Geopolitics in the 21st Century is poised to revolve around the U.S.-China relationship. Russia presents different, but still significant, challenges.
The latest National Security Strategy called for focusing America's foreign policy tools on great power competition, especially with China and Russia. Nonetheless, counterterrorism continues to absorb substantial resources and attention. As operations wind down in Syria and Afghanistan, however, the practice of American foreign policy may finally be shifting.
Recognizing the need to prioritize relations with great powers is only the first step. The way in which the United States engages them is crucial.
Nuclear weapons with global reach encourage all sides to avoid military conflict, so what does competition under deterrence and mutually assured destruction look like? How should we balance and use economic, diplomatic, and military tools of statecraft to achieve realistic political outcomes that benefit the American people? How do domestic economic, cultural, and political outcomes affect the conduct of international affairs?