be: Cast away illusions about eternal U.S. primacy and exceptional virtue protected by high walls. Instead, Washington should adopt a long-term international strategy anchored in balance and cooperation; reestablish sound internal leadership and governance; win friends abroad instead of driving allies away; avoid over-commitment; and express moral modesty. Military power is not the most important weapon in the Arsenal of Democracy. --David M. Lampton: Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute, Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University; Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins-SAIS.


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