The Bankruptcy of “Great Power Competition”

by Daniel Larison

“Major powers always have divergent interests to some degree, but how they choose to manage those disagreements determines whether they can coexist as peaceful competitors or whether they condemn themselves to decades of fruitless militarism and strife. What these states decide to do has ramifications not only for their own people, but for many other nations that are caught in between them. Once major powers have decided on a militaristic, confrontational course, it becomes extremely easy for their political leaders to justify any number of atrocities against innocent people in neutral or contested countries in the name of preventing the rival from ‘advancing’ in some peripheral theater. If the Cold War experience is any guide, the countries that end up in the sights of one or both rivals are devastated and take decades and sometimes generations to recover from what was done to them.” (10/06/21)