Mahbubani’s book shows readers that on one hand, the lack of reason and dispassionate analysis in America has potentially devastating long-term effects on the United States, its allies, and the world. On the other hand, China also finds itself in a hard place: it is becoming one of the globe’s most powerful nations and, at the same time, one of the most misunderstood. Despite the United States and China leading the world in technological and scientific advancement, both governments have still not figured out one of today’s most critical global relationships, which is at its core a fundamentally human problem of people-to-people communication. Luckily, Mahbubani’s book contains answers on how to solve some of these problems through rational, dispassionate discourse. Has China Won is a must-read for leaders, professionals, and students who want a painfully real and compelling assessment of modern U.S.-China relations. As the final page turns, it is evident that despite scathing criticisms across the board, Mahbubani is a friend to reasonable ears in both the United States and China. Although it may cost some national pride, people on all sides will benefit from heeding the words of one of Asia’s most evenhanded experts. If nobody will listen, especially in the West, then the book’s central question has been answered: in terms of reason and future-proof pragmatic administration, China has won.
Symington W. Smith is an award-winning global affairs expert with over a decade of experience in East Asia. A life fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Board Member and Political Adviser at Eastern Commerce Group, he has previously worked at the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom and American multinational law firm Baker McKenzie. Holding degrees from both Peking University and King's College London, his work has been published in The 1828 Journal, Modern Diplomacy and the National Interest.