Skip navigation

September 2019 AFWO Study Group Meeting

September 9, 2019

In September, the Kissinger Center’s America and the Future of World Order Study Group convened its second meeting to discuss a subject of increasing prominence in debates over the direction of U.S. foreign policy and the evolution of global affairs: the relationship between a rising China and the United States amid resurgent great power competition.
Against the backdrop of the trade war, an intensifying military activity in the Western Pacific, and the protests over extradition laws in Hong Kong, participants engaged in wide-ranging dialogue that began with comments by Dr. Henry Kissinger on China’s historical trajectory from the opening forward. Study Group members Robert Blackwill, Lawrence H. Summers, Michèle Flournoy then offered framing comments on the United States’ approach towards China via diplomacy, economics, and the dimensions of the military competition between China and the United States. 
These comments prompted a wider discussion of the competitive and cooperative aspects of Sino-American relations with an emphasis on essential questions about what the United States and China seek from world order and hope to achieve domestically, regionally, and internationally as well as the extent to which American and Chinese foreign policy approaches are expressions of long-term strategy or experimentation and improvisation.
In seeking to define the competitive and cooperative aspects of the relationship with greater clarity, Study Group members laid the groundwork for nuanced discussions with practical implications for policy on technology such as artificial intelligence and 5G networks, trade pacts and restrictions, the role of military alliances in Asia, and investment in the domestic sources of U.S. competitiveness. 
The meeting concluded with a discussion about the Kissinger Center’s partnership with the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation and the Centre for Grand Strategy of the War Studies Department at King’s College London on its Conference on the Future of World Order in April 2020, where leading practitioners and scholars will discuss Sino-American competition among other subjects.