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Dr. Aaron L. Friedberg discusses competition between China and the United States

On April 8, Aaron L. Friedberg, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, gave a lecture at The Institute of World Politics, where he discussed his book, A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia.

In A Contest for Supremacy, Dr. Friedberg summarized different reasons why a relationship between the United States and China is possible and would be lucrative for both parties. Dr. Friedberg discussed economic advantages to partnership, the question of democratization in China, and common issues between the two superpowers, such as nuclear threat and climate change.

Dr. Friedberg also acknowledged the ideological and political differences between the U.S. and China and how this is still a huge obstacle to overcome. Aside from China being a one-party system and the U.S. being a democracy, mainland China is significantly different culturally from the U.S.

Dr. Friedberg also pointed out that the financial crisis of 2008 did not devastate China in the way that it did the U.S.

Dr. Friedberg’s greatest concern was not inevitable dominance of the Chinese military in any given theater or capacity, but in the seemingly inexorable tide of growth China’s economy has been experiencing, and seems able to sustain into the future. To remain competitive in the future, America must also broaden the base of its economic activity, including more intensive investment into education, infrastructure, and technology. 

Dr. Aaron Friedberg is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. Dr. Friedberg is the author of two other books, The Weary Titan, 1895-1905: Britain and the Experience of Relative Decline and In the Shadow of the Garrison State: America’s Anti-Statism and Its Cold War Grand Strategy. His areas of interest include international relations, international security in East Asia, foreign policy, and defense policy. He earned his A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. from Harvard University.