China and America are two global powers that look at each other warily across the Pacific Ocean.

The two countries communicate poorly, and their political elites have little sympathy for the other.

America values ​​freedom, China values ​​stability, Washington values ​​strategic decisiveness, while Beijing adopts strategic patience.

This was evident in the way the two countries dealt with the spread of the Covid-19 virus since the end of 2019.

And with the start of the precautionary global closures in April 2020, the thinker Kishore Mahbubani - a former senior Singaporean diplomat and current expert at the National University of Singapore - published an important book in which he charted the course and path of China's challenge to the global supremacy of the United States.

Mahbubani argued that it was the United States that launched a competition with China, and accused successive US administrations of ignoring the advice given by sage US diplomat George Kennan during the Cold War, of the need to preserve domestic American dynamism, win friends around the world, and not insult its opponent.

The title of the book came, "Has China Triumphed? The Chinese Challenge to American Hegemony," pointing out that its content is more than an attempt to promote China's model of governance and development, as it went to herald the demise of global hegemony, and the system that Washington established after World War II, politically, economically, and culturally.

The book - and other ideas that expressed the beginning of the decline of Western hegemony in favor of eastern hegemony represented in China and perhaps India - aroused a lot of anxiety in Western intellectual circles, and sowed doubts among many decision-makers in Washington about the capabilities and capabilities of their country, which they see as an exception.

The book "Has China Triumphed? The Chinese Challenge to American Hegemony" by the Singaporean diplomat "Kishore Mahbubani" (Al-Jazeera)

However, the experience of the Corona virus, whose chapters have not ended yet, accurately reflected the real capabilities enjoyed by the two countries in the geopolitical competition between them, a competition that was exacerbated by the crisis of the outbreak and spread of the virus, and ended in favor of the Western model in dealing with the unprecedented crisis.

Mahbubani argued that it was the United States that launched a competition with China, and accused successive US administrations of ignoring the advice given by the wise American diplomat George Kennan during the Cold War, of the need to preserve internal American vitality, to win friends around the world, not to insult its opponent, and to be modest.

According to Mahbubani, the strategic rivalry between China, the rising power, and the US, the status quo power, has erupted due to mistakes, misconceptions, and misunderstandings on both sides.

First, China made a huge strategic mistake by alienating the American corporate community, in part through forced transfers of intellectual property, theft, and hacks.

On the other hand, Mahbubani saw that America made a greater strategic mistake, which is launching its geopolitical competition with China without having a comprehensive long-term strategy on how to deal with a country like China, something that Mahbubani expressed his hope that the Joe Biden administration would correct, which did not happen.

At a time when China's militarization of the South China Sea is widely seen as evidence of China's reneging on its promises of non-expansion, which has undermined the confidence of its neighbors and Western countries in it;

Mahbubani says that the Chinese behavior came in response to Washington's escalation during Barack Obama's rule of the US Navy intensifying its patrols in the region, which prompted China only then to respond by militarizing the South China Sea.

Mahbubani enumerated the negative aspects of the American model, which no one outside or inside the United States is ignorant of, such as the rampant inequality, the high number of prisoners, Washington's foolish conquests around the world, and its selective attitude towards international obligations.

But when it comes to China, Mahbubani sees only what is beautiful and promising.

Mahbubani preferred to ignore the problems of the Chinese social and ethnic fabric, and paid little attention to the disturbing demographic changes that began to loom on the horizon in China as it grappled with an aging population, or to the giant empty real estate bubble.

Mahbubani passionately defended authoritarian rule in China, and he believes that the Chinese government is perhaps the most worthy in the world, and certainly the most successful in China's long history.

He believes that the alternative for the Chinese people is chaos, so strong central governance is the most effective way to keep the country together.

Mahbubani also promoted Chinese values ​​in exchange for American values, and did not address the widespread violations documented by independent United Nations investigation teams in Xinjiang, which is inhabited by a Muslim minority, or the regions of Tibet, not to mention the suppression of freedoms in Hong Kong and the constant threat of invasion of Taiwan.

Mahbubani stressed that the US economy is inevitably slipping to the second place in the world, but he mentions only a few of the many challenges facing the Chinese economy, such as debt, an aging population and weak productivity growth.

He claims that China is more capitalist than America, even though President Xi Jinping is pushing the economy toward more state capitalism and clamping down on the country's most successful businessmen.

Currently, the United States has the largest economy in the world with $23 trillion in 2022 GDP according to World Bank data, while China has the second largest GDP at $18 trillion.

The closures and the negative consequences of the Covid-19 virus on the Chinese economy impeded China's quest to become the first economy in the world, and many doubt that this could happen at all, and that China has already reached its peak.

It is no secret that China, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, aspires to a global leadership role, but he seems recklessly hasty, which led to catastrophic mistakes in dealing with the Corona virus, and thus those mistakes caused a brake on the Chinese development wheel in a way that even the Chinese themselves did not expect. Those who have experienced cruel and inhumane closures are paying the price so far, and perhaps for months and years to come.

China's aspirations for global leadership remain undoubtedly legitimate, but the quest for leadership must provide a model that the rest of the world, people and governments, aspire to. One person is President Xi Jinping.

In the end, I would advise anyone with a serious interest in China, or its geopolitical future, to read other books on China's future, apart from The Singapore Diplomat.