October 14, 2015
October 14, 2015

Is China’s ascendancy a threat to the U.S.? China’s rise as an economic and military power, coupled with its aggression in the South China Sea, have led some to call for a major rebalance of U.S. policy and strategy. Can China be trusted to act as a responsible global stakeholder? And will they be a long-term ally, or adversary?

 

To view the full debate visit Wondrium.

08:00 PM Wednesday, October 14, 2015
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Xi Jinping U.S. Visit (5 RESOURCES)

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Cyber Security (4 RESOURCES)

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Trade (5 RESOURCES)

  • 00:00:00

    John Donvan:

    And with that round of applause, let’s extend it, and please welcome Bob Rosenkranz to

    the stage.

    [applause]

    Robert Rosenkranz:

    Hello, John.

    John Donvan:

    Hi, Bob. Mic is on the seat there.

    Robert Rosenkranz:

    Right. Thank you.

    John Donvan:

    Bob and I normally chat a little bit about how we came to be doing this topic at this

    time. And an interesting thing about this one, Bob, is we’ve been thinking about this

    one for three years, which makes it, tonight, more or less timely than ever.

    Robert Rosenkranz:

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    Well, yeah. I — I had, about three years ago, attended a conference in Singapore, a

    security — regional security conference. And I heard a speech. The key note speech was

    by Chuck Hagel, who was our secretary of defense at the time. And he talked about the

    universal values of human rights, of democracy, of freedom. And he talked about our

    role, our pivot then toward Asia and the things we were doing to coordinate defense

    with Korea, with Japan, with Indonesia, with India and various kinds of weapons systems

    that we were supplying as part of that pivot.

  • 00:01:11

    And after his speech, a lady from the audience got up, and she was wearing a military

    uniform, and she turned out to be a Chinese major-general. And she said, “Well, I have

    a question. What you describe as maintaining regional stability, sounds to us a lot like

    encirclement and containment. And what you describe as universal values, sounds to us

    like interference with our domestic sovereignty. Do you have any words to say that

    would give us reassurance?” to which Hagel said, “humm-n-a, humm-n-a, humm-n-a–“

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:

    So did this general have a point?

  • 00:01:56

    Robert Rosenkranz:

    Well, she — she raised, I think, a very interesting strategic point that ought to inform the

    discussion tonight, and it’s that each side in a — in a — in a strategic contest almost

    always will assume the worst intentions from the other side. And that’s simply the

    prudent thing to do. So her read of our intentions was — was the read that she should

    have in her role and — and our having a kind of negative read of China’s intentions is

    what we should be doing. But with that in mind, and realizing that intentions are liable

    to be misled — misread, each side to this both U.S. and China strategically have to feel

    each other out in a very smart and sensible way. China’s not going to accept a coalition

    of democratic states whose purpose is to restrain and hem in China and maybe change

    their domestic rules of governance.

  • 00:03:12

    And we’re not going to accept being ejected from the Asia-Pacific region and leaving all

    of our allies to fend for themselves against a powerful hegemonic power. So we have to

    have realistic expectations. China has to have realistic expectations, and those

    expectations have to be adjusted in a strategically smart way.

    John Donvan:

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    And — and they have shifted some what in the last three years, so I’m wondering, were

    we wise to wait these three years to get to tonight.

    Robert Rosenkranz:

    Well, I think tonight’s debate could have been held three years ago. It could be held

    today. It can probably be held three years from now or six years from now, because the

    challenge of accommodating the shifting power relationships in Asia is a huge challenge,

    and a long-term project.

  • 00:04:10

    And to me, it’s analogous to the challenge that the world faced in the first half of the

    20th century of accommodating a rising Germany. And we see the disastrous

    consequences of that kind of situation being handled poorly by leaders on all sides. So I

    think this is an evergreen debate. And I’m anxious to have it.

    John Donvan:

    Well, I think it’s going to be great. And we’ll see that when we welcome our debaters to

    the stage. Let’s do that right now. And thank you, Bob Rosenkranz.

    Robert Rosenkranz:

    Thank you.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:

    There will be times during the evening again for the sake of the podcast and the radio

    broadcast in which I will ask you to applaud spontaneously.

    [laughter]

  • 00:05:03

    And the signal will be — I think you’re already sort of on line on this one, but if it’s not

    sort of happening I’ll give you one of those and would appreciate it. And also there are

    bits of business that I need to do again for the radio broadcast. I’ll say things like, “We’ll

    be back right after this.”

    [laughter]

    And you’ll see that I don’t actually go anywhere.

    [laughter]

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    So I just want to explain that it’s not insanity or dementia but that it’s for the radio

    broadcast. And I’d like to start, in fact, by asking you again for one more of those

    spontaneous rounds of applause.

    [applause]

    So eight presidents, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, have

    all pursued in varying degrees a cooperative relationship with the great, glorious, and

    growing China, the People’s Republic of, a partnership that was forged in the beginning

    primarily to balance power against the Soviet Union, but it also took shape at a time

    when China was frankly relatively weak at least economically and militarily was certainly

    an underdog.

  • 00:06:13

    But that’s all changed now. The Soviet Union is gone, and China is big, modern,

    sophisticated, and becoming very well armed. So the question is, is that a good thing for

    this partnership, is it going to lead to a deepening, or are we seeing the seeds of a rivalry

    sown that will inevitably sprout across the Pacific as hostility? And, if so, what will China

    represent to the next president and the next president and the next president?

    Well, that sounds like the makings of a debate, so let’s have it, “Yes,” or, “No,” to this

    statement, “China and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies,” a debate from Intelligence

    Squared U.S. I’m John Donvan. We are at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City

    with four superbly qualified debaters who will argue for and against the motion, “China

    and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies.”

  • 00:07:04

    As always, our debate will go in three rounds, and then our live audience here in New

    York will vote to choose the winner, and only one side wins. The motion, again, “China

    and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies.” Let’s meet the team arguing for the

    motion. Please, ladies and gentlemen, welcome Peter Brookes.

    [applause]

    And, Peter, you are a former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Asia and Pacific

    Affairs and a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. You

    are also a military man, a graduate of Annapolis, a Navy commander. You served in the

    NSA and the CIA, which suggests that you might know some stuff that the rest of us

    don’t know. Curious to know what keeps you up at night.

    [laughter]

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    Peter Brookes:

    Well, actually I’ve been a bit sleepless. I was reading my colleague here on my side of

    the motion, John Mearsheimer’s, biography, and I found out he went to West Point.

  • 00:08:03

    [laughter]

    So, you know, being an Annapolis graduate, that’s a bit troubling. But being the giver

    that I am, I decided that I’ll call a truce for tonight and until the Army-Navy game.

    John Donvan:

    All right, thanks very much, Peter Brookes, and —

    [laughter]

    [applause]

    — and we want to give you the chance to introduce your partner once more.

    Peter Brookes:

    That’s right. Well, sitting next to me and on this side of the motion is Professor John

    Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago.

    John Donvan:

    And he is also the author of several books, including one published in 2001 called, “The

    Tragedy of the Great Power Politics” — “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.” In that,

    John Mearsheimer, you predicted an aggressive and destabilizing rise of China. We’ve

    heard you say that when you go out to China, which you do, that you’re like a fish out of

    water over there with one exception. Intellectually, you say, you’re in your element

    when you’re in China. What do you mean by that?

    John Mearsheimer:

    Well, I’m a realist, a realpolitiker, and virtually all the Chinese I know, both policymakers

    and scholars, are realists at their core. So we speak the same language, and we think

    about international politics almost exactly the same way.

  • 00:09:12

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, John Mearsheimer.

    [applause]

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    The team arguing for the motion, “China and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies.” And we

    have two debaters arguing against that motion. Please, ladies and gentlemen, first

    welcome Robert Daly.

    [applause]

    Robert Daly. You’re director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at

    the Wilson Center. You lived in China 11 years. You served at the U.S. Embassy there

    and in the ’90s, very fun fact, you helped produce the Chinese language version of

    Sesame Street.

    Robert Daly:

    Yes I did.

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:

    You’ve also — you’re also a trained interpreter. You’ve interpreted between Jiang Zemin

    and Jimmy Carter, but apparently they were not the most difficult interpreting

    assignments you ever had, because what were the most difficult assignments?

    Robert Daly:

    Yes, that would be Dr. Henry Kissinger at the bottom of one octave and Elmo the

    Muppet about three octaves up.

    [laughter]

    Equally lucid speakers, but sometimes difficult to follow.

    [laughter]

  • 00:10:10

    John Donvan:

    And we’ve been trying so hard to get Elmo on this stage.

    [laughter]

    This is the closest we’re going to come. Tell us Robert Daly who your partner is.

    Robert Daly:

    I’m very pleased to be working today with Kevin Rudd, the former prime minister of

    Australia, former Australian ambassador to Beijing, and the current president of the Asia

    Society Policy Institute.

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    John Donvan:

    Ladies and gentlemen, Kevin Rudd.

    [applause]

    And Kevin, with that introduction, it establishes you actually as the highest-ranking

    former government official of any kind in the world we’ve ever had on our stage. It’s an

    honor to have you here, all the way from Australia.

    [applause]

    You are also a long-time China scholar. You are fluent in Mandarin and you even have a

    Chinese name given to you by a Chinese teacher. What is it?

    Kevin Rudd:

    Well, I should add three disclaimers. I’ve never been to Annapolis. Never been to West

    Point. In fact, I got kicked out of Boy Scouts.

  • 00:11:07

    [laughter]

    And I was never ambassador for Australia in Beijing. I was a humble first secretary,

    which is the guy who carries the bags.

    [laughter]

    My Chinese name given to me by my teacher was Lù Kèwén.

    John Donvan:

    What does that mean?

    Kevin Rudd:

    It means a continental overcomer of the classics.

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:

    Can the classics be overcome? Did you do that?

    Kevin Rudd:

    No, and 40 years later they remain un-overcome.

    [laughter]

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    John Donvan:

    Ladies and gentlemen, the team arguing against the motion.

    [applause]

    So this is a debate. There will be winners and losers and you, our live audience here in

    New York, will determine who gets victory by your vote. By the time the debate has

    ended we will have had you vote twice, once before you hear the arguments and once

    again after you hear the arguments, and we determine victory by the measurement that

    comes from the difference between the two teams’ first and second votes in percentage

    point terms. Let’s register your first vote. If you go to the keypad at your seat, please

    take a look at the motion: China and the U.S. Are Long-Term Enemies.

  • 00:12:10

    If you agree with this motion push number one. If you disagree push number two. And

    if you’re undecided number three is the button for you. You can ignore the other

    ones. Just hold that button down until you see the light come on and that will tell you

    where your vote is. And we’ll lock it about in about 15 seconds. At the end of the

    debate when we do the same thing, after you vote it’s about a two minute lag between

    the time we close the vote and the time we have the results, so it happens quite

    quickly. Okay. Let’s move on to round one. We’re moving on to round one, opening

    statements by each debater in turn. Our motion is this: China and the U.S. Are LongTerm

    Enemies. Speaking first for the motion and making his way to the lectern, John

    Mearsheimer, professor of political science and co-director of the program on

    international security policy at the University of Chicago. Ladies and gentlemen, John

    Mearsheimer.

