The writer, a professor of government at Harvard University, is author of ‘Destined For War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap’

When China’s top leaders met in August to review the year and assess the challenges ahead, they took satisfaction in their nation’s success compared to the floundering performance of the US and Europe in dealing with coronavirus. In President Xi Jinping’s bottom line: China had “fully demonstrated the clear superiority of Communist party leadership and our socialist system”.

After the 2008 financial crisis, China emerged as a major geopolitical force, advancing its values and interests. Today, as we see a second great economic divergence, we should expect more profound geopolitical consequences.

Official numbers for the first half of 2020 are already in. The world economy is shrinking. Every major nation is on track to have a smaller economy by the end of the year…

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