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Books: A potential Sino-American conflict can be avoided

Noted strategist offers road map that addresses the needs of Beijing and Washington

Elbridge Colby's book makes a valuable contribution to the most important geopolitical issue of the coming decades -- China's push for hegemony in Asia and U.S.-led efforts to contain the rising giant. (Nikkei montage/Source photos by Yale University Press, U.S. Department of Defense)

"Pandemics do not put geopolitics on hold ... they may even intensify geopolitical competition by distracting states' leadership," writes Elbridge Colby in his recently published book "The Strategy of Denial -- American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict."

Colby's book already seems prescient in light of recent events such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But his intention was to map out a sustainable long-term strategy for containing the only great power that will rival the U.S. for the foreseeable future, China. The term "contain" does not appear in the text -- Colby prefers "decent equilibrium" and "decent peace" -- but his thinking is in the tradition of geopolitical realists such as George Kennan, originator of the containment strategy that formed the bedrock of America's security policy during the Cold War.

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