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Ali Wyne discusses the construct of great-power competition

Mr. Ali Wyne came to The Institute of World Politics on November 8, 2019, as a part of the Global Impact Discussion Series, which was founded by IWP alumna Patricia Schouker. Mr. Wyne is a Washington D.C. based policy analyst for the RAND Corporation’s Defense and Political Sciences Department.

Mr. Wyne started by discussing the origins of the bipartisan construct of great-power competition. After 9/11, the U.S. was preoccupied, almost overwhelmingly, with counterterrorism. Now, almost two decades later, Wyne said, the mandate to counterterrorism seems indefinite, and there is no longer a geographical focus. Overall, Mr. Wyne cited the focus on counterterrorism for too long as the first origin of the great power conflict. The second origin, Mr. Wyne said, is the lack of orientation for current U.S. policy.

Mr. Wyne went on to explain that, when discussing great power competition, the emphasis is now put on competition rather than a certain direction or goal. He then went on to explain that for success to be achieved, it is necessary to think about what we are competing over, what we are competing towards, and where we want to go. Mr. Wyne also emphasized that the United States indeed has limits and cannot simply continue aimlessly forever in this competition. If the U.S. does, then its success would be ultimately undermined. Additionally, Mr. Wyne mentioned that there should be further discussion about what threats and regions deserve the United States’ attention in order to further our nation’s success.

Mr. Wyne concluded his discussion by mentioning that Republicans and Democrats alike have determined that there needs to be a larger focus on the Asia-Pacific region, yet leaders have been unable to follow through with this idea of a regional shift. Additionally, Mr. Wyne suggested that on the surface, the great power conflict captures a lot of what is going on globally, but the way in which we carry out policy needs to be more focused and strategic.

Admissions Course on the US and China in Power Transition

Examining the Construct of Great-Power Competition