SOAS University of London, 15 September 2021
20:00-21:00 BST / 03:00-04:00 CST (find your local time here)
Clearly, the dominant paradigm for how the West should deal with China has shifted from strategic engagement to strategic competition, and perhaps even to concerted attempts to constrain China’s further development and global influence. While there are areas where the West is correct to rebut China’s practices and policies, there are two main reasons why disengagement is not in the interests of Western nations. First, China is not going to disappear; it is a reality that we have to find a way to coexist with. Foreign business is not going to disengage from the lucrative China market, no matter how much pressure home governments might place on it. In the financial sector, the US-China engagement amounts to some $5 trillion alone.
The second reason is that for Western nations to meet their own crucial policy objectives, they need to find ways to cooperate with China. The relationships are like a multi-dimensional chessboard where one nation may dominate in one field, but no nation can dominate in all. Competition may be suitable in some realms, but cooperation is essential to meet key global priorities. This is especially true as we come out of the post-pandemic world. Who will provide the necessary global public goods?
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