Great Power Competition Panel
March 11, 2020
Four of the Marine Corps University Foundation’s academic chairs at The Krulak Center were on the stage in Warner Auditorium at Marine Corps University on March 11th, discussing “Great Power Competition.”
University President (and graduate) BGen Jay Bargeron convened the MCU schools and opened this panel by stating that it is largely accepted that “the central challenge to our national security is the return of Great Power Completion” and it falls to all of us to understand and respond well to “today’s chief actors and the contemporary environment.”
Dr. Christopher C. Harmon, a Bren Chair who organized the panel, opened with thoughts on the remarkable fluctuations in direction and fortune for both China and Russia over the last century. He said that “fate” and “inevitability” have less to do with such changes than human choice, and he emphasized the need for strategic thought and decisions by Americans. War College professor—and Horner Chair of Naval and Military History—James Lacey reviewed conclusions reached in his studies of past great powers; he edited a collection of these, recently published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Yuval Weber and Dr. Andrew Scobell, Bren Chairs specializing in Russia and China respectively, explored bilateral relations between the countries they study and Washington, D.C., as the great powers compete.
Half of the engagement was reserved for audience questions and discussion: escalation; competition in space and in the Arctic; unpredictability in U.S. leadership and how it is viewed abroad; and demographic trends as they relate to great power competition.
Dr. Harmon closed with a reference to a relevant new paper from the Pentagon about how officers may perceive this Competition Continuum: Joint Doctrine Note 1-19, available on the web as of June 2019.
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