    [applause]

  • 00:13:09

    John Mearsheimer:

    It’s a pleasure to be here. I’d like to thank the organizers for inviting me and thank all of

    you folks for coming out to listen to us debate this issue tonight. Of course Peter and I

    are going to make the argument that China will be a long-term enemy of the United

    States. I want to start with two preliminary points. One is the argument here is not that

    we’re destined to fight a war. It’s that these two countries will be long-term

    enemies. You want to remember that during the Cold War the United States and Soviet

    Union were enemies, but they never fought a war thankfully, and we’re not arguing that

    that is the case with regard to China. We’re just saying they’re going to be enemies.

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    Second, when you talk about the future, there’s no way you can talk about it without a

    theory of international politics or a theory of great power politics. And the reason is we

    have no evidence about the future because the evidence isn’t there because the future

    hasn’t happened yet.

  • 00:14:06

    So you need a theory to explain what you think is going to happen and that theory, of

    course, has to be able to explain past cases where great powers rose and fell, and it has

    to be applicable to the present as well. So the division of labor between me and Peter

    this evening is that I’m going to lay out the simple theory that explains why China and

    the United States are destined to compete with each other, to have an intense security

    competition that involves arms races, crises, proxy wars and so forth and so on. And

    then what Peter’s going to do when he follows me, is he’s going to show you all the

    evidence that’s already out there that supports the story that I’m going to tell you. My

    story basically goes like this: If you look at the international system the way it’s

    organized, there are three characteristics of that system that force states to compete

    for power and to pursue greater and greater increments of power.

  • 00:15:04

    The first characteristic of the system is that there is no higher authority that sits above

    states. There’s no night watchman. States are like pool balls on a table. That means

    that if a state gets into trouble, there’s nobody it can turn to rescue. As I like to say to

    students, “In the international system, when you dial 911, there’s nobody at the other

    end.” That means it is, in effect, a self-help system. That’s characteristic

    one. Characteristic two is that all states have some offensive military capability, and

    there are invariably a few states that have a lot of offensive military capability. The

    third feature of the system has to do with intentions. It’s almost impossible to divine

    the future intentions of other states because we don’t even know who’s going to be

    running China in five years or 10 years or 15 years. We don’t know who’s going to be

    running the United States in five, 10, or 15 years.

  • 00:16:03

    What this means is that when you operate in a world where there’s no higher authority

    you can turn to when you get into trouble, and you may end up next to a store — a

    country that’s very powerful and has malign intentions, you quickly figure out that the

    best way to survive is to be very powerful. As we used to say, when I was a young boy in

    New York City playgrounds, you want to be the biggest and baddest dude on the block,

    not because you’re malicious or you have bad intentions, but it’s the best way to

    survive, because the more powerful you are, the safer you are. Now, what this means in

    practical terms is that states want to, number one, dominate their region of the world,

    and number two, they want to make sure they don’t have a peer competitor. That

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    means you want to make sure there’s not another state in the system that dominates its

    region of the world like you do.

  • 00:16:57

    Let’s talk a little bit about the United States. The United States is the only regional

    hegemon in modern history. Most Americans don’t think about this, but the Founding

    Fathers and their successors went to enormous lengths to ensure that we would

    dominate the Western hemisphere. That involved conquering huge swaths of territory

    and making sure that the power gap between us and Mexico and us and Canada, us and

    Brazil, us and Guatemala, was enormous so that they could not cause us any

    trouble. Second thing we did was we instituted the Monroe Doctrine. We basically

    threw the European great powers out of the Western hemisphere and told them that

    they were not welcome back in here, because we did not want any distant great powers

    coming into the Western hemisphere. That was all about establishing hegemony in the

    Western hemisphere.

    Second goal, which is reflected in U.S. foreign policy in the 20th century, is to make sure

    we do not have a peer competitor. There were four potential peer competitors in the

    20th century: Imperial Germany, Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.

  • 00:18:02

    The United States played a key role not only in making sure each one of those countries

    did not dominate either Europe or Asia, but also played a key role in putting all four of

    those countries on the scrapheap of history. The United States does not tolerate peer

    competitors. And the United States, to go back to my first point, is deeply committed to

    dominating the Western hemisphere. Now let’s talk about China. As China gets more

    and more powerful — and that’s going to happen — the question you have to ask

    yourself is what will China do with all that military power? My argument is that China

    will imitate the United States. They’d be crazy not to. They’re going to try to dominate

    Asia the way we dominate the Western hemisphere. If you’re in Beijing and you’re a

    national security adviser, don’t you want a China that is much more powerful than all its

    neighbors? The Chinese understand full well what happened the last time they were

    weak. They call it the century of national humiliation.

  • 00:19:00

    They know what the Japanese, the Americans and the European great powers did to

    them, so they want to be very, very powerful, and for good reason. And they’re going to

    want to push the United States out of the — East Asia. They’d be crazy not to. As my

    mother taught me when I was a little boy, what’s good for the goose is good for the

    gander. If we can have a Monroe Doctrine, why do you think they’re not going to have a

    Monroe Doctrine? So China’s going to try to dominate Asia. Then the question

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    becomes, what do you think the United States is going to do? The historical record is

    very clear here. We don’t tolerate peer competitors. We’re not going to let them

    dominate Asia if we can prevent it. In effect, this is what the pivot to Asia is all

    about. We see them rising, and we want to maintain our dominant position in Asia.

    The end result of this is the Chinese are going to push in one direction, and we’re going

    to push in the other direction, and it is going to be an intense security

    competition. Again, this is not to say we’re going to have a war. But the Chinese are

    going to do this not because they have a voracious appetite for tromping on people or if

    they have a particular aggressive gene.

  • 00:20:06

    It’s because the best way to survive in the international system is to be a regional

    hegemon. They understand that, and at the same time we’re not going to let it happen.

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, John Mearsheimer.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:

    Our motion is “China and the U.S. are long-term enemies.” And here to make his

    opening statement against the motion, Robert Daly. He is director of the Kissinger

    Institute on China and the United States and a former cultural exchanges officer at the

    U.S. embassy in Beijing. Ladies and gentlemen, Robert Daly.

    [applause]

    Robert Daly:

    Well, thanks to all of you for coming out tonight. Remember that our motion is that the

    United States and China are long-term enemies, are now and will remain enemies. The

    motion is not that the United States and China may become enemies in the future. Bear

    the wording of the motion in mind. It’s very important. Our opponents’ position is that

    the United States and China are now and have no real option except to continue to

    remain enemies.

  • 00:21:12

    Why? Because a social science theory says that nations base their strategies on a

    survivalist ethic. Even though the question the United States and China face is not how

    to survive, but how to flourish. We’re reduced to our basest instincts. The dire

    outcome that our opponents are forecasting tonight is avoidable for reasons that Kevin

    and I are going to spell out. And it’s also avoidable because the Chinese read

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    Mearsheimer, ardently. They’ve read this theory. An even though he tells them that

    seeking hegemony in the Eastern hemisphere is a good idea, that there are sound

    strategic reasons, he goes on to describe a world that would ensue that no one in China

    or the United States would desire.

  • 00:21:56

    In fact, he just admitted that when someone does what he tells China to do, the United

    States throws you on the scrapheap of history. This is a world we can avoid if we

    manage the relationship wisely. I am going to demonstrate that for the past 37 years,

    despite our disparate values, despite crises, despite a relationship that is already highly

    competitive, the U.S. and China have avoided enmity and have benefited from

    engagement. We are not enemies now. Our opponents don’t even claim that we are, in

    contradiction to the motion. I will show you also that the world — what the world would

    look like in our own opponents’ scheme if we were to become enemies, in hopes of

    convincing you that we should expend every effort to avoid that outcome. Kevin will

    then challenge the predictive reliability of the social science model in question, and he

    will demonstrate that despite serious threats to the relationship, the United States and

    China have the motive and the means to contain our competition within peaceful

    boundaries.

  • 00:22:57

    Enemies, talking about enemies tonight. Fundamentally hostile powers who wish each

    other ill. For enemies, the prospect of war is always in the foreground of a relationship,

    although not all enemies fight. I want to emphasize from the beginning that the threat

    of enmity between the United States and China is real and it is not yet clear that we are

    going to have the wisdom to avoid this outcome. Our opponents have done a

    wonderful job of putting — of raising this alarm in very stark terms. But we do have to

    note that we are not enemies now, despite our current concerns. The U.S. is not

    containing China’s rise. In fact, we have promoted that rise. We have aided and

    abetted it. The record of engagement with China is lopsided. China benefits more than

    we do, but we benefit as well.

    Trade. China is our third largest export market after Canada and Mexico. The China

    market is essential to the work of American corporations and the Americans they hire;

    Apple, G.M., Qualcomm, Intel, IBM, Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Johnson &

    Johnson. Furthermore, the import of cheap goods from China was one of the key

    factors that helped low-income Americans to weather the storms of the 2008 financial

    crisis.

  • 00:24:06

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    China now invests in the United States. Cumulative foreign direct investment 54 billion,

    which puts 80,000 Americans to work. 7.3 million Chinese tourists will have visited here

    by 2021, bringing 85 billion annually. We benefit from trade. We also benefit from

    Chinese talent. Over 2 million Chinese students have studied here since the opening in

    1979. And many of them have remained to contribute to our society. Over two million

    Chinese immigrants now live in the United States. It is the third largest foreign born

    group after Mexicans and Indians. And they contribute greatly to every aspect of the

    society. Ten Chinese-Americans have won Nobel Prizes as United States citizens – I’m

    sorry, 10 Chinese immigrants. Five of them were born in China. There’s a friend of mine

    at the Heritage Foundation, Mr. Brookes’s organization, a couple of years ago who said,

    “United States-China relations are not just political, economic, and military, they are

    now personal.”

  • 00:25:03

    The Chinese have become our friends, neighbors, colleagues, co-parishioners. It may

    seem like a cheap move to bring the personal element into this debate about

    international affairs, but it’s actually an essential point. There is scant mention of

    individual wellbeing in John’s theory. Nation states are the fundamental players in his

    anarchic world. But it is individual human beings that are imperiled by this contest for

    dominance.

    What does enmity look like? What would it be like to have China as an enemy? John

    Mearsheimer himself provides the answer in the final chapter of “The Tragedy of Great

    Power Politics.” He says that even if we avoid full-scale war, which would be

    Armageddon, we will face crises, major disputes that threaten war; an arms race, which

    I don’t think we can afford; proxy wars, in which third country citizens will die for our

    purported benefit; bait and bleed strategies to lure the other country into costly foolish

    wars; bloodletting strategies to prolong those conflicts. The U.S. will begin barring

    Chinese students from its universities and we’ll cut down travel restrictions.

  • 00:26:04

    That’s just a partial list. Enmity would also involve a betrayal of America’s professed

    values. Why? As John Mearsheimer says, the United States’ interests would be best

    served by slowing Chinese growth rather than accelerating it. He advocates that we

    harm — deliberately harm the welfare of one fifth of humankind to maintain our

    position as the hegemon. Our opponents say that we are now and will remain long term

    enemies because of a theory and because of Chinese intentions and capabilities which

    dictate that it must be so. This is their idea. We should answer them — we must answer

    them as Ebenezer Scrooge answered the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in his

    dementor’s cloak, pointing a bony finger at a grave. Scrooge said, “Are these the

    shadows of things that will be or are they the shadows of things that may be

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    only? Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which if persevered in they must

    lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus.”

