Friday Sync-Up: A "Great Wall of Steel"

Every Friday, I present a topic or question for our merry band of thinkers, leaders, and pirates to discuss in an open thread. Normally, this feature is only for paid subscribers, but this week’s thread is for everyone.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) yesterday, China’s president Xi Jinping said, “The Chinese people have never bullied, oppressed or enslaved the peoples of other countries, not in the past, not now and not in the future … At the same time, the Chinese people will never allow foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us … Whoever nurses delusions of doing that will crack their heads and spill blood on the Great Wall of steel built from the flesh and blood of 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

Question: How can the United States confront and roll back China’s efforts to reorder the international system, while not needlessly provoking Beijing into escalating hostilities? Is this possible?