- Geopolitics today is characterized by an evolving multipolar great-power competition between China, Russia, and the United States. The zero-sum nature of bipolar Cold War competition logic does not apply so relative losses in power by Russia could help the relative power position of China, and harm long-term American strategic interests, unless carefully managed in Washington.
- Washington should learn from past multi-state great-power competitions. Great Britain’s approach to Imperial Russia and Imperial Germany in the early 20th century is especially instructive.
- Like London in 1905, Washington today must stay attentive to the balance of power between itself and China as it manages Moscow’s relative power decline from the military debacle in Ukraine. The United States should defend its interests in Eastern Europe without so undermining Russia that a new period of instability spreads across Eurasia or that China aggrandizes strategically significant relative power gains from Moscow’s infirmity.
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Thomas F. (Tom) Lynch III is a Distinguished Research Fellow for South Asia and the Near East at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies. The opinions expressed here represent his own views and are not those of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the United States government.