The essence of great-power military competition involving two potential adversaries is to prepare for a military contingency while doing everything to avoid such a contingency. That may sound somewhat illogical, but no one has ever said that the balance of power-related maneuvers are either straightforward or simplistic. What it means is that diplomacy will be given a high priority while preparing for a potential military conflict. That mind-boggling reality is driving the People's Republic of China and the United States military competition. They are preparing for war, while their diplomats are working diligently to avoid it.