spence141_JASON LEEAFP via Getty Images_USChina Jason Lee/AFP via Getty Images

How Great Powers Should Compete

Both China and the West espouse some version of multilateralism. But unfettered strategic competition, together with relentlessly negative rhetoric, precludes effective multilateralism, not least by disrupting trade and technology transfer – a crucial driver of development.

MILAN – At the recent G7 and NATO gatherings, China was singled out as a strategic competitor, a calculating trading partner, a technological and national-security threat, a human-rights violator, and a champion of authoritarianism globally. China denounced these characterizations, which its embassy in the United Kingdom called “lies, rumors, and baseless accusations.” The risks that such rhetoric poses should not be underestimated.