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V32: A Year of Crises or Cooperation

January , 2022


2022 and Beyond: Crises or Cooperation?

The first weeks of 2022 were rife with ominous developments, including spikes in new COVID infections with the Omicron variant, conflicts in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, disastrous weather induced by climate change and ongoing tensions between the United States and China. There are no clear signs that relations will get better anytime soon.

Yet, 2022 offers opportunities for China and the U.S. to work together. Domestic imperatives and global challenges call for a constructive relationship, not a rivalry that jeopardizes all. If 2021 teaches anything, it is that patience, respect, political resolve and diplomatic finesse are critical in managing the complex relationship between the world’s two greatest powers.

A recent China-U.S. Focus survey of leading Chinese scholars identified the U.S. midterm elections and the Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress in the fall, and the Taiwan issue as the key variables that will shape the future. It also found a consensus that China-U.S. relations are trending away from cooperation and toward competition —and potential crises. The year may end up with elements of both.


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  • It is not inconceivable for some in Washington that Beijing could be baited into attacking Taiwan, giving America a chance to mold its rivalry with China back into all-out sanctions and decoupling — as was the case with the Soviet Union.

    Wang Jisi

    President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies Peking University
  • My hope is that competition can be managed for the benefit of workers here and workers in China.

    My own judgment is that the Fed is likely to find it necessary to raise interest rates by more than the markets or the Fed currently recognize.

    Lawrence H. Summers

  • The strategic competition between China and the United States is likely to be the norm for the next decade or so.

    Lawrence J. Lau

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