  • 00:27:08

    The message that Kevin and I bring tonight is that it can be thus and it must be. That is

    why you must vote against the motion tonight, again, that the United States and China

    are now and are going to remain long-term enemies. Our opponents are correct about

    the gravity of the challenge. That’s why we’re having this debate here tonight. But we

    do have choices about how we meet and manage those challenges, choices that Kevin

    will soon elucidate for you. Thank you.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, Robert Daly. And a reminder of what’s going on, we are halfway through the

    opening round of this Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate. I’m John Donvan. We have four

    debaters, two teams of two, arguing over this motion, “China and the U.S. Are Longterm

    Enemies.” You’ve heard the first two opening statements, and now on to the

    third. Debating in support of the motion, “China and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies,”

    Peter Brookes. He is senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for

    National Security and Foreign Policy and former deputy secretary of Defense. Ladies

    and gentlemen, Peter Brookes.

    Peter Brookes:

    Thank you.

  • 00:28:12

    [applause]

    My colleague, John, did a great job of developing a framework about how great powers

    act, and unfortunately it’s not a happy story. I’m — my job here tonight is going to give —

    in the first opening, my opening statement is to give some texture and context to what –

    – the paradigm that — as — that paradigm that John set up as it relates to China and the

    United States. In my opinion, China and the United States are strategic competitors,

    they’re strategic rivals, and they’re even enemies. The rhetoric itself bears this out. If

    you listen to the Chinese, they say that the United States is trying to “encircle” or

    “contain” China, the U.S. is an “hegemon,” a dominant power, which has a very strong

    negative connotation, “the U.S. wants to prevent China’s rise –” this is coming out of

    Beijing — “the U.S. feels –” and you see this in commentators here in the United States —

    “that China is trying to push the United States out of Asia, that China wants to replace

    the United States as the preeminent power in the Pacific as the number one world

    power.

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  • 00:29:13

    Both sides agree that there’s a very high level of strategic distrust between the United

    States and China. It gets worse. The United States and China share important interests

    in several global hotspots or flashpoints. The oldest, of course, is Taiwan, not getting a

    lot of press lately, things have been quiet, but China says it’s part of the People’s

    Republic of China. The United States says don’t try to change the status quo by

    force. China refuses to renounce the use of force, and the world — the U.S. would

    probably resist China trying to unify Taiwan with China using force. This is unlikely to be

    resolved any time soon. It’s been ongoing since 1949, and it’s certainly going to remain

    a point of tension between the United States and China. Another old one is the Korean

    Peninsula. Most people don’t think about this.

  • 00:30:01

    China and the United States fought there during the Korean War. China backs North

    Korea, its ally. The U.S. backs South Korea, its ally. War on the Korean Peninsula, in my

    estimation, is possible at any time. If you talk to U.S. forces Korea their motto is ready

    to fight tonight, and that’s a possibility, especially when you’re dealing with the

    leadership up there in North Korea. And if there is a fight there, it would likely involve

    the United States and China. The most recent flashpoints are the East China Sea and the

    South China Sea. Let me start with the East China Sea.

    The PRC, the People’s Republic of China, has a territorial dispute in the East China Sea

    with American ally, Japan. The U.S. says that these islands, known in Japan as Senkaku,

    known in China as the Diaoyu, or the Diaoyutai, are under “Japan’s administration,”

    quote unquote, and that they fall under the U.S. Japan defense treaty. That means that

    the United States could intervene if China decides to aggress against these Japanese

    islands.

  • 00:31:03

    To make this issue tenser, China has declared an air defense identification zone, an

    ADIZ, over the East China Sea that includes these islands. And right afterwards, the

    United States after China declared this ADIZ, the United States sent two B-52 bombers

    through this ADIZ to — as a symbol of strength that — and to make a point to China

    about their declaration. In the South China Sea, China now claims 80 percent of that

    body of water. They say it’s Chinese sovereign territory. By Beijing’s measure, the

    South China Sea is essentially a Chinese lake. Chinese says that the sovereignty over

    that body of water and the islands in it are indisputable. To ensure this, they’re building

    islands on coral reefs and rocky outcrops. On those islands they’re also building ports

    and air fields. Of particular interest is that on one of the islands the runway is 3,000

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    meters long. That’s about 10,000 feet. Longer than any commercial aircraft would need

    for landing, but it will host any of China’s military aircraft.

  • 00:32:08

    The Pacific commander recently said that some of these air fields have revetments that

    are meant to house or hangar tactical fighters. The U.S. is concerned, to say the

    least. Seeding sovereignty rights to China could give Beijing the green light to control

    freedom of the seas and air in the South China Sea. Through the South China Sea flows

    1.5 — or I’m sorry, $5 trillion worth of commerce. Thirty percent of the world’s seaborne

    commerce flows through the South China Sea, $1.2 trillion of that is American. Eighty

    percent of Japan’s, South Korea’s, and Taiwan’s, both either allies or partners of the

    United States, 80 percent of their imported energy goes through the South China

    Sea. Some islands in territory that China claims belong to U.S. allies, such as the

    Philippines. In the coming weeks, the Pentagon has announced that they will sail

    American war ships through the disputed waters around these new islands.

  • 00:33:06

    China isn’t happy about that at all. While conflict over any or all of these scenarios is

    inevitable, both sides are bracing themselves for confrontation, crisis, and possibly

    conflict. Scholars on both sides of the Pacific are talking and writing about the what-if

    questions if crisis comes between the U.S. and China. Indeed neither side is beating

    their swords into plowshares. They’re making new and better swords. China has an

    anti-access aerial denial strategy — this is what the Pentagon calls it — to deter, delay, or

    deny U.S. intervention in the western Pacific. The U.S. has the air/sea battle, a strategy

    to defeat the anti-access aerial denial strategy, although the United States that is — says

    that isn’t directed at any one country. China’s involved in a massive military

    modernization program, double digit increases in its defense budget over the last 25

    years. Emphasis on power projection. They’re building aircraft carriers.

  • 00:34:06

    They’ve — they’re sending their nuclear deterrent to sea in fleet ballistic missile

    submarines. They’re building stealth fighters. They’re exercising significant cyber

    warfare capabilities, including against the United States, and preparing to fight in

    space. The U.S. is countering with a Pacific rebalance. Sixty percent of American ships

    are going to the Pacific. The U.S. Army is growing its presence. Top U.S. weapons

    technology is being sent to the Pacific theater first. That includes F-22s, littoral combat

    ships, the J-35 strike fighter. None of this sounds very friendly, isn’t it? That’s because it

    isn’t. It’s clear that China and the United States are competitors, rivals, indeed

    enemies. This isn’t going to change any time soon. It’s a regrettable fact. I strongly

    recommend that you vote for this motion. Thank you very much.

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    John Donvan:

    Thank you, Peter Brookes. And that motion is “China and the U.S. are long-term

    enemies.” Our final debater against the motion, Kevin Rudd. He is the inaugural

    president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and former prime minister of

    Australia. Ladies and gentlemen, Kevin Rudd.

  • 00:35:12

    [applause]

    Kevin Rudd:

    The proposition we’re looking at tonight’s a serious one. It’s no ordinary

    proposition. Think about it. The proposition we’re being asked to consider is that China

    and the United States are long-term enemies. Weigh those words carefully. These are

    important words. “Long-term enemies,” that they cannot escape from this condition of

    enmity. This is extreme language. Using the term “enemy” in international relations is

    something we rarely do, but not in this proposition. It’s a term we should use with

    extreme caution. Think of the definition of what an enemy is. A country you are

    fighting a war against, the soldiers, et cetera of that country.

  • 00:36:06

    Let us not gloss over the gravity of the language which is being employed in this

    proposition. It’s not just words. It means something much more fundamental. What

    we intend to do tonight is to defeat this proposition on three grounds. One it is

    theoretically dubious; two, practically, as Robert has just demonstrated, it does not

    reflect the current reality, in all of its dimensions and in all of its complexity of the

    current U.S.-China relationship; and three, it is dangerously determinist in the sense that

    it says to us all, we can’t do anything about it. It’s written in the skies. And that

    effectively is what John’s theory of offensive realism says.

  • 00:36:53

    John said before you needed a theory to explain what is going on because we can’t

    predict the future. But then occurs the first fundamental logical step in his

    argument. That fundamental, logical step is as follows: He says that we should take,

    therefore, at face value, the proposition that a theory of international relations can be

    reliably predictive. Where is that mysteriously established? Is it written in the

    stars? No, it’s not. It is simply an assertion. And in fact, if you look at the whole body of

    literature on international relations, there are as many people arguing against the

    proposition that you can be predictive about anything in the social sciences, let alone in

    politics, let alone in international relations, let alone a theory which says the United

    States and China are going to be and are now enemies. There is something that the

    scholars would describe, too, as overcoming physics envy. What do they mean by

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    that? That there’s the hard sciences out there, the biological sciences, the physical

    sciences. They have predictive laws. We can use that method. And the social sciences

    devise the same sort of principles which can therefore predict human behavior.

  • 00:38:08

    Well, pigs might fly. There is a huge body of counterevidence to that. But for this to be

    the foundational proposition of John’s argument, that because he has a theory called

    offensive realism, international relations, it is, by definition, predictive of where the

    United States and China are and will be is of itself logically flawed. The second logical

    flaw in the argument is as follows: He said before that it is clear to us all that we cannot

    predict the future intentions of states. I think I’ve got that right, John. We cannot

    predict the future intentions of states. I then listened carefully to John list four separate

    predictions about China’s attitude. China will want to demonstrate and demonstrate

    through its behavior its domination of East Asia, just like the U.S. did. That’s a

    statement of intention. You then go on to say that they’ll want to push the United

    States out of Asia.

  • 00:39:06

    That’s a statement of your conclusions about Chinese intentions. You have said they

    want to be original hegemon. That’s a statement of Chinese intentions, and that we,

    the United States, won’t want them to do that. That’s a statement of American

    intentions. You cannot have your cake and eat it too, and say, we cannot predict a

    state’s intentions and list four areas in which you are making those precise

    predictions. It’s not just logically inconsistent, it’s dangerous, because by being so

    predictive, it infers that conflict and war are somehow inevitable. That is not our

    proposition, not our proposition at all. I also have a theoretical premise. Some would

    say it’s Marxist. Listen to this. Politics, international politics, is the art of looking for

    trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong — the

    wrong remedies, so says Groucho Marx.

    [laughter]

  • 00:40:03

    When we look at the proposition which is before us, it is theoretically flawed. And as

    my colleague Robert has demonstrated, it doesn’t bear any relationship to the complex

    reality which is unfolding in U.S.-China relations, across politics, across commerce, and

    across people-to-people engagement. But what I’m fundamentally concerned about is

    additional argument against this proposition, it is dangerously determinist. It says that

    we, through diplomacy or political leadership cannot affect an action. It is basically

    saying that international relations, we’ve now got the application of Calvinist

    predestination. It’s all out there and we can’t stop it. That’s what offensive realism has

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    as its core proposition. It’s a bit like saying that Nixon and Mao had nothing to do

    through their individual diplomatic activity in changing the course of the future of U.S.-

    China relations. Well, they did through leadership. It’s arguing that Deng Xiaoping had

    no impact possibly individually on China’s economic future, that that was somehow

    automatically written in the stars. That’s wrong.

