If China can achieve the kind of development it has while keeping its people subdued, it offers the world another model than US “exceptionalism,” which often isn’t all that exceptional. From Richard Hanania at palladiummag.com:
Across the political spectrum, there is widespread agreement that America must get serious about the threat posed by China. As the Trump administration comes to a close, the State Department has just released a document called ‘The Elements of the China Challenge’. A distillation of conventional wisdom among national security experts and government officials, it argues that the U.S. needs a concerted effort to push back against Beijing. On its first page, the document tells us that “the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has triggered a new era of great-power competition.” If there was a major intellectual thread running through Trump’s foreign policy, or at least that of the people he appointed, it was that confronting China was the national security issue of our time. America during the Trump era was single-minded in its focus on turning up the pressure on Beijing, including unprecedented support for Taiwan, sending ships more often through the South China Sea, and attempting to stop the spread of the telecom giant Huawei.
The idea of the China threat will not end with the Trump administration. Michèle Flournoy, once thought to be the frontrunner to become Biden’s Secretary of Defense, argued in Foreign Affairs that the U.S. has not been steadfast enough in its military commitments in East Asia. Sometimes, great power competition is presented as an imperative of history; in the formulation of Graham Allison, a former Pentagon official and the current professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the two powers are involved in a “Thucydides Trap.” Looking at the last 500 years of world history, Allison believes that when the ambitions of a rising power conflict with those of an established power, war becomes likely.