This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

(Image: Doug Chayka)

America Has No Reason to Be So Powerful

Stephen Wertheim

New York Times

The next president, whoever he is, will not determine the future of America’s role in the world. Joe Biden does not recognize there is a problem. President Trump has no answers.

Three decades into the “post-Cold War era,” still named for what preceded it, the United States possesses no widely shared, deeply felt purpose for vast global power. America’s armed dominance today occupies a position similar to that of liberal immigration, free trade or private health insurance a decade ago. Taken for granted by political elites, it is nonetheless ripe for challenge beneath the surface. (Read more)

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This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

Chinese soldier in Tiananmen Square

(Image: Kevin Frayer/Getty)

What Happens When China Leads the World

Michael Schuman

Atlantic

What kind of superpower will China be? That’s the question of the 21st century. According to American leaders such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, China will be a rapacious authoritarian nightmare, intent on destroying democracy itself. Beijing, needless to say, doesn’t quite agree.

Fortunately for those of us seeking answers to this question, China was a major power for long stretches of history, and the foreign policies and practices of its great dynasties can offer us insights into how modern Chinese leaders may wield their widening power now and in the future.

Of course, Chinese society today is not the same as it was 100 years ago—let alone 1,000 years. But I’ve long been studying imperial China’s foreign relations, and clear patterns of a consistent worldview emerge that are likely to shape Beijing’s perceptions and projection of power in the modern world. (Read more)

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