  • 00:41:06

    Individual political leaders do make a difference. And so it goes on with others who

    have contributed to the U.S.-China relationship. The point is this: There is nothing

    determinist about international relations. We decide on our futures between countries

    just as we decide upon our futures between ourselves. It is a matter of what the

    theorist would describe as human agency. We get to make the choice. And through our

    political leaders, we can choose to make a choice. An alternative approach is what I call

    constructive realism; not offensive realism, but constructive realism. Recognize the

    realist differences which exist between America and — and China; recognize that there

    are fundamental differences in the East China Sea, the South China Sea, over Taiwan, on

    cyber, in space, on human rights, but at the same time recognize that there are multiple

    domains of constructive engagement. How do you deal conjointly with the problem of

    North Korean nuclear proliferation? How do you deal now conjointly with the problems

    of terrorism in Central Asia which afflicts China as much as anybody else?

  • 00:42:09

    How do we grow the global economy through our combined growth strategies? These

    are areas of constructive engagement which can build political capital over time and

    help us deal with the fundamental problems of the future in this relationship as well.

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, Kevin Rudd.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:

    And that concludes round one of this Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, where our

    motion is “China and the U.S. are long-term enemies.” Please keep in mind how you

    voted again at the beginning of the arguments, because we’re going to have you vote a

    second time. And again to remind you that the way that we determine victory is the

    difference between the first and the second vote. It’s the change between the two

    votes. Now we move on to round two. Round two is where the debaters address one

    another directly and take questions from me and you, our live audience here in New

    York City. Our motion is this: China and the U.S. are long-term enemies.

  • 00:43:09

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    We have two debaters for this motion, John Mearsheimer and Peter Brookes. We’ve

    heard them argue that while they are not predicting war, they are in a sense predicting

    something similar to Cold War, where hostility will rule between the two nations, where

    there is destined to be competition in terms of arms race, proxy wars, security

    crises. They say that a rising China inevitably will want to dominate its region which

    puts it in conflict, serious conflict, with the United States, and that at present, China’s

    own rhetoric seems to prefigure this, a rhetoric of fighting words and an action in terms

    of local activities in its region where China is already attempting to expand its borders

    and seize territory of allies which will draw the United States into an even more hostile

    relationship. The team arguing against the motion, Kevin Rudd and Robert Daly are

    saying, yes, potentially all of that might happen, but it’s not inevitable.

  • 00:44:06

    It does not have to happen. This dire outcome is avoidable and can be managed

    wisely. They say the term “enemy” is a word that must be used with extreme caution,

    and that there are very many venues in which the United States and China can work out

    their differences, which are real. But once again, they say that what their opponents are

    talking about is far, far from inevitable. I want to go to the team that’s arguing for the

    motion, and particularly to John Mearsheimer because you put forward what’s turned

    into the theory that for the last few minutes we’ve heard much critique of, and it’s the

    theory that there’s an inevitability at present to — the sense of a conflict between the

    U.S. and China because of China’s growing influence, power, and natural aspirations. I

    don’t want to spend the evening dissecting your theory, but we’re going to pass through

    that territory now. Your opponents are saying that you’re contradicting yourself by

    saying on the one hand, “We can’t really know the intentions of China,” and, on the

    other hand, that you are citing the intentions of China, interesting attack on your

    position. I’d like to know what your response is to it.

  • 00:45:15

    John Mearsheimer:

    Yes, my three points about the structure of the system, the third point was that you

    cannot know intentions. That was a starting assumption. And what I did was I took all

    three of the assumptions and then you mix them together. And what that does is cause

    states to pursue hegemony and to prevent a peer competitor. So there’s no question

    that once you mix all of the assumptions together, right, the uncertainty of that

    intentions, you do get certainty about intentions in that states do pursue hegemony.

    John Donvan:

    Okay, so I see the logic of that, and I want to see if your opponents do as well. Let’s take

    that — Kevin Rudd.

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    Kevin Rudd:

    I certainly don’t.

  • 00:45:57

    You cannot on the one hand provide a theory which seeks to be descriptive of a current

    reality normative about what that future reality might be and at the same time suggest

    that you’re not providing a description of predictive intent on the part of the other

    country and then walk away from describing the fact that, that is their predictive intent.

    John Donvan:

    But, Kevin, I think —

    Kevin Rudd:

    It is either determinist, which it is, of the level of determinism, which Georg Friedrich

    Hegel would be embarrassed, or it leaves an option for diplomacy and what we call

    “human agency.” And if I’ve read John’s theories carefully about offensive realism, it

    provides little if any opportunity for human agency to say, “Let’s negotiate our way

    through.”

    John Mearsheimer:

    I don’t —

    John Donvan:

    John Mearsheimer, yeah.

    John Mearsheimer:

    — I think the theory is deterministic. I think that’s a legitimate criticism. I think my

    response to John’s question about intentions clears that up. I don’t think the intentions

    issue is a real issue. But the point about determinism is correct. John is — I mean, Kevin

    is saying there’s hardly any agency in my story, individuals don’t matter, there’s no

    possibility for managing this so it ends happily. He’s correct in that regard.

  • 00:47:11

    John Donvan:

    For the high school senior out there listening to our podcast, five-syllable word,

    “deterministic,” I think it would be useful, for me personally —

    [laughter]

    — I’d like to take this burden upon myself —

    [laughter]

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    — to just give us a definition of “deterministic” so that we all know exactly what we

    mean by that. And, Robert Daly, why don’t you take that.

    Robert Daly:

    It means that it is bound to happen.

    John Donvan:

    It’s inevitable.

    Robert Daly:

    It’s inevitable. There’s no agency. You have no choice. Tomorrow morning the sun will

    rise in the east. That’s determined.

    John Donvan:

    All right.

    John Mearsheimer:

    That’s correct.

    Robert Daly:

    And I was just saying —

    Kevin Rudd:

    The morning after, there’ll be war.

    [laughter]

    John Mearsheimer:

    Show me a — but this just illustrates my point — show me a country that had the raw

    capability to dominate its region of the world and passed that up, not a single

    case. Show me a case where the United States was up against a potential peer

    competitor and decided to sit it out, not a single case.

  • 00:48:09

    John Donvan:

    Robert Daly.

    Robert Daly:

    Yes, I would think that China will have the capability. I actually agree with our

    opponents about China’s ideal state of affairs, that China would, of course, very much

    like to be the hegemon of East Asia. The question is not what China wants. The

    question in international relations is what China will settle for, just as the question is

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    what we will settle for. China is constrained. It can’t have everything that it wants in its

    fondest dreams, and it knows it. Why? It faces tremendous domestic pressures,

    problems of political legitimacy and stability, the challenge of continued economic

    development — you all know that the Chinese economy is slowing, we are feeling it here

    in our stock market — problems of polluted, not only air and water, but land which takes

    longer to abate, a water shortage in the north, income disparity, no — very poor social

    safety net. It goes on and on. Their primary objective is to maintain stability and to

    maintain the party’s monopoly on political power.

  • 00:49:09

    That constrains them internationally. China has no allies to speak of. It has no soft

    power. It is also unlike the United States when we formed the Monroe Doctrine,

    surrounded by very strong countries. The combined population, economic power, GDP,

    and military budgets of China’s neighbors are greater than that of China itself, and that’s

    before you even add the United States into the formula. And the United States is by far

    the strongest military power in —

    John Donvan:

    All right, let’s let’s let your opponent break in, Peter.

    Peter Brookes:

    Yeah, I mean, I think what Robert is talking about is interesting, but I mean, I think the

    only thing I really remember from their lectures was Sesame Street, Christmas Carol,

    and Groucho Marx, in terms of the question here.

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:

    They have much to teach you.

    Peter Brookes:

    Right. Exactly. A lot of fiction in there and it continues. The issue here is that — and

    they’re playing — their parsing on the word enemy, and if you look up the word enemy

    in the dictionary what you actually —

  • 00:50:04

    Kevin Rudd:

    That is a fiction.

    John Donvan:

    What’s that?

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    Kevin Rudd:

    The biggest fiction is that deterrence theory says there’s not an alternative. That is the

    biggest fiction which we are —

    John Donvan:

    You’ve made that point and I give the floor back to Peter.

    Peter Brookes:

    What I think they’re overlooking, what Robert is overlooking certainly is that — is

    aspiration and ambitions not capabilities. Aspirations and ambitions. And if China has

    these aspirations and ambitions, there’s going to be a rivalrous relationship. There’s

    going to tensions. There — so the issue here is not can China do this. I think they’re

    making, as I pointed out in my lecture, all of the stubborn facts about China’s rise and

    their military modernization. But the fact of the matter is is that enemy does not

    necessarily mean war. Look it up in the dictionary. It only means someone who

    opposes something or someone. And we have — we already have that. We have that

    situation with China today. So it’s about ambitions and aspirations.

    Robert Daly:

    I looked enemy up in several dictionaries. It is not the same thing as an opponent nor is

    it the same thing as a nation that is ambitious.

    Male Speaker:

    We’re under [unintelligible]

    Male Speaker:

    Enemy is an opponent or a rival.

  • 00:51:10

    Kevin Rudd:

    The Oxford dictionary says a country you are fighting a war against, the soldiers, et

    cetera, of that country, and we’re debating under Oxford rules, I was told.

    [laughter]

    Peter Brookes:

    In an American — wait a minute — in the American dictionary it doesn’t say that. Look at

    Merrian-Webster’s.

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:

    Well, I — wait, wait, wait.

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    Kevin Rudd:

    I’m not an American. I don’t know why we’re debating under Oxford rules, but —

    John Donvan:

    But you’re — I want to say to the side arguing against the motion that your opponents

    who are arguing that the U.S. and China are long-term enemies made an analogy with

    the Cold War in which the — Russia and the United States never actually fought a war,

    but that this — but that it takes place at the margins through proxy wars, arms races, et

    cetera. So I think it’s fair for them to be making that argument that that constitutes

    enmity, as well as all-out war.

  • 00:52:01

    Robert Daly:

    There is a rivalrous aspect to the relationship. It is growing. It is dangerous and we have

    to work to counter it, but there is also a cooperative aspect to the relationship, whether

    it’s climate change or fighting Ebola together or in peace-keeping missions. The United

    States gives more money to U.N. peace-keeping missions than any other country. China

    sends more people. We work together very closely in a way that we never did with the

    Soviet Union when we were containing it. We weren’t educating the best and brightest

    Soviet minds. So it’s not containment. There is a rivalrous aspect, but there’s

    something else, too. The question is how do we balance them and try to keep a thumb

    on the cooperative side.

    John Donvan:

    John Mearsheimer.

    John Mearsheimer:

    Yeah, I want to respond to Robert’s point. He’s correct that when you look at economic

    intercourse it’s not a rivalry. It’s at the security level that there’s a rivalry, and that’s

    why it’s not good to compare it to the Cold War as he pointed out, but what you want to

    compare it to is the pre-World War I period, because there was a tremendous amount

    of economic intercourse in Europe before World War I, but this was also an intense

    security competition, which centered around Germany.

