It may be too strong to say that China and the United States are engaged in “germ warfare,” but the Chinese propaganda effort, aided by our own irrepressible fifth column in the media that seems to want to take China’s side against the U.S., reveals that the COVID-19 episode may prove an inflection point—a crisis for the Chinese regime akin to the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union—that results in some fundamental re-orderings of our globalized world in fairly short order.

The Chinese government hasn’t exactly distinguished itself from the very start, a point made by our guest for this special mid-week episode, the Hoover Institution’s Michael Auslin. Michael has a long must-read article up this morning at RealClearPoltitcs entitled “Beijing Fears COVID-19Is Turning Point for China, Globalization,” and we review its main arguments in this conversation, but also go beyond it to ask some fundamental questions about whether China can become more transparent and truly liberalize in any meaningful way. You’ll just have to listen for our answer.

Is this really the “Asian Century”? Many have conjectured yes, that China and the Far East as a whole could overtake America, in military might and economic power, if not in global cultural influence. But how realistic is that? Michael Auslin argues in The End of the Asian Century we should be less sure what is in store.   

Michael Auslin is a resident scholar and the director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he specializes in Asian regional security and political issues.