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This volume is an important resource for anyone who is interested in gaining an informed understanding of China, a major strategic competitor of the United States in the economic, technological, diplomatic, and security realms. These challenges are increasing in scale and complexity and show no signs of abatement. The United States will be challenged to keep pace with such a formidable competitor and cannot hope to simply outspend China, as it was able to do during the Cold War. To protect its interests and preserve its global influence, the United States will require effective strategies, robust alliances, innovative operational concepts, and advanced military capabilities.

For decades, the RAND Corporation has conducted extensive research about China to inform the decisionmaking of U.S. policymakers. Major streams of research have focused on China’s domestic and economic trends, military and technological capabilities, relationships with other countries, and grand strategy.

Readers should gain a rich understanding of the U.S.-China relationship, which could include surprisingly rapid and unexpected developments.

RAND Arroyo Center initiated a series of volumes that synthesizes decades of RAND research and analysis on topics that represent perennial and evolving challenges to our nation’s security. Each of the analyses was conducted at the request of a senior leader, uniformed or civilian, who faced a major decision and required high-quality, objective research to help inform it. As a result, each analysis was designed to be not only rigorous and reliable but also responsive, relevant, and immediately useful. This is the first of the four volumes.

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