Oriana Skylar Mastro reviews Rush Doshi’s book The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021).
How should we understand China’s grand strategy and intentions? The ascendance of Xi Jinping and the beginning of a slew of economic projects like the Belt and Road Initiative, interpreted by many as a tool in the framework of strategic competition with the United States, caused many to see Beijing as increasingly expansionist.5 Some more alarmist analysts, such as Department of Defense policy adviser Michael Pillsbury, have characterized China as having a grand scheme to supplant the United States as the sole global superpower.6 Others see strategic folly in overestimating the threat, focusing instead on the strong fundamentals of U.S. power7 or emphasizing China’s weaknesses and domestic challenges.8 Indeed, the range of academic inquiry and conflicting viewpoints is a testament to the complexity of understanding China and its role on the global stage.
Enter The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order, one of the most recent and significant attempts to understand what China wants. Written by Rush Doshi, a former Brookings fellow turned National Security Council staffer in the Biden administration, the book encapsulates rigorous social-scientific research approaches, clear argumentation, and policy relevance as well as is accessible to the average reader.