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Emeritus Professor Paul Dibb gives this lecture entitled ‘Two geopolitical fallacies: the rise and rise of China and the inevitable decline of America’ at The Australian National University on 5 September 2011.

The public debate in Australia about the rise of China and the inevitable decline of America has become increasingly polarised. In one view, there are those who believe that China’s rise and rise is inevitable and that it will come to dominate Asia. In this scenario, America has to accept its inevitable decline and accommodate China. At the other extreme, there are those who believe China will become an aggressive and expansionist power and the US and its allies (including Australia) must prepare to counter it with military force, if necessary.

This lecture examines the reasons for the rise and fall of great powers historically; it then looks at the strengths and weaknesses of both China and the US and how they might compete for influence in Asia. It concludes by canvassing competing theories for the future strategic order in Asia — including the balance of power, a concert of powers, and a cooperative regional strategic organisation.

Paul Dibb is Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at The Australian National University. His previous positions include: Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defence, Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation, and Head of the National Assessments Staff (National Intelligence Committee).

He is the author of five books and four reports to government, as well as more than 120 academic articles and monographs about the global strategic outlook, the security of the Asia-Pacific region, the US alliance, and Australia’s defence policy. He wrote the 1986 Review of Australia’s Defence Capabilities (the Dibb Report) and was the primary author of the 1987 Defence White Paper. His book The Soviet Union: The Incomplete Superpower was published in 1986 by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Source: ANU Vision