1. Regional Reactions to U.S.-China Competition
“We don’t want to make you choose. We want to give you choices.” That was Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his November 2021 trip to Africa. It’s a good line that belies geopolitical reality; neither China nor the United States wants to be seen as pressuring countries to pick between them, but each rests easier when a choice goes its way. In Africa, South America, and Southeast and Central Asia, countries value their economic relations with China, but also need the check on Chinese influence offered by the U.S. Most would rather hedge between the powers than tilt either way. Nevertheless, antagonism between China and the United States, and the gradual emergence of separate technological and financial systems, may compel the decisions they hope to avoid. Will great power rivalry produce a bifurcated world, or will Middle Powers temper U.S.-China competition?