Military Competition with China: Harder to Win Than During the Cold War?

Military Competition with China: Harder to Win Than During the Cold War?

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM

Via Zoom Webinar. Register at:

  • Oriana Skylar Mastro

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As US-China competition intensifies, experts debate the degree to which the current strategic environment resembles that of the Cold War. Those that argue against the analogy often highlight how China is deeply integrated into the US-led world order. They also point out that, while tense, US-China relations have not turned overtly adversarial. But there is another, less optimistic reason the comparison is unhelpful: deterring and defeating Chinese aggression is harder now than it was against the Soviet Union. In this talk, Dr. Mastro analyzes how technology, geography, relative resources and the alliance system complicate U.S. efforts to enhance the credibility of its deterrence posture and, in a crisis, form any sort of coalition.

Photo of Oriana MastroOriana Skylar Mastro is a Center Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). Within FSI, she works primarily in the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) and the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) as well. She is also a fellow in Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and an inaugural Wilson Center China Fellow.

Mastro is an international security expert with a focus on Chinese military and security policy issues, Asia-Pacific security issues, war termination, and coercive diplomacy. Her research addresses critical questions at the intersection of interstate conflict, great power relations, and the challenge of rising powers. She has published widely, including in Foreign Affairs, International Security, International Studies Review, Journal of Strategic Studies, The Washington Quarterly, The National Interest, Survival, and Asian Security, and is the author of The Costs of Conversation: Obstacles to Peace Talks in Wartime (Cornell University Press, 2019).

She also continues to serve in the United States Air Force Reserve, for which she works as a Strategic Planner at INDOPACOM. Prior to her appointment at Stanford in August 2020, Mastro was an assistant professor of security studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University.


American and Chinese flags
This event is part of the 2021 Winter/Spring Colloquia series, Biden’s America, Xi’s China: What’s Now & What’s Next?, sponsored by APARC's China Program.