The US and China: Will it be collision or cooperation?


‘G’day. My name’s Kevin. I’m from Australia. I’m here to help.”

The silver-thatched man on the stage in a loose-fitting black suit and no tie pauses for laughter from the crowd. It’s March 2015, and Kevin Rudd is delivering his first TED talk, an 18-minute guide to China’s post-Mao economic takeoff and the growing trepidation it stirs in Washington. Using visual cues and folksy language (“You see that bloke? He’s French.”), Mr. Rudd threads China’s modern journey with his own: the tale of a poor boy from rural Australia who studied Chinese history and rose to become prime minister in 2007.

For emphasis, he draws Chinese characters with his finger on a touch screen, which is projected behind him. As with many TED talks, it’s a mélange of college seminar and stump speech.

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