The Decisive Decade: American Grand Strategy for Triumph Over China
By Jonathan D.T. Ward
Diversion Books; hardcover, 304 pages; $28.99
Jonathan D.T. Ward is the founder of the Atlas Organization, a consultancy focused on US-China global competition. He earned his PhD at the University of Oxford, where he specialized in China-India relations after he was initially admitted to Oxford for a doctorate in Russia-China relations during the Cold War. Dr. Ward spent his undergraduate years in Russian and Chinese language at Columbia University, and he has studied Russia, China, and India for the nearly twenty years since then. He is the author of China's Vision of Victory, a guide to the global grand strategy of the Chinese government, which has been read widely in the United States government and national security services. Dr. Ward has been an advisor to the US Department of Defense on Chinese long-term strategy and has briefed numerous US government audiences, including at US Strategic Command, US Indo-Pacific Command, and the US Department of Commerce.
In the new book The Decisive Decade, Dr. Ward, the foremost expert on US-China global competition, focuses on the economic battlefront and in-depth analysis of the diplomatic, military, and ideological arenas to deliver a strategic call to action and playbook to outcompete the long-term strategies of China and its Communist Party.
International security and American supremacy are at stake, and Dr. Ward's comprehensive framework shows how the United States can and must defeat China on the world stage economically, diplomatically, militarily, and ideologically.
China's global power and influence grows every day, driven by a deep sense of national identity. The Chinese Communist Party is leading its country toward what it deems "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation," and is executing a long-term Grand Strategy to topple over its chief adversary, the United States. China is also becoming increasingly repressive domestically and aggressive overseas as it attempts to do this.
Dr. Ward provides novel and practical strategies that our government, as well as business and citizens, can utilize to undermine our adversary. There must be exhaustive campaigns in the economic, diplomatic, military, and ideological arenas to achieve victory.
There are three things the U.S. should do from the beginning, Dr. Ward contends. This current decade, the 2020s, is the decisive one in the competition with China, and if the U.S. organizes and executes a grand strategy now, then the long-term challenge from China can be managed. This contest will ultimately be won or lost through economic power, as our private companies are essential, and the government must do more to tilt the economic balance of power permanently in our favor. The United States must also understand the fundamentals of this battle, the ambitions of the adversary and the nature of the competition, in the mold of the successful containment strategy in he Cold War, which was the brainchild of America's leading Sovietologist, George F. Kennan.
In this excerpt, Dr. Ward writes: "There will come a time when we in the United States of America will fully recognize the challenge that we face from the People's Republic of China and its ruling Chinese Communist Party. There will arrive a moment when we realize the depth and nature of the conflict that we have with the most potent challenger that we have faced in decades, the most capable challenger since the Soviet Union or even since the Axis Powers of the Second World War. When that time comes, whether through deadly manifestations of China's military ambition - which is rising in the Pacific - or through the gradual consensus-building that has begun to take shape among governments across the world, we will need to understand how we can win.
That day may come soon. Before Pearl Harbor, before September 11, there were many who could have told us about the threats we faced from overseas. But only when America is ready - not only as a government, but also as a people, as a nation - can we engage and overcome our most important challenges.
Let us imagine, for a moment, that we have reached that point, the point where it is clear that we face monumental dangers, in our country and around the world. Perhaps it arrived when Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping spoke in unison about their 'unlimited' partnership at the Beijing Olympics in 2022, carried out on the world stage in the midst of a genocide taking place in China and announced just weeks ahead of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Perhaps it arrived with the Chinese Communist Party's military antagonism by sea, air, and land against its neighbors in Asia from India to Japan to Taiwan, or the threats of 'possible nuclear attacks in the future' against our ally Australia. Perhaps it coincided with the threat by official Chinese Communist Party media to curtail medical equipment exports to the United States at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and so that America would be 'plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus.' Perhaps it has taken all these together to awaken us. Or, it may be that we shall only awaken through events yet to come. But America, together with our friends and Allies across the world, is today in a process of awakening to the enormous scope, scale, and maleficence of the challenge posed by China. When our awakening is complete, when it comes time that we are ready, we will need to understand what to do and how to win."