Is China trying to displace U.S. as top global power?

October 20, 2020

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On October 20, David Firestein took part in a panel discussion hosted by the South China Morning Post, entitled “SCMP Conversations: US Election 2020” where he delivered remarks pertaining to China’s emerging global role and shared concerns about the trade war between the two countries, which has resulted in a larger U.S. trade deficit with China and impacted manufacturing jobs in America.

Two prominent China analysts debated on Tuesday whether Beijing is attempting to supplant Washington as the foremost global power.

Speaking during a South China Morning Post webinar about the state of multilateralism under US President Donald Trump, Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow with Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution, countered an assertion by David Firestein, CEO of the George HW Bush Foundation for US-China Relations, that Beijing was primarily seeking “a place at the table that is commensurate with its heft.”

The prevailing assumption “both in the executive and legislative branches that China seeks to displace the United States and supplant the United States as the world’s only superpower … is a misreading of China’s strategic intentions,” said Firestein, who spent 18 years as a foreign service officer in the US Department of State.

“I think China wants to do a lot of things, and I think a lot of the things that China wants to do are very problematic for the United States, but I don’t think that China aspires to be the United States 2.0, the so-called world’s policeman, [with] boots on the ground in 100 countries,” he said.

For more information about the webinar series, visit: SCMP Conversations: US Election 2020.