Does NGS care if the liberal system survives?

“The rise of China will undoubtedly be one of the great dramas of the twenty-first century. China’s extraordinary economic growth and active diplomacy are already transforming East Asia, and future decades will see even greater increases in Chinese power and influence. But exactly how this drama will play out is an open question. Will China overthrow the existing order or become a part of it? And what, if anything, can the United States do to maintain its position as China rises?”


Dear John,

Does the National Geographic Society have a dog in this fight? Does it matter to NGS whether or not the liberal system survives? Or can our Society’s current mission as you’ve redefined it — “to inspire people to care about the planet” — work in a world that’s hostile to liberal, democratic values?

We ask because freedom, human rights, and democracy were clearly a priority  to National Geographic in the decades after World War II — a period when membership in our Society soared. But are they a priority for you now, and for the Society you lead?

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