Managed Competition: A U.S. Grand Strategy for a Multipolar World – Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

In a world in which power is shifting from the West toward the East and Global South, the United States is enmeshed in a proxy war with the world’s largest nuclear power, and Americans face mounting political and social challenges at home, a dangerous gap has emerged between Washington’s global ambitions and its ability to achieve them. The United States had a large margin for strategic error during its era of post-Cold War global primacy, when it faced no significant great power challengers. It has no such cushion today. America needs to rethink its grand strategy. This should involve the following elements:

• Recognize that attempts to isolate and weaken Russia and China are likely to fail. The combination of Russia’s vast natural resources and China’s economic heft and centrality to global commerce present a challenge far different from what we faced during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union posed a military and ideological threat but was economically feeble. 

 Avoid promoting regime change or otherwise undermining political and economic stability in Russia and China, which could have serious blowback effects in the United States. The United States’ economic health is to a great degree dependent on that of China. Information technology has made us vulnerable to external subversion at a time when American society is dangerously divided and mistrustful of key institutions. 

Managed Competition: A U.S. Grand Strategy for a Multipolar World – Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft