Compared with its counterparts in the West, China historically has taken a narrower view of geopolitics, one that reached scarcely farther than its borders. But that view has begun to expand.
Former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski managed to capture thousands of years of Chinese history in under 10 words. In his seminal work, The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski characterized China's geopolitics through the ages as "cycles of reunifications and expansions, followed by decay and fragmentations." The assessment gets at the heart of the the country's recurring struggle to unify an insurmountably vast landmass under a centralized authority -- a struggle that continues to this day. Nearly 70 years after its most recent unification, following more than two centuries of decay and five decades of fragmentation, China is now on the verge of another period of expansion. And as its influence on the global stage increases, China will have to adapt to a new view of geopolitics....
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