  • 00:53:06

    And the question is in the end was it that security competition or that economic

    intercourse that was peaceful that trumped the other, and the answer is it was the

    security competition that won. And I think the argument that Peter and I are making is

    that the security competition will eventually overwhelm the economic cooperation

    correctly described.

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    John Donvan:

    Is there a reason, Kevin Rudd, for why it’s different with China? Why that doesn’t have

    to be inevitable with China?

    Kevin Rudd:

    To flip out of a question which John has asked, but we haven’t answered, and I’ll come

    back to the one you just put before, which is that he said point to a period in history

    where he’s determinist theory hasn’t applied. Look at the period after World War

    II. Britain, France, Germany. They’d been at it for how many decades? How many

    centuries trying to wipe each other off the planet? Well, they decided finally, finally

    after 1945 that it was timeout, and frankly diplomacy prevailed and eventually they

    formed something imperfect called the European Union, but guess what?

  • 00:54:08

    The historically determinist narrative about Anglo French relations, about FrancoGerman

    relations was finally resolved through the construction of diplomacy. A

    European Union was built. You may criticize its economic performance, but at least

    there hasn’t been a war in Europe for 70 years. That’s diplomatic intervention. In the

    case of China and the question of supremacy of economics over politics, all I would say

    is that there is a huge amount of positive economic engagement between the two

    countries, a whole lot of friction as well, but the totality of the relationship has got as

    much difficulty on the security side as there is engagement in the other dimensions as

    well, and now common security exercises as well behind the scenes. How do the two

    countries now deal with the problem of North Korean nuclear proliferation?

    John Donvan:

    Let’s bring that point to Peter Brookes. What your opponent just laid out were several

    ways in which there are — there are avenues for cooperation that could —

  • 00:55:06

    Peter Brookes:

    Such as the Trans-Pacific partnership that doesn’t include China? I mean, I don’t see any

    economic cooperation there. I mean, we are rivalrous with China on so many levels,

    whether you’re talking about diplomatically, whether you’re talking about — whether

    you’re talking about human rights, whether you’re talking about economics. The United

    States just completed a trade pact in the Pacific that does not include China. How do

    you account for that? If you talk about human agency — and I don’t think anybody is

    looking for a fight.

    Kevin Rudd:

    But hang on.

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    Peter Brookes:

    But the fact of the matter is —

    Kevin Rudd:

    John’s theory is [unintelligible]. We — it doesn’t matter whether you want to or whether

    you don’t want to. According to his approach, which he says he shares with realists in

    China, a fight under those terms is inevitable. I have a different approach because

    diplomacy can choose other ways through. Kissinger did that in the early ’70s. We can

    choose to do that again in the future.

  • 00:55:59

    On the TPP you just referred to, and it’s a good example, what I note is once the TPP is

    passed, at least in terms of negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, what you now

    find is that China’s public language is changed from one of outright hostility to one of

    saying, “I wonder how in fact we can now get into this.” In the last three to six months,

    their public language has changed.

    Robert Daly:

    That’s a very good example of the fact that we cannot determine, but we can shape

    China’s decisions by our own actions and our own policies.

    John Donvan:

    We are focusing very much on shaping China’s decisions so far, and on China’s actions,

    China’s motives, whether we can know them or not. I want to take to the side arguing

    for the motion, United States’ action, motives and intentions and ask you whether there

    is a responsibility on the United States side, in your view, for aggravating this

    situation. And if so, is there something that the United — does the United States need to

    retreat from its ambitions in order to stem off the sort of situation you’re talking

    about? Or is that inevitably impossible? Peter Brookes.

  • 00:56:58

    Peter Brookes:

    I would — I would say that countries try to protect and advance their interests. The

    United States is a Pacific nation. We have more trade with the Pacific than we do with

    Europe today. We have significant — we have allies out there. We have five sets of

    allies — in the Pacific theater. We have defense and security commitments. As I

    mentioned, $1.2 trillion in trade goes through the South China Sea. So I think the United

    States is trying to protect its interests, meet its obligations. Of course, putting into play

    human agency, the United States could move away from those commitments. It could

    move away from securing its interests. It could move away from trying to advance the

    interests of the American people in the Pacific. It could cede the prominent position to

    the Chinese. That is certainly a choice. But I don’t believe that nations operate in that

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    manner. I believe that, just like the Chinese, they are trying to advance and protect

    their interests, and the United States is doing the same thing. And the problem is that

    the United States and China are not in alignment on their interests. This happens. And

    that’s where this competition and rivalry comes from.

  • 00:58:03

    John Donvan:

    Robert Daly.

    Robert Daly:

    I would like to ask what the United States should do. I just met Professor Mearsheimer

    back stage, seemed like a very nice guy. But you have advocated the United States, in

    defense of its interests and to protect its current status, actively seek to harm the

    economy of China, a place that has brought hundreds of millions of people out of

    absolute poverty. You advocate for dropping some of them back into poverty. This

    would hurt their medical system, their educational system. Is this what we want to do

    and be? Are these sorts of methods that we have to use that we are predetermined to

    use?

    John Mearsheimer:

    Let me ask you a question.

    John Donvan:

    Wait, he just asked you a question.

    [laughter]

    John Mearsheimer:

    No, but it’s —

    Peter Brookes:

    The best way to respond is with a question, right?

    John Mearsheimer:

    It’s a rhetorical question. If you were in Britain in 1900, and you had been watching

    Germany rise since 1870, and you were really nervous about Germany, right, and you

    could see a security competition coming, would you — and you could have hit a switch

    that would have slowed down German economic growth significantly, would you have

    hit that switch, given what you now know?

  • 00:59:12

    Robert Daly:

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    This is not an academic exercise.

    John Mearsheimer:

    No —

    Robert Daly:

    I don’t pretend to know as much about Germany and Britain in those years. I know a

    great deal about–

    John Mearsheimer:

    Well, you know —

    Robert Daly:

    — China and the United States.

    John Mearsheimer:

    — did you know there was World War I and then there was World War II?

    Robert Daly:

    Real people —

    [talking simultaneously, unintelligible]

    John Donvan:

    All right, all right, all right. [unintelligible]

    [talking simultaneously]

    John Donvan:

    We’re going to stop this a second and — and John Mearsheimer, I still want to hear your

    answer to his question.

    John Mearsheimer:

    Which is the question?

    John Donvan:

    You don’t remember his question?

    [laughter]

    John Mearsheimer:

    No.

    John Donvan:

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    His question is, what would you do — and he says that you are talking about actually

    harming — harming the other side.

    John Mearsheimer:

    No. If I was in a position to slow down Chinese economic growth, I would definitely do

    it. China is going to be a potential peer competitor. And we’re going to have an intense

    security competition. And you go to countries like Japan, you go to countries like the

    Philippines, Vietnam, they see this one coming.

  • 01:00:08

    And people there, if they could have a switch that would slow down the Chinese

    economy, they’d do it as well because they know what’s going to happen when China

    becomes really powerful. And remember, we’re talk about a China that’s much more

    powerful in 20 or 30 years than it is now; has a lot more weight to throw around. The

    Chinese have made it very clear that they’re going to throw that weight around. They

    think they own the South China Sea. They want Taiwan back. They want the Senkaku

    Diaoyu Islands back. This is not a status quo power.

    Male Speaker:

    Of course, you know, the –

    John Donvan:

    Let me let your opponents respond. Kevin Rudd.

    Kevin Rudd:

    On the minds of every chancellor in the world today is this: What will happen in Chinese

    economic growth stalls? That’s the question today, because it actually sucks out what

    little growth there is in the global economy today. It sucks out the job opportunities

    which were emerging in Africa and Latin America and other parts of the world. And as a

    consequence, the damage to American jobs is a consequence of global growth going

    down and global demand for U.S. goods and services goes down as well.

  • 01:01:11

    That is the most self-defeating argument I’ve seen. Your point about what alternative

    options exist other than seeking to economically strangle a country is as follows: In the

    period leading up to the first world war, if you read, I think, the seminal text called

    “Sleep Walking to War,” published in 2013-14, it points to a [unintelligible] failure of

    diplomacy between Berlin, Paris and Vienna and London in the critical months of July of

    1914, where diplomacy could have averted conflict. That is the conclusion of the most

    seminal and recent study of the events leading up to the First World War, the idea that

    Britain could have even conceived of strangling the German economy in 1900 was

    simply not on the table and would have been injurious to general growth in Europe then

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    in a way in which such an action towards China today by the United States or anyone

    else would be injurious to the entire world’s work force.

  • 01:02:12

    John Donvan:

    All right. I want to let Peter Brookes respond to that. But before he starts to speak, I

    want to say, after he answers and makes his point, I’m going to go to you for

    questions. Just to remind you of how it works. Raise your hand, I’ll call on you. Please

    stand up, tell us your name and then ask a question. Please, I really don’t want you to

    make a speech before you ask the question, but I’m fine with you, you know, stating a

    premise, but then really get to the question and really nail it. And if you can’t do it, I will

    have to move on to somebody else. But go ahead, Peter Brookes.

    Peter Brookes:

    I mean, I — Kevin’s spending a lot of time talking about diplomacy, and I appreciate that,

    and obviously, diplomacy can play a very positive role. But I have to say, diplomacy’s

    failing. The state visit of Xi Jinping just recently to the United States was a very tense

    relationship, very tense meeting. Talking about cyber, the Chinese have pilfered 20 plus

    million, personal information, 20 plus million American government employees,

    including myself. And the U.S. chamber of commerce will tell you they’re dealing with

    the most hostile business climate in China today that they’ve ever faced before.

  • 01:03:12

    And, of course, this issue of the South China Sea. So nobody doubts that diplomacy can

    have a positive role. But I’m telling you today, based on all the things that I’ve told you,

    that diplomacy’s failing.

    John Donvan:

    Let’s go to some questions. Right down front here. And then I saw you in the back. I’ll

    come back to you after that. Thanks.

    Ethan Bronner:

    I’m Ethan Bronner. My question is for your side. Is there not any change in the

    international order the way countries relate to one another since World War II, World

    War II came up, that affects this sense of inevitability. Is there not something that says

    that countries actually need one another, that we relate to one another in ways that

    100 years ago and longer ago people did not know and therefore it didn’t affect their

    behavior?

    John Donvan:

    John Mearsheimer?

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  • 01:04:08

    John Mearsheimer:

    I think the answer to that is no. And I think if you look at U.S.-Russian relations today,

    and you look at U.S.-Chinese relations today, and you look at U.S.-Iranian relations

    today, those are three glaring examples that contradict what you say. When we

    expanded NATO and the EU eastward, we thought that international politics had

    changed, that realpolitik was finished and we could get away with expanding NATO and

    the EU, and it would have no consequences. We found out exactly the opposite was the

    case, because Putin is a first-class realpolitiker. The same thing applies to East

    Asia. There’s all sorts of evidence out there that the Chinese think in realpolitik

    terms. And if you look at the competition that’s beginning to brew, it runs against the

    argument that international politics has changed. Look at the Middle East today. It’s

    hard to believe that all these new theories that were put on the table when the Cold

    War ended apply there. So there are just lots of examples where there’s trouble in the

    system.

