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The Avoidable War by former Australian PM Kevin Rudd

THE DEFINING ISSUE OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY is the rivalry between a rising China and a ruling United States. The impact of this rivalry is redefining the international order, of which the United States has been the principal architect and guardian. Readers who want an in- depth briefing on this challenge have a treat in store. Within the covers of this publication, longtime China watcher and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has provided an analytic snapshot that would normally only be available to the president or prime minister of a major nation. In substance, it would be the envy of the best professional intelligence agency.

Rudd's portrait of today's relationship between the established and emerging superpowers reflects a lifetime of studying China and the United States, informed by ongoing conversations with leaders in Beijing and Washington. Following in the footsteps of Lee Kuan Yew and Henry Kissinger, Rudd has established relationships with leaders in both governments and societies, allowing him to provide insights to each about the other and to offer candid views from an independent third-party perspective.

To this role, Rudd brings unique qualifications. A proud Australian, he is geographically Asian, on the one hand, and culturally Western, on the other. Having mastered Mandarin and English in his youth, he has been able to speak to both Chinese and Americans in the nuance of their native languages. For American policymakers, Australia occupies a special place as one of America's most reliable allies--indeed, it is the only nation that has fought alongside the United States in every one of its wars since World War I. Chinese respect Australia as a big country that is, for all of its Western characteristics, unquestionably anchored in Asia.

As a young Foreign Service Officer, Rudd was posted to China in the 1980s. From there, he rose to become his nation's Foreign Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and, ultimately, Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010 and again in 2013. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Rudd hosted Xi Jinping, then China's Vice President, for a 10-day visit to Australia in 2010. These experiences in "doing" have informed his analysis of international challenges, refining his sense of connections between domestic politics and foreign policy. They have also given him a sense of the special perspective that a head of state brings to that undertaking.

The year 2018 marked a sea change in Washington's conventional wisdom about China. In a major speech in October of that year that will be noted for years to come, Vice President Mike Pence summarized the Donald Trump administration's "emergent strategy" to address the China challenge. As Pence announced, the Trump administration is determined to fight back on all fronts in what it sees as a Cold War that China has been waging against the United States for the past quarter century without any U.S. response.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Aug 1st, 2022 at 05:18:03 PM EST

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