Image credit: Aïda Amer/Axios

This item first appeared in the Axios China newsletter. Subscribe here.

For those of you who like to look at things from both sides, you'll likely enjoy the latest book by Singaporean former diplomat Kishore Mahbubani.

The big question: "Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy" (Public Affairs, March 2020) starts with a question no U.S. politician dares address publicly: "What strategic changes will America have to make when it no longer is the world's dominant economic power?"

Key takeaways: Mahbubani examines both China's and America's biggest strategic mistakes.

  • Mahbubani says China's biggest error in its dealings with the U.S. was alienating the U.S. business community, once China's loudest supporter in Washington, through years of predatory practices such as forced technology transfer.
  • And America's biggest mistake was launching a geopolitical contest with China "without first working out a long-term strategy."

Flashback: I asked Mahbubani what he thought the Obama administration's biggest mistake was.

  • He said it was the "prevalent belief that a country like the U.S., that is less than 250 years old and has less than a quarter of the population of China, could transform a country the size of China with a 4,000-year history."

Go deeper

Trump's TikTok and WeChat actions ratchet up the pressure on China

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump escalated his campaign to claw apart the Chinese and American tech worlds Thursday evening, issuing executive orders that threaten to ban both TikTok and massive global messaging app WeChat.

The big picture: Trump's orders come against a backdrop of heightening tension with China, the steady unfolding of a hard "decoupling" between the world's two largest economies, and the Trump campaign's effort to wave a "tough on China" banner.

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 19,655,445 — Total deaths: 727,353 — Total recoveries — 11,950,845Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 4,998,802 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Elevator anxiety will stifle reopenings

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Will you step back into an elevator any time soon?

Why it matters: Tens of billions of dollars — and the future of cities around the country — rest on the answer to that question. So long as workers remain unwilling to take elevators, hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of office real estate will continue to go largely unused.