Democracy Paradox
Democracy Paradox
Jul 11, 2023
Hal Brands Thinks China is a Declining Power... Here's Why that's a Problem
Play • 54 min

The most dangerous states in the international system aren't necessarily revisionist powers that think that their trajectory points continually upward. It's those countries that have been growing, rising for a long time, and then fear that they are peaking and are about to decline. Those are the countries that are inclined to take the biggest risks to try to improve their position in the the here and now before things get worse for them in the future.

Hal Brands

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A full transcript is available at

Hal Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is the coauthor (with Michael Beckley) of Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China and the author of The Twilight Struggle: What the Cold War Teaches Us About Great-Power Rivalry Today.

Key Highlights

  • Introduction - 0:43
  • Peaking Power Theory - 3:12
  • The Original Cold War - 22:28
  • China as a Peaking Power - 31:14
  • American Policy Toward China - 41:56

Key Links

Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China by Hal Brands and Michael Beckley

The Twilight Struggle: What the Cold War Teaches Us about Great-Power Rivalry Today by Hal Brands

"China’s Threat to Global Democracy" in Journal of Democracy by Hal Brands and Michael Beckley

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Josh Chin on China’s Surveillance State

Elizabeth Economy in a Wide Ranging Conversation About China

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