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Mearsheimer: The biggest mistake the U.S. made was fostering Chinese growth; The future of NATO depends on 2020 U.S. Elections

The Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) hosted John Mearsheimer, a renowned international-relations scholar and University of Chicago professor of political science for the launch of the Serbian edition of his latest book “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities” on December 3rd, 2019 in Belgrade.

During the discussion moderated by CIRSD President Vuk Jeremic, Mearsheimer pointed out that the United States "played a key role" in forming China into a great power, which, in his view, was a great mistake.

"The biggest mistake the U.S. made was integrating China into the World Trade Organization in 2001, and thereafter China took advantage of that to grow”, he said.

"The United States played a key role in fostering Chinese growth in the 1990s and 2000s. We helped China put an end to the unipolar world. This was remarkably foolish. If China’s per capita income was at the South Korean level, China would have two times as much wealth as the United States. So, we have helped create a state that tomorrow might have four times as many people as the U.S, and two times as much wealth", he said.

Mearsheimer pointed out that after the Soviet Union collapsed, we went from a unipolar world to a multipolar one. “First we had the resurrection of Russian power, under Putin. But the most important development, which the United States played a key role in, and which truly undermines unipolarity, is the rise of China. So today, we live in a world where there are three great powers – the U.S, Russia, and China”, he explained.

Asked about the future of NATO, Mearsheimer said that the fate of the alliance will depend a lot on the 2020 U.S. elections.

"It is no secret that NATO is in serious trouble today and I think it is mostly because of Donald Trump. If Trump had not been elected in 2016, the problems would not be as acute as they are now”, he noted.

Mearsheimer pointed out that Trump believes that NATO members are taking advantage of America, which pays an enormous amount of money to provide security for European states, whilst the Europeans do not pay their fair share.

"Trump does not like NATO and the EU, and I consider this to be the principle cause of the problem. If Trump is defeated in the 2020, it’s hard for me to see a new president being anywhere near as hostile to NATO," Mearsheimer concluded.

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