US-China contest and the challenge of governance

There are certain parallels between the core issues faced by both rivals. To deal with its problems, America needs more political coherence, while to deal with its problems, China needs less political control. That either will be able to do what it needs to do is not guaranteed.

Visitors to Beijing’s National Art Museum in front of a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Strategic rivalry between the United States and China is now a structural feature of international relations and will remain so for many years to come. Competition between their governance systems is a key aspect. Chinese President Xi Jinping has revived the Maoist trope of the East rising and the West declining and claimed that "time and momentum" are on China's side.

It cannot be denied that these images (it is stretching the meaning of the term to call them "ideas") appeal to the ethnic sentimentality or hope for personal advantage of certain sections of Singapore, and not only Chinese Singaporeans. These images are effective because they are not complete fabrications, only caricatures of far more complex realities.

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