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  • The Long Game

  • China's Grand Strategy to Displace American Order
  • By: Rush Doshi
  • Narrated by: Kyle Tait
  • Length: 18 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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The Long Game

By: Rush Doshi
Narrated by: Kyle Tait
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Summary

In The Long Game, Rush Doshi draws from a rich base of Chinese primary sources, including decades worth of party documents, leaked materials, memoirs by party leaders, and a careful analysis of China's conduct to provide a history of China's grand strategy since the end of the Cold War. 

Taking listeners behind the Party's closed doors, he uncovers Beijing's long, methodical game to displace America from its hegemonic position in both the East Asia regional and global orders through three sequential "strategies of displacement." Beginning in the 1980s, China focused for two decades on "hiding capabilities and biding time." After the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it became more assertive regionally, following a policy of "actively accomplishing something." Finally, in the aftermath populist elections of 2016, China shifted to an even more aggressive strategy for undermining US hegemony, adopting the phrase "great changes unseen in century."

After charting how China's long game has evolved, Doshi offers a comprehensive yet asymmetric plan for an effective US response. Ironically, his proposed approach takes a page from Beijing's own strategic playbook to undermine China's ambitions and strengthen American order without competing dollar-for-dollar, ship-for-ship, or loan-for-loan.

©2021 Rush Doshi (P)2022 Kalorama

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Excellent understanding of Grand Strategy

Having read a few books on China's Grand Strategy, this may be the most objective, but perhaps not the most broad ranging.
Doshi bases much of his book on the strategic realignment stemming from the Trifecta of events, Tiananmen in 1989, Gulf War 1 and the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Changes unseen in a century, as is frequently reiterated.
A central problem with this book is the repetitive nature, and the repeat of the phrase "changes unseen in a century" sometimes had me literally screaming.
However, a decent book overall and an objective way to understand China's financial and military strategy.

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This should be an easy

I think this should not really be a book but an essay. It could be written in two chapters. I am getting fed up with the author just saying the same thing again and again as he stretches out the book

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  • ndru1
  • 05-02-22

fresh perspective, grand strategic view

Over the past few weeks, I've read The Hundred Year Marathon (by a retired senior spy), The Third Revolution (by a leading academic), Superpower Showdown (by a pair of US and Chinese journalists) and China-US Relations In The Eyes Of The Chinese Communist Party: An Insider’s Perspective (by a defector). It was all starting to get pretty repetitive but I was blown away by The Long Game, with its original approach using textual sources, and its approach of analysing the grand strategy. Somehow it was able to turn something as dry as old speeches and documents into an exhilarating read by drawing out the intentions behind the words. I highly recommend this book, with the caveat that it does get a bit repetitive in parts (could benefit from some editing) and it might be a little dry for people who are not military or foreign policy junkies.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca Whitley
  • 02-06-22

Digestible & Informative

A compelling argument for China's modern/recent activities and future intentions, this book weaves together many perspectives with plenty of evidence supporting China's goal to replace to US as the dominant power in the global hierarchy.

3 people found this helpful

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  • fjness
  • 04-05-22

100 pages too long

The argument is well constructed but the book is too long. Author hits his points so heavily that you can get bored and ready for him to move on. For example, he quotes leaders saying assissins mace for several pages. One time with stats would have been enough. The three phase argument is very helpful to understand the policy evolution. The story about the ukrainian carrier was also fascinating.

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  • Daniel Mccarty
  • 21-01-22

Like reading a textbook

This author is obviously incredibly knowledgeable about the topic and has important perspectives to share. But the book reads like a college text…..the three classifications of this, the four theories of that, the six components of the other thing, OMG, could you have a woven a little bit of a story flow into this to make it interesting? Consider some dramatic tension? We are talking potential war here.

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  • Blake West
  • 05-11-22

well researched and solid thesis, if a bit dry

a lot of good stuff here. but also fairly dry for several chapters. I skipped probably like 15% of the book as I felt like I understood the gist of the argument and didn't need the further detail. but still very worth a read or skim if you want to have a better framework for viewing china's history and future actions.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-11-22

Read by a computer

The inflection and cadence of the reading is terrible and sounds like text-to-speech software. If this is in fact narrated by a human they are in the wrong career but I highly doubt it.

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  • ahmad
  • 30-09-22

Pedantic and full of fluff

A perfect book for self hating, self doubting Americans especially some on the left who think America is in the wrong no matter what. Short of the conclusion in the last pages of the book I couldn't tell on whose side the author is, clearly not America's. Even when he criticizes the "declinests", he does it without compelling arguments; I happen to think that deep down in it he is one (declinest) himself. On what the US should do in order to win against China, none of the strategic measures and remedies compare to what for example Pillsbury's "hundred year marathon" recommendations. It's very visible the difference between Doshi's academic theories and those of the on-the-ground experience of Pilsbury's. Out of the last 15 or so books I've read, in the last 2 years, on China this is the poorest written, weakest and hardest to stay focused with. And of course the least critical of this grand polluter monster of a regime.

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  • John Ellis
  • 20-08-22

comprehensive, somewhat repetitive, good reading

A comprehensive examination of China's strategy against the United States and its allies. This book, while frequently repetitive, lays out a compelling framework, drawing on a wide array of official documents (mostly in Chinese) and many that are not publicly available to present analysis of China's behaviours and their integration into its grand strategy.

Much of the analysis was fascinating, insightful, and provided a new perspective that was not based on a small number of but compelling data points.

The author's conclusion on engaging with China is particularly clear, in the context of neither accommodating nor changing her, and thus a strategic competition is required. The author proposes that the US take an asymmetric approach to blunt China's ascendancy, which is consistent with Kevin Rudd's own assessment and suggestions on 'geo strategic competition.'

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  • richard
  • 28-07-22

what a book

I can't even imagine the extent of research and preparation that has gone into this book

It's so thorough and detailed, that I needed breaks while listening to it

Unfortunately often repetitive

Also, the narrator pronounced Chinese names as bad as it gets

very, very impressive

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  • Mordechai G.
  • 15-07-22

Not adding real value

endlessly repeating same phrases and concepts while extracting conclusions from speeches and open publications does not convince the reader that what suppose to be a meditated strategy is not a simple self defence approach of China's leaders...
Disappointing