Rethinking Strategic Competition with China: A Conversation with Elbridge Colby

Subscribe and Listen

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Mr. Elbridge Colby joins us to discuss U.S. strategic competition with China. Mr. Colby stresses that he is most worried about the PRC military threat. He advocates focusing on Taiwan as a principal flashpoint and says the United States should “speak softly and carry a big stick” by equipping allies for military deterrence rather than focusing exclusively on economic deterrence. Colby further discusses the Biden administration’s approach, emphasizing that the United States should focus more carefully on not appearing to contain China.  He also shares that there is consensus among Republicans that China is a central challenge to the United States but there are debates within the party as to how much the U.S. should focus on China. He concludes by advocating for a shift towards prioritizing the PRC, both in terms of force planning and relationships with allies in the region.

Elbridge A. Colby is the founder of the Marathon Initiative, a nonprofit that focuses on American preparedness for great power competition. He is also former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Strategy and Force Development at the Department of Defense during the Trump administration and was the co-lead for the development of the 2018 National Defense Strategy.  An expert on the challenges of strategic competition, Colby is also the author of The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict. This podcast was recorded on January 10, 2024.

Bonny Lin
Director, China Power Project and Senior Fellow, Asian Security