Army, economy, space, demography … United States or China, who leads the game?

GREAT DECRYPTION – On the night of October 25-26, 1971, the People’s Republic joined the United Nations. Half a century later, having become a superpower, it challenges America.

The expression has flourished. In 2019, in his book Towards war, Graham Allison assured that the United States fell into the “Thucydides trap“. Out of the fear that an emerging power inspires in a dominant power, the second goes to war with the first. With the fall of the USSR, the United States no longer had any rivals … In 1998, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Védrine theorized the concept of “hyperpuissance»To qualify this place de facto hegemonic Washington. Six years earlier, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama even prophesied the “end of the story», This new era in which liberal democracy imposed itself as the only regulatory horizon, under the patronage of both manly and benevolent Washington.

This scent of nineties is no longer in tune with the times. On September 21, Joe Biden made it clear to the UN platform that he did not want a “new cold warWith Beijing, the expression is on everyone’s mind. Just 50 years ago, when Beijing entered the UN on the night of October 25-26, 1971, depriving its Taiwanese rival of the seat it had held until then, the People’s Republic was far from being able to compete with the two. Cold War superpowers. Two years later, Alain Peyrefitte nevertheless wrote his prophetic When China awakens … the world will shake. No one doubts today that the United States has found a new “strategic rival», And that the clash between the two superpowers – whatever form it takes – will be the major international event of the twenty-first century. As in the days of the Cold War, the match of the giants is replayed, with its procession of comparisons. Armies, GDP, demographics, technologies, space race, Olympic medals, etc. all objects enter the field of competition. Against a backdrop of tensions around Taiwan and “chinese virus», It is not half-time. The protagonists move forward, and gauge each other. By measuring themselves, what do they see? Twenty-one years after the turn of the century, where is the game?

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