Special Forum

The 2017 US National Security Strategy describes a vision of the international arena defined by a return of great power competition, with China as the leading rival of the United States seeking to challenge the liberal international order.1  As Robert Kagan recently argued, authoritarianism has reemerged as “a profound ideological, as well as strategic, challenge.”2  Ideology, or a collection of normative beliefs and the practices that approximate the realization of these about the way domestic socio-economic and political life should be organized, as well as a corresponding vision of the way international affairs should ideally be structured and conducted, is clearly important to understanding the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) pose to the United States and the liberal international order.  It reflects the lessons that individuals (as the bearers of belief systems) and national leaderships (as the guiding hands at the helm of the ship of state) hold about their nations’ history, identity, role in the world, and vision for the future.  At the same time as it has this fundamental role, ideological constructs are often also deliberately deployed to achieve specific goals. Thus, stating that the US is a liberal democracy underpinned by the rule of law, and China is a neo-totalitarian dictatorship where the law is merely a tool of governance is both accurate on some level as a description and also a statement that carries political meaning and impact.  Such descriptions certainly oversimplify to some extent and cannot capture the totality of lived experience in either country, and both nations diverge (sometimes substantially) from such values in practice, but for the purposes of this discussion they can serve as useful characterizations.  What role then does ideology and ideological competition play between the world’s most powerful liberal democracy and the world’s most technologically-sophisticated communist dictatorship?  And how might the US leverage its own identity and ideals to compete and win such a great power competition with China?3

Read full article at www.theasanforum.org.
facebook share twitter share google+ share