  • 01:05:12

    John Donvan:

    Let me let the other side answer that question, whether, in fact, the world in some

    fashion is different today so that what happened 100 years ago is not destiny today.

    Robert Daly:

    Well, even within the constraints of John’s determinist theory, there are real-politik

    forces that speak against China successfully becoming a hegemon. It will be balanced

    against and deterred by the very strong countries on its periphery, sometimes in alliance

    with each other and sometimes singly. We also — we already see China’s aggression in

    the South China Sea and the East China Sea, causing countries to draw closer to the

    United States, inviting the Marines in to northern Australia, letting American ships

    rotate through harbors, countries that in the past have been quite close to China. We

    see Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia. So even within the system we see balances that are

    going to constrain China.

  • 01:06:03

    John Donvan:

    Let’s go to the question in the back. It’s all the way — second to the last row.

    Male Speaker:

    Thank you. Hi. My name’s Sean Donahue [spelled phonetically]. And as China

    continues their development in their pivot westward into Central Asia with

    infrastructure development, do you think that will change the American foreign policy

    calculus more in line with China as we see them as an ally in global developments?

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    John Donvan:

    Kevin Rudd.

    Kevin Rudd:

    Well, with China there’s always going to be competition, there’s always going to be

    cooperation. Both these realities are always confronting us every day of the week. On

    this one in terms of China’s investment program through the Asian infrastructure

    investment bank and [unintelligible] investment fund and other such financial entities,

    the Chinese spot an economic opportunity. They see there’s overcapacity in the

    construction industry within their own country. They want to actually be able to export

    that and grow the infrastructure of Southern and Central Asia through to the Middle

    East at the same time. My argument is there’s a market there.

  • 01:07:02

    There’s a huge deficit in infrastructure in that part of the world. Why not U.S.-Chinese

    entrepreneurs get together and make a buck together, build infrastructure, and at the

    same time improve the livelihoods of those in that part of the world? There are a large

    list of cooperative possibilities in finance and in commerce between U.S. and Chinese

    firms. And at the same time there’s going to be a whole lot of competition and a whole

    lot of aggravation as well. But that is life. It’s never going to be clean. It’s never going

    to be neat. But both those things are possible.

    Male Speaker:

    And if you could –

    [talking simultaneously]

    Robert Daly:

    I think truly and fundamentally [inaudible] will not cooperate.

    John Donvan:

    I want to bring it to the other side.

    Peter Brookes:

    I think that Kevin makes our point about the rivalrous — in the competition the rivalrous

    relationship between the United States and China. The United States has its own Silk

    Road initiative. China’s had their own Silk Road initiative. It’s not with the United

    States. He talked about the AIAB, the investment bank — the Asian investment bank,

    which challenges the Asian development bank. They’re talking about the BRICs, Brazil,

    Russia, Indian, and China, which does not include the United States.

  • 01:08:06

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    So I spend a lot of time talking about how the military competition is heating up,

    because I think that’s what really people feel comfortable about when they talk about

    enemies, but the fact of the matter, once again, is that there’s competition between the

    United States diplomatically and economically. And I think Kevin just made that point.

    John Donvan:

    Another question? Right center there? Mike’s coming from your right-hand side.

    Female Speaker:

    Thank you. My name is Linda Drumm [spelled phonetically]. And I wanted to ask you

    how you think the fact that China owns so much of our debt will affect our relationship

    in the future.

    John Donvan:

    And in terms of the enmity, is that a force for peace of conflict?

    Female Speaker:

    Yes.

    Peter Brookes:

    Well –

    [laughter]

    — right.

    John Donvan:

    I’m just trying to help you hone to the –

    Peter Brookes:

    This is a very interesting question. And a lot of people are very uncomfortable with the

    fact that China owns so much of our debt. They’re actually selling off some of our debt

    at the moment right now. It’s changing.

  • 01:09:01

    But the Chinese, because their currency is not convertible, Chinese firms that do

    business here in the United States basically have to come back and sell their dollars to

    the government to get RMB. Or renminbi. So it’s the way the system works because

    the currency isn’t convertible. And then the Chinese have to do something with that

    debt, so they can buy Boeing aircraft, they can — you know, they can buy soybeans, or

    they can buy U.S. debt. And obviously the U.S. debt is still considered to be the world’s

    most stable and probably the best investment for them.

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    John Donvan:

    I’d like to let the other side respond to that if you’d like to take it.

    Robert Daly:

    Well, that’s correct.

    John Donvan:

    Robert Daly.

    Robert Daly:

    Many Americans think that China owns the majority of our debt. They don’t. They are

    the second largest foreign holder of our debt. Japan just surpassed them again. For a

    while China was number one. I think they have something like 7.6, 7.4, total American

    sovereign debt, so it’s really not that big an issue for the reasons Peter just mentioned,

    because the total volumes aren’t that great.

    John Donvan:

    So does it have a little impact on the debate tonight about whether China and U.S. are –

    Peter Brookes:

    Well, I think it’s perception. It’s a perception.

  • 01:10:02

    I think most Americans are probably pretty unhappy about that. I mean, I think we’re —

    our culture says that debt is not necessarily a good thing and coming out of difficult

    economic times I think people are probably uncomfortable with that, and having the

    Chinese Communist Party hold majority or near majority of American debt is probably

    uncomfortable for some people.

    John Donvan:

    But it’s a little hard to blame China for that.

    Robert Daly:

    No, I’m not blaming — I’m not blaming China for that, but I think what an interesting

    point is, going back to what they criticized John about, I wasn’t sure exactly what they

    were referring to in terms of John’s writings, but the fact is, is that the money that China

    makes in the United States goes to a lot of things, including their military

    modernization. Now I was kind of rushed through my list there, but I want you to make

    sure you understand that over the last 25 years, China has had an average of double

    digit increases, that means 10 percent or more, in its defense budget. Now it’s not the

    same as the United States. Of course, things are cheaper in China, but this shows a

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    commitment to increasing their military capabilities, which obviously will brush up

    against ours in the Asia Pacific region.

  • 01:11:02

    Kevin Rudd:

    I think we just did a bit of context in this. The U.S. defense budget presently runs about

    $700 billion a year. The Chinese defense budget, based on the external analyses, not

    the internal analyses, somewhere in the vicinity of $200, $225 billion at the upper range

    calculus, and that’s by the Stockholm Independent Peace Research Institute who take no

    sides. So that’s the current relativity. Secondly, the U.S. budget has been — defense

    budget, has been massively in excess of China’s for the last 50 years. You have nearly 10

    carrier battle groups. They’ve got a crapped out Ukrainian aircraft carrier, which can

    barely make it out to sea, let alone back. It doesn’t have a single carrier battle

    group. It’s developing a submarine capability, but let me tell you if I was in the betting

    race for the next 25 years you line up all the assets in order of battle of the Pacific

    command of the United States of America, with which I have some familiarity as an

    Australian, and the Chinese order of battle, let me tell you who I’d be backing any day of

    the week, and for the next 30 years plus.

    John Donvan:

    John Mearsheimer.

    John Mearsheimer:

    Yeah, but that doesn’t contradict Peter’s point. If you go back –

    Kevin Rudd:

    Oh, I think it goes some way towards it.

    [laughter]

  • 01:12:08

    John Mearsheimer:

    No. If you go back to 1980 and you look at the size and quality of the Chinese military

    and you compare it to the size and quality of that military today, there has been a

    fundamental change. It’s a much more formidable military, and what we’re talking

    about here is what’s going to happen over the next 20, 30, 40 years as China turns into a

    giant Taiwan or a giant Hong Kong. It is going to have many more resources to spend on

    defense, and it’s going to build a military that’s probably the equal, if not the superior,

    of the United States.

    Kevin Rudd:

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    Well, I think in further response again, there is a thing called demography, John. The

    aging the Chinese population, the workforce began shrinking three years ago. It will

    start to decrease probably by the time we get to the late 2020s. As a consequence of

    that, with the rapid aging of the Chinese population, the pressure on the Chinese budget

    for the next 30 years in terms of looking after old people, is going to start to rival that of

    the western world.

  • 01:13:11

    As they say in China, we’re going to get old before we get rich and powerful. This will be

    a huge constraint on military outlays as well.

    John Donvan:

    Yeah, Peter Brookes.

    Peter Brookes:

    I mean — Kevin, you know, facts are inconvenient and stubborn things sometimes, but

    when you talk about the defense budget –

    Kevin Rudd:

    [unintelligible]

    Peter Brookes:

    — well, you talk about the defense budget. The United States is also in war. China’s not

    at war. Also, the Chinese — most of the Chinese budget, a lot of the Chinese budget is

    not included in these figures.

    Kevin Rudd:

    That’s why –

    [talking simultaneously]

    — external –

    Peter Brookes:

    Right. It’s a lot cheaper to build things in China than the United States, but the fact is by

    2020 China will have 300 modern submarines, ships in the Pacific region and the United

    States will have 180. As a Soviet general once reminded me, there’s a certain quality in

    quantity, so don’t overlook — I’m backing as a Navy commander, I’m backing our sailors,

    our airmen, our marines, and our soldiers. But the fact of the matter is you cannot

    overlook –

    [talking simultaneously]

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    Peter Brookes:

    The Chinese are also build –

    [talking simultaneously]

    John Donvan:

    Kevin, can I –

    Male Speaker:

    [unintelligible]

    John Donvan:

    Kevin, hang on a second. Kevin, hang.

    Kevin Rudd:

    That’s a gross exaggeration.

    John Donvan:

    You finish your point.

    Peter Brookes:

    I’m finished.

    John Donvan:

    Great.

    [laughter]

  • 01:14:16

    You talk, Kevin.

    Kevin Rudd:

    They have 65 at present.

    John Donvan:

    I want to remind you that we are in the question and answer section of this Intelligence

    Squared U.S. debate.

    [laughter]

    I have to do this without your chuckling. I want to remind you that we are in the

    question and answer section of this Intelligence Squared U.S. debate. I’m Jon Donvan,

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    your moderator. We have four debaters, two teams of two debating this motion: China

    and the U.S. Are Long-Term Enemies. Robert Daly.

    Robert Daly:

    Quick response to John’s last point about positing the People’s Republic of China as

    Taiwan or Hong Kong writ large. China is currently about number 80 in the world in per

    capita GDP. To posit the People’s Republic of China as wealthy as Hong Kong or Taiwan

    and to plan up against and to fight against that, this is not a prediction made based on a

    structural determinist model. This is simply an act of prophecy. There’s no grounds for

    it.

  • 01:15:12

    John Donvan:

    Another question, right on the end there.

    Male Speaker:

    Don Laurie [spelled phonetically]. Stapleton Roy, a former ambassador to China, asked

    the current premier of China, “What are your two biggest problems?” He said, “How do

    I feed one and a half billion people every day, and how do I ensure a certain level of

    employment?” So my question is, what do the — what should the relative leaders of

    these countries be thinking about the issues we’re talking about?

    John Donvan:

    John Mearsheimer.

    John Mearsheimer:

    Well, very quickly, my argument is that for purposes of Chinese security, what the

    Chinese should think about doing is dominating Asia the same way we dominate the

    Western hemisphere. I think they’d be foolish to do otherwise. I know all sorts of

    Chinese who agree with that. And in fact Robert has made the point that if the Chinese

    could dominate Asia, they would do it. That’s my point.

