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Many fatalists see America in decline and China ascendant. China’s dictator, Xi Jinping, agrees in public. But beneath the shiny new infrastructure, the amazing economic growth and competitiveness, China faces a reckoning, just as it prepares to mark a century of its Communist Party. We can thank President Trump for the belated recognition that China is the most important strategic threat to the United States. As little as two years ago, Joe Biden stupidly dismissed the idea that China was a threat: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday night that China was “not competition” for the U.S., prompting blowback from prominent members of both political parties. At an event in Iowa City, Biden was explaining why he believes concerns that China could eventually surpass the U.S. as a world superpower and economic force are overstated. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” the former vice president said. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us,” he added. Now, even Biden and the most establishmentarian of diplomatic commentators recognize that China is the geopolitical threat to face this century.

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