Cover: Competing for the System

Competing for the System

The Essence of Emerging Strategic Rivalries

Published Nov 10, 2022

by Michael J. Mazarr, Tim McDonald

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The authors of this Perspective contend that the United States should view emerging strategic rivalries with Russia, and especially China, in systemic terms. The United States, they argue, is principally competing to establish the structure and context of the global system, including institutions, rules, and norms in which political, economic, and social activity occur. Policy initiatives should place individual actions in the context of systemic strategy, broadening from discrete, issue-specific approaches. The authors outline a set of principles for building institutions and practices to support this approach.

This research was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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