What our country’s nineteenth century experience teaches us about China today

One of the central national security questions of our time is whether a rising China will be a threat to the United States and the American-led international order. The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told Congress recently that China is the main threat to the United States. The Economist has proclaimed that the U.S. and China are “bound to be rivals.” Niall Ferguson decries “the descent of the West” and power shifting to Asia. Martin Jacques’ latest book is titled When China Rules the World. And even level-headed liberal internationalist John Eikenberry considers the rise of China “one of the great dramas of the 21st century.”

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