The world, meanwhile, watched the latter two events, which seemed to portend U.S. decline, unfold with a mix of horror and schadenfreude. In 2008, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev declared the end of U.S. global leadership; Michael Ignatieff, the leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, proclaimed “the noon hour of the United States and its global dominance are over.”
Yet as Rush Doshi, a former Brookings Institution scholar and current China Director on the National Security Council, shows in his excellent new book, The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order, no foreign capital followed the United States’s struggles after 2008 as closely as Beijing did. Indeed, Chinese leaders followed along so closely because they calibrated their challenge to U.S. global dominance with their perception of the United States’s strength. And as Doshi deftly shows by leaning on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) texts that he collected from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Beijing has since 2016 considered the United States a declining power, and the world ripe for change—for a Chinese reshaping of the international order.