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The Optimistic American - Audio Edition

Dec 7, 2022

In this episode of The Optimistic American, Paul Johnson is joined by Professor Michael Beckley.  

They discuss his new book Danger Zone, the role of China and the threat that exists, as well as how it could affect places like Taiwan and how the U.S. should be responding to it.

  • According to Professor Michael Beckley, there is such a different narrative about China than the one we see going on in mainstream American politics, where China is inevitably going to keep rising. 
  • When looking at Chinese history, one can notice that the last 40 years are an anomaly. In Danger Zone, Prof. Beckley argues that China's exceptional rise has been the result of a few exceptional circumstances, all of which are rapidly turning against China and affecting its economy.
  • Prof. Beckley and Paul Johnson discuss the concept of peak China and why China's current socio-economic situation will make it almost impossible to grow the economy.
  • Prof. Beckley explains that, typically, rising powers will exist peacefully when things are going well. However, when their economy starts to slow and they start to get encircled and realize their system is no longer working for them, they try to reorganize the system in a better way for them.
  • In his book Danger Zone, Prof. Beckley makes the argument that China isn't really an 80-year threat, but rather that it has a limited horizon. 
  • Paul Johnson and Prof. Beckley talk about Lenin's theory of capitalist imperialism, the challenge China will face in regards to its growing debt, the concept of danger zone, and potential repercussions for Taiwan and the United States; including military ones.
  • Prof. Beckley illustrates the concept of encirclement and the long-term challenges it will create for China.
  • Paul Johnson and Prof. Beckley go over their optimism, but also the fragility and challenges toward the United States.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Prof. Michael Beckley

Previous episode featuring Prof. Beckley - America’s Strengths Are Unrivaled!

Prof. Beckley’s books Danger Zone and Unrivaled

Ray Dalio

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

Jack Ma

Hal Brands