Globe centered on Asia

Managing a World of Great Powers

Great-power competition – like that playing out today among a long-dominant US, a more active Russia, and a rising China – is nothing new. But its persistence does not – indeed, must not – prevent cooperation on major security issues, like the crisis in Syria.

MADRID – Today, great-power competition is a fact: The United States now competes with an increasingly active Russia and a rising China. The Middle East, the South China Sea, and Ukraine are just three theaters where this new reality is playing out.

Upon rereading former US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott’s book The Great Experiment, I was left with the impression that the seeds of some of the dynamics at play today were sown some time ago. The book describes a conversation that took place in December 2000 between President Bill Clinton and President-elect George W. Bush. Clinton says that, judging by Bush’s electoral campaign, the security issues that seemed to concern him most were Saddam Hussein and the construction of a large-scale antimissile defense system. “That’s absolutely right,” Bush responds.

These issues were put on hold when tragedy unexpectedly struck, in the form of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US, which brought a period of international cooperation during which solidarity against terrorism reigned. It was a time when we were all Americans, and when Bush described Putin as “very straightforward and trustworthy.”

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/y7gIbar;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.