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The Contest of the Century: The New Era of Competition with China--and How America Can Win Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 4, 2014
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After decades of dominance in world geopolitics, the U.S. is now facing a growing rivalry with China that will be the major factor in world politics in the coming decades. But that rivalry is not likely to be as intense and bitter as the Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union. Instead, it will be characterized by a constant balancing of power and shifting coalitions, according to Dyer, economics correspondent for the Financial Times. Dyer focuses on three phenomena: the rising Chinese challenge to U.S. power in military might in Asia, nationalist policies on the world stage, and the challenge to the U.S. dollar by the strengthening Chinese currency. Dyer places the current rise of China in the broader context of changes in the Chinese Communist Party, including reform of its image since the Tiananmen Square massacre and more expansive economic, if not political, policies. Finally, Dyer addresses fatalistic views of the rise of China, arguing that the U.S. can continue to exert enormous influence if it stabilizes its own economy and neither confronts China nor isolates itself. A thoughtful, insightful look at changing geopolitics. --Vanessa Bush
"Fascinating . . . Stimulating, erudite, and deeply researched, perfectly timed to explain the unfolding conflicts in East Asia."
—Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books
"Forward-looking . . . enjoy and learn from this engagingly written tour d’horizon of important issues . . . Dyer opens with a clear statement of his thesis, a straightforward one with good prospects for having a long shelf life. China’s rise will continue. . . Eminently sensible . . . A fluent writer who knows how to make the most of lively set pieces."
—Jeffrey Wasserstrom, The Financial Times
"Stellar . . . Mr. Dyer is optimistic that the U.S. will "win": that is, "retain its role at the center of international affairs." But he doesn't subscribe to unwarranted zero-sum logic."
—Ali Wyne, The Wall Street Journal
"Assessing China's growing rivalry with the U. S., the author, a former Beijing bureau chief for the Finanical Times, does not subscribe to the idea of a "linear transfer" of power from the U. S. to China . . . he thinks that the contest with China will come to define U. S. foreign policy, and that America's interests are best served by fiscal and military restraint."
—The New Yorker
“[L]ucid, well-argued…With telling anecdotes and reported conversations, [Dyer] shows how China's foreign policy has misfired in east Asia, ‘doing a lot of America's diplomatic work for it’ by frightening its neighbours. And he traces the limits of China's expansion into the Indian Ocean and its vulnerabilities given its dependency on imports of raw materials. But his is far from an America-triumphant story. China is not going to go away as a major global player, and Dyer concludes that, over time, it and the US will have to find a way to live together, particularly in the ocean between them.”
—The Guardian (UK)
“[P]rovide[s] a corrective to the lately fashionable gloom-and-doom analysis...Even now, there is reluctance to identify China as a competitor, perhaps born of difficulty conceiving of this possibility. Unlike our last major competitor, the Soviet Union, China is also a major trade partner, and China continues to represent a market opportunity in the eyes of many Western business interests. So we are tempted to jump from denial to defeatism. Not Dyer…[I]mpressive.”
—The National Interest
“[D]ismisses the idea that a transition of global leadership from a declining America to a rising China is predetermined. [Dyer] makes his case by assessing the military, political, and economic dimensions of the competition, including the many dilemmas and challenges that China faces in its quest for primacy... convincingly argues that China has many limitations and obstacles to its aspirations as a great power.”
—The Weekly Standard
"Well researched, with detailed information, interviews and evidence . . . Those who want a comprehensive treatment of an important issue that will shape much of our world for the next 20 years should read this book."
—Mark O'Neill, South China Morning Post
"Original ideas and illuminating insights . . . a simple but persuasive explanation for why a geopolitical contest between the United States and China will dominate the new century . . . a very timely book that has a clear and sophisticated argument. For the cottage industry of books on contemporary Chinese foreign relations, The Contest of the Century has definitely set a new and more demanding standard."
—Minxin Pei, San Francisco Gate
“[I]lluminating . . . Dyer’s lively prose, vivid reportage, and long experience reporting on the country really shine, making this one of the most lucid, readable, and insightful of the current rise-of-China studies.”
“The Contest of the Century is a perfect antidote to all the noise that passes for journalism these days. Here is a seasoned foreign correspondent calmly taking the measure of Asia's pivotal giant.”
—Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Revenge of Geography
“A colorful and compelling read that offers three crucial insights. America’s relationship with China will define the 21st century. Their relations will be far more subtle and dynamic than post-Cold War conventional wisdom suggests. There is nothing inevitable about either China’s rise or the outcome of the two countries’ competition. This is a fascinating story from an experienced journalist who knows how to tell it.”
—Ian Bremmer, author of Every Nation for Itself
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Even if you don't think China is going to do so, they are not going anywhere, nor are they going to lose their clout. This book explains how China is going to remain a power in two categories: militarily and economically. This political aspects are attached to these two fore mentioned categories.
This book could not have come out at a better time, because as you read the descriptions of what China is doing, you will also read about them in your newspaper, for these are present day headlines.
Militarily, China is building up its Navy, not its Army, and they lay claim to all of the South China Sea, where the real battle is taking place. They also want to control the Western Pacific and the Indian Oceans, for that is where their trade and commerce is mostly taking place, and they do not want anyone to threaten their trade routes, especially the U.S. It must not be forgotten that China has a history of oppression and humiliation, and they want to reassert themselves in today's global economy.
China may not want to be a global power as such, but they do want control of their own backyard, which is natural for any strong nation. Trouble for them is, other eastern countries are also rising, among them Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, and they want to control their local waters off of their coasts. There are a lot of resources in these waters: fish, oil, minerals, to name a few, and these nations want them as badly as China. China, however, is laying claim to all the South China Sea, building ports and bases on formerly empty islands such as the Spratleys and Parcels, and other countries are resenting it. They are turning to the U.S., and inviting U.S. Navy ships to dock in their ports and patrol their waterways.
One thing must be made clear on this. China does not want the U.S. Navy in these seas, but the other rising countries do not want to be client states of the U.S., either. They mostly want to manage this on their own, but have the U.S. help whenever they feel they need them. This is a fine line the U.S. has to tread.
Economically, China has many foreign companies set up in their country, and is exporting goods worldwide, bringing in immense wealth. They are also going into other countries for mineral and oil rights, and in return, they are building up and modernizing the infrastructure of these countries. With a policy like that, it is hard for these countries not to resist, and if this keeps up, China will not only have the world's largest economy, but other countries will choose China over the U.S. and their top preferred customer, especially in Africa and Latin America.
In spite of this, the road here will not be easy either, because no country wants to become a colony of China, not do they want to be used by them. Even though they want to remain politically neutral, they are being forced to take sides in some issues. China, here, is heading in the direction of the U.S. One thing China does have over the U.S. is that China will finance projects these countries want to have, not what the U.S. (or China) wants them to have.
Also, China gives out too many loans to easily, and many of these loans may be defaulted, upsetting their economy. The Chinese Renminbi may not replace the dollar, mainly because the Renminbi is controlled by the Chinese government, and many of their industries are state own, socialistic. If the Renminbi is to replace the dollar, they must release their currency on the international market and let it fluctuate in value. In other words, their economy, and possibly its government, must change. The Chinese government does not want to do this, and this is one fault that could hold them back.
The U.S. computer system is being hacked by China, which is where China gets most of its ideas for industry. They steal them.
This book does point out advantages that the U.S. has. Even though we borrow money from China, China is forced to use their surpluses to buy even more U.S. bonds. They have to, there is no other place to put it, and our system is still safe. If there is a financial collapse in either China or the U.S., both will go down, and they know that.
Our competition with China is not the Cold War, and we must not treat it as such. It is a new competition, with a new set of rules, and there is a good chance that we might not win this one. There is a possibility that we can, if we are willing to change with the rest of the world. We need to cooperate with China more, and include them in our economic groups, not exclude them. We can even use this to our advantage.
What the U.S. really needs to do, if it is to stay on top, is not hinder China, but support and work with it. Put Chinese personnel on the boards of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Let the Chinese come into the U.S., buy land, and spruce out dilapidate areas here in the U.S. They are doing that in Toledo, Ohio and they can do this is other, run down cities. Let them come in and invest in this country. China is investing in the world, and we need to be a big part of it, not be left out.
Above all, we need to get our our house in order. We need to rebuild our infrastructure and educational system. We also need to accept that this is a multi-polar world, not a uni-polar world with us in charge only. We need to change with the world, and co-operate with other countries, especially China, and we need to respect the wishes of other countries. This way, the U.S. will gain more than if we did trying to hang on to everything, which we can no longer do.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is very insightful and objective.