Getting China Right – Nina Hachigian and Michael Schiffer


The Far Eastern Economic Review briefly assesses the longstanding status quo of U.S.-China relations and delineates the conditions for future progressive U.S. and international engagement of China. Selections from the article follow:

[…]Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all promised during their campaigns to be “tougher” on China than their predecessor was. But once in office, when the realities of the relationship sunk in—and after initial difficulties in managing relations at the outset of their administrations—they all reverted to a more pragmatic approach.

[…]For 30 years, America’s approach to China has been guided by the twin poles of either engagement or hedging—or some combination of the two. Today Washington has to move beyond that construct.

[…]A pragmatic, forward-looking and multifaceted “risk management” strategy can open a new phase in U.S.-China relations. Such an approach has six elements:

According to the article, among the elements of such an approach include: embedding China within the international system as a global stakeholder; hedging against economic and military risks and promoting peace within the region; bilateral collaboration with China and multilateral influence upon China; re-establishing U.S. moral authority; and adapting the U.S. economy to compete globally.

Reiterating the need for collaboration on several key issues, and the tone of such collaboration:

[…]Importantly, the next administration has an unparalleled opportunity to engage China in a constructive partnership on climate change and energy security—an extraordinary and urgent challenge the U.S. national security in this new century…

[…]The United States cannot determine China’s future; that task belongs to the Chinese people. Rather, by facing our own challenges and working with China to tackle both China’s own problems as well as our shared global challenges the next administration has a once in a generation opportunity to help shape the environment in which China makes its choices and peacefully integrate China into the international order, and, in the process, embed it in the web of norms and responsibilities that come with being an active player on the world stage.

See the full article here.


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