From a veteran diplomat and prime minster at the heart of the Western alliance, and a deeply knowledgeable China watcher, a way forward for the US and China to avoid a superpower conflict, and a chilling vision of what that might look like if it was unleashed. 

The Avoidable War confronts the growing sense that the US-China relationship is beginning to hurtle out of control. Nationalists have gained ground in the politics of both capitals. So-called “realists” are in control of their respective national security policy agendas. “Liberal internationalists”, let alone “multilateralists”, are written off. And the United States has now formally concluded that forty years of “strategic engagement” between China and the United States has now come to an end, and ended in failure,  and that we have now entered into a new era of “strategic competition”. There are no rules on this new road. A broad economic, cyber and high technology war, and perhaps a broader economic decoupling, is likely to become a continuing reality. As is the widening gulf in the foreign policy, national security policy and international economic policy perceptions and practice of both. We are not yet at crisis point. But we seem to be headed relentlessly in that direction.
The purpose of this book is to challenge those politicians, strategists and generals on both sides as they happily embark on the slippery slope of decoupling, containment, confrontation, conflict and Cold War. Even the unthinkable: war itself.
Instead Rudd focuses of the pursuit of a common strategic narrative for the future that might still be sufficiently acceptable to both sides, an understanding of the past and a vision of the future that might just reduce the risk of catastrophe.

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 “A lifelong student of China, Kevin Rudd has become one of today’s most thoughtful analysts of China’s development. The Avoidable War focuses on the signal challenge posed by China’s evolution to America and to world order. Can the US and China avoid sleepwalking into a conflict? Rudd offers constructive steps for the two powers to stabilize their relations.”—Henry A. Kissinger
“Wise counsel from a seasoned statesman who recognizes the real risk of catastrophic war and illuminates a promising path the US and China could take to avoid it.”—Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, and author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
“An extraordinary tour de force that analyzes the most important geopolitical relationship of the twenty-first-century. Organized, like Dante’s Inferno, into concentric circles that describe in brilliant detail the challenges ahead and a timely prescription to avoid a catastrophe. Let us truly hope that we can indeed avoid a war that looms upon us like a dark tower, threatening all the progress we have made.”—Admiral James Stavridis, 16th supreme Allied Commander of NATO, former dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University
“Based on a lifetime of observation and experience of China and America, Kevin Rudd has produced a rare book of wisdom and a detailed roadmap for how the two countries can manage their strategic competition and avoid a disastrous war.”—Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus
“An exploration of one of the world’s most significant and fraught international relationships… An accessible primer on the evolving China–U.S. rivalry.”—Kirkus
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