An Asian security expert at the US Army War College, Professor David Lai examined the US-China power transition in a presentation at a Johns Hopkins seminar.
Lai sees three options:
- Deadly contest—which is unlikely since both sides have too much to lose
- Peaceful transition—which is also unlikely due to political challenges in China
- Uneasy accommodation—the most likely option, involving countless minor political conflicts, with a risk of escalation if both sides aren’t careful
Lai advises US leaders to think of the conflict in terms of the game Go, where subtle positional gains bring victory, not chess, where the strongest pieces usually win.
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