This By-invitation commentary is part of a series by global thinkers on the future of American power—examining the forces shaping the country’s global standing, from the rise of China to the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Read more here.

The Economist today

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NOTHING HAS consumed foreign-policy thinkers over the years more than the question of whether the United States is in irreversible decline as a world power. The recent events in Afghanistan—which marks yet another American retreat from Asia—certainly feed that sentiment. But a longer-term issue for American policymakers is the steady rise of Chinese power. Is the country about to overtake America, and what are the best economic and military criteria to measure such a transition in world affairs? Is China not ridden with internal problems, only partially disguised by the…

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