  • 01:16:09

    What should we do? My point is that the United States of America should make sure we

    don’t have a peer competitor. I’m glad we fought against imperial Germany, imperial

    Japan, Nazi Germany, and we contained the Soviet Union. And if China continues to

    rise, I think the United States will continue to pivot to Asia, and we will do everything we

    can to check China. And I think that makes perfectly good sense. Is this a tragic

    situation? I think the answer is yes. But nevertheless, I think it’s inevitable.

    John Donvan:

    Robert Daly.

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    Robert Daly:

    The United States must make sure that we do not have a peer competitor for our

    security. Think about what this means. This is a brutalist philosophy. The proposition is

    that even if China were to change in some of the ways that proponents of engagement

    have been said that we hope it changes, even if they just as a thought experiment,

    adapted our Constitution and our laws wholesale, we should still try to limit their

    growth merely because we shouldn’t have a peer competitor. That is the proposition.

  • 01:17:10

    Regardless of beliefs, regardless of people striving for human flourishing along the lines

    that we have been prescribing to the world for decades, if they actually appear to be

    succeeding, regardless of their beliefs, we must stop them even if it means pushing

    them back toward poverty.

    John Donvan:

    Robert, I — Robert, I don’t — I don’t mean this question cynically or sarcastically, but

    what’s wrong with that?

    Robert Daly:

    Well, I would sort of throw that out to John –

    John Donvan:

    You can move in a little bit closer to your mic, please.

    Robert Daly:

    Sure. I think that we’re better than that. I think that it flies in the face of the values that

    we have been preaching to the rest of the world for the past 200 years. We have been

    given them a very careful text about how some form of liberal democracy, pluralistic

    political institutions, capitalist — capitalism and markets will help them to flourish, that

    we can flourish together, that we can share our educational systems, science and

    technology and that this is what we are about. John, if I don’t misunderstand you,

    you’re saying that that’s just not true. This is liberal hogwash?

  • 01:18:11

    John Mearsheimer:

    No. The highest value a state can have is survival.

    Robert Daly:

    That’s the lowest value.

    John Mearsheimer:

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    No, no.

    Robert Daly:

    That’s the precondition. This is — I’m talking about flourishing.

    John Mearsheimer:

    No, I agree with that you it’s a precondition. But the mere fact that it’s precondition for

    pursuing all your other interests means that it is, by definition, the most important goal.

    Robert Daly:

    Here we sit surviving. And they’re surviving in Beijing now. Haven’t we moved beyond

    that?

    Peter Brookes:

    Can I ask something?

    John Donvan:

    Yeah. Peter Brookes.

    Peter Brookes:

    I think it’s important for people to realize that we talk about states, but we’re really

    talking about people. States are like — there’s a lot of human nature in how states act

    because they’re run by people. States, just like people, care about their social

    status. People care about their social status. They care where they are in the social

    structure. And from states, that’s the international system. And there’s also a belief by

    states that the higher you are on that — in that international system the more the

    benefits will come to you. And it’s the same for people.

  • 01:19:12

    Male Speaker:

    I think to us –

    Peter Brookes:

    A state — this means — this — this means that states, like people, are interested in power

    and influence.

    John Donvan:

    Kevin Rudd.

    Kevin Rudd:

    Just to add to that point, I think what Robert was saying, and to reemphasize his

    analysis, a clear reading of John’s set of realism is that it doesn’t matter whether a state

    is a democracy or not, doesn’t matter whether they try to become a democracy or

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    not. If any liberal democracy, for example, grows and becomes a strong economic and –

    – and significant military power, that — that of itself invites direct concern from the

    United States in his theory to do something about it and to stop that from happening. I

    think that’s a fair characterization of your position.

    John Donvan:

    Great. That’s great. Sorry. Yeah. Mic’s coming on your left.

  • 01:20:00

    Male Speaker:

    Hi, everyone. I have a question. So I heard so far a lot of fighting for powers’ sake. And

    you know, by that argument, we should be fighting the EU. My question is, what are

    some specific things that you see that we could fight over as the American people, like

    something that the American people would actually feel worth fighting over?

    John Donvan:

    Can — I’m not — do you understand the sense of the question? Because I’m not sure

    that I do. If you do, I’ll let you go with it.

    John Mearsheimer:

    I think, and Peter has done this. You can point to specific issues that the United States

    could end up fighting China over, for example, one of those islands in the Spratlys,

    maybe over Taiwan, maybe over the islands in the East China Sea, and he pointed to the

    Korean peninsula. Your question was whether we could get the American people

    exercised enough that they would be willing to fight in those specific situations. And I

    think that the United States is so good at thread inflation and fear mongering that we

    have no problems with that issue.

  • 01:21:06

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:

    Robert Daly.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:

    Robert Daly [unintelligible].

    Male Speaker:

    [unintelligible] on the outside of the argument.

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    Robert Daly:

    I’m less — I’m a little less certain that we could convince Americans to die for

    uninhabitable rocks in a part of the — in a part of the world that they can’t find on a

    globe.

    Peter Brookes:

    John, I have something.

    John Donvan:

    Peter Brookes.

    Peter Brookes:

    I mean, I — I think, you know, my colleague John has, you know, laid it out quite

    well. But, I mean, for instance, look at the South China Sea contingency. If China were

    to build these airfields and ports and start sending war ships into their controlling —

    controlling the transit through that part of the world, I mean, that’s a threat to our vital

    national interests. $1.2 trillion in U.S. trade, the movement of American war ships

    through the Persian Gulf. I mean, this is something that could happen. China could

    strangle Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, either allies or partners of the United States by

    cutting off the flow of oil that comes through the Malacca strait and goes to those

    countries, 80 percent of their energy.

  • 01:22:07

    So there are very much potential threats besides the Korean peninsula and other things,

    potential threats, strong threats to American national interests that could lead to — lead

    to war.

    John Donvan:

    Kevin Rudd, very quickly.

    Kevin Rudd:

    I think — to agree with Peter, there is a range of things that you can see around the

    region where conflict could erupt. You really can. Both of us have watched this

    carefully over many, many years. Our argument, and why we differ from our friends

    opposite, is as follows: That we believe that there is a way through these challenges,

    difficult and as hard and as uneven a course as it may be, which is to be able to

    negotiate through strength. No one is arguing that the United States of America should

    go to a negotiating table in weakness. That is not the argument of the either the U.S. or

    its allies. But as Kennedy once said, JFK, we should never, ever negotiate out of fear,

    but we should never fear to negotiate.

  • 01:23:02

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    And so all of these intractable problems which seem to be intractable, they may take

    years and decades to work their way through. But our argument, our core argument is

    that national political leaders and diplomats, backed up with sensible statecraft, can

    make a real difference and not yield to what John has confirmed as his ultimate thesis is

    a determinist view, which is it’s beyond our control. China’s rising. The U.S. is

    here. They’re going to run into each other. Either the U.S. capitulates, China

    capitulates, or there’s war. That’s the three-ended result. We have a radically different

    view.

    John Donvan:

    All right. What I’d like to do here is something that we could summarize this round,

    that’s a round that we introduced a few debates back that we call the lightning round in

    which each debater gets 30 seconds to make or respond to a point with a little bit of

    rebuttal built into it. And it’s firmly timed with a bell that comes at the end of the 30

    seconds. And I — pardon me? Somebody said something in my — oh, I’m sorry. I meant

    to call it the volley round. We’ve been working through a series of names, and

    somebody just mysteriously spoke into my ear, in fact the person who’s telling me to say

    everything I say tonight, every word in my mouth.

  • 01:24:11

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:

    Think of me as Elmo with a hand in my body.

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:

    We call it the volley round. And at the volley round, each debater gets 30 seconds. It’s

    closely timed. They have to stop talking when the bell rings, and then the other side

    gets to speak. And I think the question I want to put, sort of summarizes where we are

    and the kind of argument that we heard, I’m going to go first to this side. But I think the

    proposition kind of boils down to this, that your opponents are saying that self-interest,

    economic self-interest, ultimately is going to be a more powerful force than superpower

    rivalry and power ambitions, that both China –

    Kevin Rudd:

    We didn’t say that.

    John Donvan:

    Pardon me?

    Kevin Rudd:

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    That’s not our argument.

    John Donvan:

    Oh, all right. Well, correct me.

    Male Speaker:

    Maybe it should be.

    John Mearsheimer:

    No, that was Robert’s first point.

    [talking simultaneously]

    John Donvan:

    All right, well, let’s not say it sums up your argument.

    [laughter]

    Kevin Rudd:

    Thank you. That’s better.

    John Donvan:

    Let’s say an important point that you made this evening was that –

    [laughter]

    — let’s say an important point that you made this evening was that there is just too

    much economic self-interest for both sides to risk letting things fall apart to the point of

    Male Speaker:

    Yeah.

    John Donvan:

    — all-out hostility and conflict.

    Male Speaker:

    Right.

    John Donvan:

    Which of you would like to respond to that first?

    [talking simultaneously]

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    John Mearsheimer, your 30 seconds starts now.

    John Mearsheimer:

    Okay, okay. Well, the economic interdependence argument which John was just laying

    out says that prosperity is of enormous importance. The story that I was telling is a

    story about security. And in the security story what matters most is survival. So it’s a

    tradeoff between survival on one hand and prosperity on the other. And my argument

    is that when those two come head-to-head survival wins every time.

    [bell rings]

    [laughter]

    [applause]

  • 01:26:03

    John Donvan:

    Robert Daly. Robert Daly, your 30 seconds starts now.

    Robert Daly:

    Remember that the United States and China have successfully managed frictions of this

    kind for 37 years. We have a record through diplomacy, through trade, sometimes

    through confrontation, through engagement, and through restraint, even after the

    Tiananmen massacre of 1989, even after we bombed China’s embassy in Serbia in 1999,

    even after their hot dog pilot hit our plane and they took our crew basically hostages

    Hainan Island in 2001, we did not become enemies. There’s no need to do it in the

    future.

    [bell rings]

    Peter Brookes.

    [applause]

    Peter Brookes:

    I’m surprised John didn’t take this argument because it turns out that economic

    interdependence between countries empirically is a very weak variable and it doesn’t

    protect, prevent countries from going to war. World War I is a perfect example. As I

    recall, Britain and Germany were each other’s largest trading partners. The United

    States was a major trading partner of Japan before World War II. It does not always

    prevent people from going to war or for hostilities from breaking out. It’s a weak

    variable, and it would be silly to depend on the idea that countries’ nationalism and

    other security issues won’t trump economic interdependence.

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  • 01:27:14

    [bell rings]

    John Donvan:

    Kevin Rudd.

    [applause]

    Kevin Rudd:

    Economic interdependence helps, but it is not the final answer to this question. I think

    we’re all agreed on that. What is important is to have sufficient commonality of security

    interests long term, to have a diplomacy which can secure a path up the middle which

    doesn’t go to the binary of capitulation or war. We believe diplomacy is capable of

    doing that. And if we look around the world today, what are the Chinese and the

    Americans doing? They’re talking about North Korea and nuclear weapons. That’s a big

    example of how they can do it, and I believe –

    [bell rings]

    — the two are not mutually exclusive.

