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China vs America: fight of the century

The world's two great powers are growing dangerously hostile to one another. Could this be worse than the cold war?

By Ian Bremmer   April 2010

A flourishing downtown Shanghai in January 2010

At the World Economic Forum in Davos this January, Chinese vice premier, Li Keqiang, gave an entirely unremarkable speech. Steering clear of subjects that make headlines, he instead sung the praises of China’s stability and technological progress. Yet the moment was made extraordinary by Li’s entourage: a group of about 75 subordinates who laughed, cheered and applauded on cue—and all with apparently genuine gusto. This scene brought to my mind Deng Xiaoping’s famous dictum that his country must “keep a low profile and never take the lead.” There was plenty of Chinese exuberance…

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