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The Breaking Point: The Emergence of Separate Knowledge and Information Systems Condemn the U.S. and China to Mutual Alienation

April 11, 2020


Robert Daly, Director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, Wilson Center
Adam Webb, American Co-Director, Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Resident Professor of Political Science 

The school hosted a conversation on US-China relations amid the coronavirus pandemic. During the discussion, Daly reflected on how the pandemic is changing fundamental American thinking about the nature of markets, as well as the domestic and worldwide economy, while strengthening the disintegration of US and China. He showcased the broader critique and increasing calls for American companies and tech contributing to the development of China’s comprehensive national power at the US’s expense.

Daly highlighted the decoupling of informational and knowledge systems, such as social media, films, books, and gaming. He explained that Chinese and American media, higher educational institutions, think tanks, and creative classes are becoming estranged from each other, making persuasion, argument and discussion increasingly difficult, as well as the ability to find a common vocabulary as a foundation upon which to try to analyse the relationship and retard its continued deterioration. Daly noted that this has led to mutual alienation, in which the US and China have engaged in a global competition to be the primary nation shaping security architectures, trade and investment regimes, development marketization, and regulation of emerging tech, as well as norms, practices and value systems worldwide, undermining public diplomacy.

The school hosted a conversation on US-China relations amid the coronavirus pandemic.