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The World Turned Upside Down

America, China, and the Struggle for Global Leadership

Clyde Prestowitz


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An authority on Asia and globalization identifies the challenges China’s growing power poses and how it must be confronted

When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, most experts expected the WTO rules and procedures to liberalize China and make it “a responsible stakeholder in the liberal world order.” But the experts made the wrong bet. China today is liberalizing neither economically nor politically but, if anything, becoming more authoritarian and mercantilist.
In this book, notably free of partisan posturing and inflammatory rhetoric, renowned globalization and Asia expert Clyde Prestowitz describes the key challenges posed by China and the strategies America and the Free World must adopt to meet them. He argues that these must be more sophisticated and more comprehensive than a narrowly targeted trade war. Rather, he urges strategies that the United States and its allies can use unilaterally without contravening international or domestic law.

Praise For The World Turned Upside Down: America, China, and the Struggle for Global Leadership

"A veteran U.S. trade negotiator offers a cogent overview of how the U.S. grievously misjudged China’s response to globalization. . . . Prestowitz doesn’t just point out problems; he offers a detailed, 25-page 'Plan for America.' An excellent comprehensive study from an expert on the subject."—Kirkus, Starred Review

"Prestowitz is one of America’s most experienced and thoughtful experts on trade policy and its economic impact. . . . To better understand both the challenge posed by China and the thoughts of an influential participant in the debate in Washington, DC, read this book."—Scott Foster, Asia Times

"Another big topic on the global agenda for 2021 will be US-China relations and how they are reset by President Joe Biden. In The World Turned Upside Down, Clyde Prestowitz, leader of the first US trade mission to Beijing, calls for a more sophisticated strategy towards China rather than the narrow trade scraps of recent years."—Financial Times, What To Read in 2021

"Clyde Prestowitz presents the most comprehensive and practical plan yet to meet the Chinese Communist Party’s grave challenge to the United States."—Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence

"In The World Turned Upside Down, Clyde Prestowitz, who led the way in describing how a country like Japan can skew the world trading system, powerfully addresses the biggest problem of all: China. A perfect match of author and subject."—James Mann, author of The China Fantasy

“How did America and other advanced democracies find themselves increasingly beholden to the Chinese Communist Party? Seasoned Asia hand Clyde Prestowitz’ wide-ranging exposé unpacks the long road to this current disturbing reality, while offering a sober and sensible blueprint for pushing back against the PRC’s malign activities in the US and around the world.”—David Shambaugh, author of Where Great Powers Meet: America & China in Southeast Asia

"This book lucidly describes the economic and diplomatic misconceptions that have shaped our China policy. It then lays out many ways that we can act to prevent Chinese hegemony."—Ralph Gomory, President Emeritus, Sloan Foundation, former Chief Scientist, IBM

“Many books have described what China is, where it is going and where it comes from. What makes this book unique is Prestowitz’s detailed prescription for how the US should change to face China.  Every political, academic and business leader who cares about democracy and the free world should read this book and follow its advice. “—Alberto Forchielli, Chairman and CEO of Mandarin Capital

Yale University Press, 9780300248494, 344pp.

Publication Date: January 26, 2021

About the Author

Clyde Prestowitz has worked on Asia and globalization for fifty years and has written several bestselling books on these subjects. He was a leader of the first U.S. trade mission to China in 1982 and is a veteran U.S. trade negotiator and presidential advisor.