BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,914, February 3, 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: During his term as US president, Donald Trump employed an economic and foreign policy that challenged globalization in an attempt to stem the rise of China—but that did not prevent Beijing from taking its own steps toward multilateralism, free trade, and economic liberalization. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Sino-European Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) are indicative of this. President Biden will govern in a world in which Cold War frameworks do not apply. When looking for partnerships with allies to restrain China’s influence, he will encounter Beijing’s deep engagement in a globalized international environment.

Rising Sino-American antagonism and Washington’s emphasis on restraining Beijing’s influence remind some scholars of the Cold War period. Historian Niall Ferguson, for example, has…

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