The Contest of the Century: The New Era of Competition with China—and How America Can Win

Geoff Dyer. Knopf, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-307-96075-7
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China and the United States will wage an all-important, yet rather vague struggle for the competitive edge, according to this unfocused but illuminating treatise. Financial Times journalist Dyer surveys facets of China’s foreign relations, arguing that the 21st-century world order will center on Sino-American jousting for a loosely defined global influence. In the military sphere, he argues, China’s swelling navy will try to shoo the American fleet from nearby waters and monopolize local maritime resources; geopolitically, China’s efforts to woo the world with “soft power” may be undermined by its dour authoritarianism and national chauvinism; on the economic front, China’s alleged goal of replacing the dollar with the renminbi as the global reserve currency will require it to overturn its state-dominated economic model. Dyer’s invocation of traditional great-power rivalry feels overstated, since neither country wants war and both benefit from a liberalized global economy; America can “win” the contest, he contends, with nothing more combative than accommodating diplomacy and sensible budgetary policies. The competition he describes is really between China’s own conflicted impulses—and here Dyer’s lively prose, vivid reportage, and long experience reporting on the country really shine, making this one of the most lucid, readable, and insightful of the current rise-of-China studies. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, Wylie Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/25/2013
Release date: 02/04/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 214 pages - 978-0-307-96078-8
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