by: andrew scobell, edmund j.burke, cortez a. cooper iii, sale lilly, chad j.r. ohlandt, eric warner, j.d.williams
china and the united states will likely be in competition with each other for many years to come. indeed, the two countries seem destined to be locked into long-term competition because neither is likely to withdraw from world affairs in the foreseeable future. in addition, each country perceives the other country as a significant rival, is deeply suspicious of the actions and intentions of the other country, and is highly competitive. to explore what extended competition between the united states and china might entail through the year 2050, this report focuses on identifying and characterizing china’s grand strategy, analyzing its component national strategies (diplomacy, economics, science and technology [s&t], and military affairs), and assessing how successful china might be at implementing these over the next three decades. foundational prerequisites for successful implementation of china’s grand strategy are deft routine management of the political system and effective maintenance of social stability. china’s grand strategy is best labeled “national rejuvenation,” and its central goals are to produce a china that is well governed, socially stable, economically prosperous, technologically advanced, and militarily powerful by 2050. china’s communist party rulers are pursuing a set of extremely ambitious long-term national strategies in pursuit of the overarching goals of their grand strategy. two fundamental questions are at the heart of this report: (1) what will china look like by 2050? (2) what will u.s.-china relations look like by 2050? the answers are provided by analyzing trends in the management of politics and society and studying national-level strategies in diplomacy, economics, s&t, and military affairs. using these analyses, the report develops a range of possible future scenarios for mid-21st-century china and then generates an accompanying set of potential future trajectories for u.s.-china long-term competition.