    John Donvan:

    Kevin Rudd, thank you. And that concludes round two of this Intelligence Squared U.S.

    Debate, where our motion is “China and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies.”

  • 01:28:03

    Now we move on to round three. Round three, each of the debaters makes a closing

    statement. It will be two minutes each. They will do it seated. Here to summarize his

    position for the motion, “China and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies,” Peter Brookes,

    member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

    Peter Brookes:

    Thank you. China often speaks of 100 years of humiliation at the hands of outside

    powers, as Kevin mentioned earlier, from the opium wars in the 1840s to the standing

    up of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It’s my sense that China never plans to

    experience that again and are making steps to do so. It plans to return China to its

    former glory as the middle kingdom. This is what President Xi Jinping has talked about

    when he talks about the “China dream.” The major obstacle to achieving that is the

    United States. As a result, as evidenced by areas of disagreement and the buildup of

    military forces, China and the United States are in an intense struggle for power and

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    influence that could lead the two of them to the first great power war in 70 years. It

    could happen.

  • 01:29:11

    Whether we like it or not, China and the United States are enemies in the category of

    U.S.-Iran, U.S.-North Korea, and the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.

    [laughter]

    It’s that serious. We’re enemies. We want the same things and that’s to be at the top

    of the international system. Until one side gives up its challenge to the status quo or the

    other side acquiesces to the challenger’s rise, it’s going to be that way. In my opinion,

    that’s not likely to happen. The China that our opponents have talked about is not the

    China of the past. It’s a superpower. That means that China and the United States are

    long-term enemies and I recommend that you vote for this motion. Thank you very

    much.

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, Peter Brookes.

    [applause]

  • 01:30:03

    And the motion is China and the U.S. Are Long-Term Enemies, and here to make his

    statement against this motion, Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China

    and the United States at the Wilson Center.

    Robert Daly:

    John Mearsheimer admits in his writing that social science theory is a crude

    instrument. Those are his words. But even if it were a far more precise instrument, it

    would still be only one of the tools in a very large toolkit that we have at our disposal, a

    toolkit that includes deft creative diplomacy, the balancing of interests, judicious

    restraint, economic and political lovers, our moral sense, a due fear of our capacity for

    violence, consideration for the opinions and the interests of other nations, and common

    concern for transnational threats like climate change and pandemics. All of these

    instruments, if we wield them properly, will enable us to manage this relationship such

    that we do not become enemies and we are not enemies now.

  • 01:31:01

    We are not helpless witnesses to the unfolding of grand historical loss. It’s a dangerous

    world, but it’s not a Risk board. There’s more to it than that. There’s far more to

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    interactions between nations to civilization than the disposition of forces. We must

    build and position our forces wisely, yes, but we must not reduce our collective life to a

    brutalist survival imperative. I work at a think tank, sometimes hard to explain to my

    kids what I do with this. I’m not a fireman or a policeman and they ask, so I just say well,

    I work all day to try to make sure that the United States and China don’t fight, and as I

    was getting ready for this debate the other night my second son, Mateo, who was born

    in China and grew up there for six years, born to a Chinese mother, said, “Dad if we

    fight, who would I fight for, China or America?” And I said, “Well, you’d fight for

    America, Bub, but it need not come to that.” It need not come to that. That is our

    position. We are not nor are we destined to become enemies and we encourage you to

    vote against the motion. Thank you.

  • 01:32:04

    [applause]

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, Robert Daly. And our motion is China and the U.S. Are Long-Term

    Enemies. Here to make his closing statement in support of the motion, John

    Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison distinguished service professor of political

    science at the University of Chicago.

    John Mearsheimer:

    Thank you, John. As I said early on, you can’t talk about the future without a theory,

    and I think that they have a theory and it revolves around agency or diplomacy. They

    believe that the competition can be managed and that’s very different than the way I

    think about the issue. But I want to ask you this — when you look at American

    diplomacy over the past 20 years, does that give you confidence?

    [laughter]

    Does that give you confidence that American leaders can manage this relationship –

    [laughter]

    — over the next 30 or 40 years? You know about Afghanistan. You know about

    Iraq. You know about Libya. You know about Ukraine. Seems to me the United States

    has the Midas touch in reverse. It’s really quite remarkable.

  • 01:33:14

    [laughter]

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    And for their theory to work not only do you need Bismarck after Bismarck after

    Bismarck on our side –

    [laughter]

    — but you also need it on the Chinese side, and just to add to the problem, we have lots

    of allies out there who could drag us into a war. We could have some crazy Filipino or

    some crazy Japanese leader or somebody who acted irrationally. There are a lot of

    moving pieces out there. There are a lot of ways you can get into a war, but what their

    theory depends on is having Bismarck here, there and everywhere. That’s just not going

    to happen. Look. You should vote for us not because it makes you feel good about the

    situation –

    [laughter]

    — you should feel very depressed about this.

    [laughter]

  • 01:34:02

    Really, really. This is a very depressing conclusion that he and I are putting forward.

    [laughter]

    I love going to China. I love the Chinese people and I hate to say what I’ve said up here

    tonight, but if you have any hope of managing the situation, you want to be realistic

    about where we’re headed and they are not realistic.

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, John Mearsheimer. Your time is up. Thank you.

    [applause]

    The motion is China and the U.S. Are Long-Term Enemies and here to make his

    summarizing statement against the motion, Kevin Rudd, president of the Asia Society

    Policy Institute and former prime minister of Australia.

    Kevin Rudd:

    As former prime minister of one of your closer allies in the Pacific –

    [laughter]

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    — therefore one of those moving pieces which could get you into all sorts of trouble –

    [laughter]

    And I remind you your oldest continuing ally in the 20th century and into the 21st, and a

    country that has fought with you in every war in the last century, “Comma ” —

    [laughter]

  • 01:35:10

    I think we deserve to have a voice at the table on these questions. And I say that

    because we have a deep affection to the United States for a whole bunch of reasons;

    your civil tradition, the celebration of democracy, your economic creativity. And frankly,

    in the history of global super powers, the post 40 — in the — going back through time,

    America has behaved as a remarkably benign superpower. I say that, say it freely, and I

    say it openly. This say tough debate because we’re dealing with something brand-new;

    the rise of a country which is not English speaking, which is not Western, which is not a

    democracy, and is on the verge of becoming the largest economy in the world. I get the

    complexity of being — working with this country in one capacity or another for the last

    35 years, either as a student, an academic, in business, as a member of parliament, as a

    foreign minister, as a prime minister.

  • 01:36:06

    And the complexity is staring at us in the face every day because we’re your ally in the

    region. But I say this: There is nothing determinist, nothing sketched into the skies

    above which says that the United States and China are and therefore will be long-term

    enemies. There is, in my view, nobody of any serious position in either Washington or

    Beijing who wants war. I’ve met most of these folks over the last decade. The challenge

    of diplomacy is to ensure that we prevent that from happening. I believe we can. For

    your kids’ future, I — I ask you to vote against the proposal.

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, Kevin Rudd. And that concludes our closing statements.

    [applause]

  • 01:37:02

    John Donvan:

    And now it’s time to learn which side you feel has argued best. We’re going to ask you

    again to go to the key pads at your seat. Same as at the beginning. Look at the motion,

    “China and the U.S. are long-term enemies.” If you agree with the motion, push number

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    one; if you disagree, push number two; and if you remain or became undecided, push

    number three. We’ll give that about 15 to 20 seconds to complete.

  • 01:37:55

    Okay. Thank you. We’re going to lock that out. And while we wait for the results — oh,

    no, we’re not locking it out. The Elmo person is telling me that we’re not locking it

    out. Well, I’m going to — I’m going to talk in the meantime. I just want to say this: We –

    – we’ve been thinking about this debate for three years and — and trying to think about

    who to put on the stage, who would be a terrific mix, bring intelligence and wit and

    civility to it. And I have to say I think we really, really succeeded.

    [applause]

    And I have a total surprise announcement tonight, and it’s that we’re going to have to

    ask you to vote a second time because we had a glitch.

    [laughter]

    So if — I saw somebody leave. I’m afraid there goes your vote. But only one person,

    because you’re all here and into this. So go back to the key pads, and we’ll have you

    vote a second time.

  • 01:39:06

    Kevin Rudd:

    In Australia, we say, “Vote early, vote often.”

    Male Speaker:

    Sounds like Chicago.

    Male Speaker:

    Vote early, vote often [unintelligible].

    Male Speaker:

    I lived in Chicago three times.

    John Donvan:

    So, actually, let me — I’ll be silent for 10 more seconds of your contemplation to make

    sure that you vote the way you want to, and then we’ll start. Now you all got silent. All

    right. We’re good. Everybody’s voted. The vote’s locked in. We’ll have it in about a

    minute and a half. Again, I want to thank these guys. A good outcome for a debate is

    it’s not a deterministic event. It doesn’t always –

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    [laughter]

    It doesn’t always happen. And usually it does, but this one was really superb, so thank

    you. I also want to mention this. This is very important. We had a total sellout

    tonight. In fact, there were a lot of people who couldn’t get in, and it was delightful for

    us. But the thing I want to say is that we are a nonprofit organization.

  • 01:40:05

    And about 60 percent of the funding this program comes from individuals who support

    the program, including many of you in the audience tonight. We are incredibly,

    incredibly grateful for these contributions since the ticket sales cover nowhere close to a

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    all of our generous supporters, some of who are here. And to the millions — now the

    millions who are watching our live stream or listening to these debates for free online

    and on the radio, that that gift to them is because of all of the donors here. So they will

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    everybody who came out.

    [applause]

    The other thing — the other thing we are very, very proud to say is that Intelligence

    Squared debates are now disseminating to educational institutions, and we know this

    because we hear from them.

  • 01:41:01

    Teachers in high school and university level, and even some below the high school level

    have been using the debates as a teaching tool. And we are delighted by that and very

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    for civil engineers gives our state roads a grade of D. The news is better on bridges. It’s

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    willingness to pay a higher gas tax to fix all of that.

  • 01:42:03

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    On November 2nd, we’re going to be in Washington at George Washington

    University. We’re going to be debating the use of smart drugs by students. We’re

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  • 01:43:11

    So, it’s all in. Our motion is this: China and the U.S. are long-term enemies. We had you

    vote twice before the debate and once again afterwards, and it’s the team whose

    numbers have changed the most between the two votes who will become and be

    declared our winner. Let’s look at the first vote. In the opening vote, 27 percent agreed

    with the motion that China and the U.S. are long-term enemies. 35 percent were

    against. 38 percent were undecided. Those are the first results. Let’s look at the

    second result. The team arguing for the motion that China and the U.S. are long-term

    enemies, their first vote was 27 percent. Second vote was 32 percent. They pulled up 5

    percentage points. That is now the number to beat. Let’s see the team against the

    motion. Their vote was 35 percent. Their second vote was 56 percent. They pulled 21

    percentage points. That means the motion, China and the U.S. are long-term enemies

    has been defeated. And the team arguing for that side is our winner. Our

    congratulations to them. And thank you from me, John Donvan and Intelligence

    Squared U.S. We’ll see you next time.

  • 01:44:16

    [applause]

    [end of transcript]

    Prepared by National Capitol Contracting 200 N. Glebe Rd., #1016

    Arlington, VA 22203

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