Newsletter: Has China's Power Peaked?

Here’s what we have in store this week:

•   A new debate about China’s power projection
   A closer look at the numbers: China’s slowing GDP growth
   Your Sunday reading list


The memes have been flying since that Chinese balloon was shot down early this month. A lot of creative humor found in the prospect of a fighter jet taking on a bag of gas. For a laugh, try googling jet, balloon and meme.

And maybe it would seem an entirely absurd mismatch, but for the fact that China and the U.S. don’t really need another reason to distrust one another. It’s not a good relationship. A more serious clash is getting more likely, maybe even inevitable, according to those who study the U.S. rivalry with China. It’s a scenario we have debated more than once.

Driving this perception is the speed of China’s remarkable rise in the past two decades across a range of power categories – economic, technological, diplomatic and military.

But like balloons, nation-states don’t rise forever. Here’s the question we’re asking in our latest release: Has China’s Power Peaked?

It’s a debate about momentum, and whether the conditions that fueled China’s stunning ascendency are still in place. 

Answering YES is Michael Beckley, of Tufts University, and author of “Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower.”

Answering NO is Ian Bremmer, a frequent debater with us, who is president and founder of Eurasia Group and founder of the digital media firm GZERO Media.

They disagree sharply, yet both make a lot of sense.

Have a listen.


John Donvan




China’s GDP by the numbers. Learn more here.




Has China’s power peaked?



“The key overarching point is that China’s exceptional rise really was exceptionally dependent on a few fleeting circumstances, all of which are rapidly disappearing. And I haven’t seen the regime be able to replace it with anything that could approach even sustainable solid growth, let alone the kind of gangbusters growth that we’ve gotten used to.”Learn More

Michael Beckley

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates



“We worry about a world where the Chinese would actually take over, we don’t want it. So we want our cognitive dissonance like we want China’s power to have already peaked….But what we’re debating today is whether China’s power has peaked, and I don’t think you want to make that bet.”

Learn More

Ian Bremmer

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates



Points of View

The ESG investment backlash begins to have an impact
Gillian Tett | February 6, 2023
Financial Times

Listen to Gillian’s debate on the digital dollar


War is peace, freedom is slavery, Democrats are radicals
Paul Krugman | February 9, 2023
The New York Times

Watch Paul’s debate on universal health coverage


Biden’s silence on the Chinese balloon incursion speaks volumes
Marc A. Thiessen | February 9, 2023
The Washington Post

Watch Marc’s debate on how to treat terrorists


Biden’s foreign policy is a mess
Kori Schake | February 10, 2023
Foreign Affairs

Watch Kori’s debate on America’s global leadership

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