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A nation must think before it acts.
Many experts raise concerns about the “rise of China” and the potential threat it presents to American interests. Indeed, the recent strategic pivot announced by U.S. leaders is designed to address these concerns. Yet what we are likely to see is not a rise of Chinese power, but a surge—a temporary situation of perhaps twenty to thirty years. Demographic, economic, and political factors will all combine to create a ceiling on Chinese power and ultimately cause it to decline. The United States needs to develop military capabilities that will prepare it for the coming strategic window, along with the economic and political initiatives that will enable it to influence events in the region.