9781324021308 198

Danger Zone

The Coming Conflict with China

16 September 2022

Michael Beckley (Author), Hal Brands (Author)


A provocative and urgent analysis of the US–China rivalry

It has become conventional wisdom that America and China are running a “superpower marathon” that may last a century. Yet Hal Brands and Michael Beckley pose a counterintuitive question: What if the sharpest phase of that competition is more like a decade-long sprint?

The Sino-American contest is driven by clashing geopolitical interests and a stark ideological dispute over whether authoritarianism or democracy will dominate the 21st century. But both history and China’s current trajectory suggest that this rivalry will reach its moment of maximum danger in the 2020s.

China is at a perilous moment: strong enough to violently challenge the existing order, yet losing confidence that time is on its side. Numerous examples from antiquity to the present show that rising powers become most aggressive when their fortunes fade, their difficulties multiply and they realise they must achieve their ambitions now or miss the chance to do so forever. China has already started down this path. Witness its aggression toward Taiwan, its record-breaking military buildup and its efforts to dominate the critical technologies that will shape the world’s future.

Over the long run, the Chinese challenge will most likely prove more manageable than many pessimists currently believe—but during the 2020s, the pace of Sino-American conflict will accelerate, and the prospect of war will be frighteningly real. America, Brands and Beckley argue, will still need a sustainable approach to winning a protracted global competition. But first, it needs a near-term strategy for navigating the danger zone ahead.


"Brilliant and engagingly written, this warning by two outstanding scholars is especially timely in light of recent events. Are Americans ready for what may be coming? They will be better prepared if they read this book." — Robert Kagan, author of The Ghost at the Feats: America and the Collapse of World Order, 1900-1941

"Russian aggression notwithstanding, China constitutes the most daunting challenge to U.S. national security and the liberal international order. In this brilliant and urgently important book, Hal Brands and Michael Beckley explain why the threat of war with China will likely peak in this decade—when China's global power and ambition for primacy are swelling just as it faces severe demographic, economic, and political strains on the horizon. Every U.S. foreign policy maker and thinker should read this book and heed their call to rapidly mobilize strategy, strength, and alliances to navigate through this danger zone." — Larry Diamond, Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

"There is bipartisan consensus in Washington that China is the most important long-term strategic challenge for the U.S. Hal Brands and Michael Beckley powerfully argue that an enormously ambitious China is peaking now and confrontation is coming sooner than we think. This well-written, must-read book will add a sense of urgency to the national debate about strategic competition." — Ambassador (ret.) Eric S. Edelman, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (2005–2009)



152 x 229 mm • 304 pages


Add to Basket




Powered by Glassboxx


Coming Soon