Great-Power Competition Is Washington’s Top Priority—but Not the Public’s

Richard Fontain

Foreign Affairs

For all the acrimony in Washington today, the city’s foreign policy establishment is settling on a rare bipartisan consensus: that the world has entered a new era of great-power competition. The struggle between the United States and other great powers, the emerging consensus holds, will fundamentally shape geopolitics going forward, for good or ill. And more than terrorism, climate change, or nuclear weapons in Iran or North Korea, the threats posed by these other great powers—namely, China and Russia—will consume U.S. foreign-policy makers in the decades ahead.


That survey is no outlier. A recent Pew Research Center poll asked Americans to rate seven threats, ranging from Iran and North Korea to climate change and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). China came in fourth and Russia last. For the past decade, Americans have consistently ranked terrorism and cyberattacks as the two most pressing national security threats, as they did in the Chicago Council survey. Climate change increasingly finishes near the top, and while regional threats wax and wane in public consciousness, Americans still tend to rate North Korea as a bigger threat than the great powers.


But the consensus extends well beyond the current administration, to foreign policy experts, current and former national security officials—and much of the Democratic presidential primary field. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren warned last year that both Russia and China “are working flat out to remake the global order to suit their own priorities,” while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders decried the rise of a new authoritarian axis that includes Moscow and Beijing and has ignited “a global struggle of enormous consequence.”

Excerts from the article.  Rest at the link above

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