“Does China pose a challenge to our liberal democracies?”, Andrés Ortega (Elcano, Spain)

The US is embarking upon a strategy of definition against China, based on a broad domestic consensus predating Biden, but that now draws heavily on domestic policy. Beyond this, however, China is the only country with the potential for competing at all levels of power with the US and challenging its hegemony. Biden, on his recent ‘Western normalisation’ tour following Trump’s upsets (the G7, NATO, the EU-US and with Russia, summits where Beijing was conspicuous by its absence) he has mustered greater European support for his anti-China outlook, with the latter being cast as a ‘competitor’ and ‘systemic rival’ but also ‘partner’. In fact, despite the rhetoric, US investment capital has continued pouring into China, although it remains to be seen whether there will be a degree of decoupling between the US and China in the technology sphere. But now that the Western summits are over, and the summit on liberal democracies is still to come, one question is whether China truly poses a challenge to such democracies. Public opinion thinks not.

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