FOREIGN AFFAIRS – October 14, 2020 | View in Browser
The United States is engaged in competition with China on multiple fronts, from trade and technology to intelligence and international institutions. With tensions continuing to rise, the U.S. relationship with China will inevitably be a foreign policy priority for the next administration. The right approach, however, is still up for debate.
Understanding the U.S.-Chinese rivalry must begin with understanding Chinese conduct and global political dynamics, Odd Arne Westad writes. Kurt M. Campbell and Mira Rapp-Hooper note that Beijing’s recent assertiveness may indicate a permanent foreign policy shift—and Kevin Rudd warns that a lack of restraint on both sides makes the risk of armed escalation higher than it’s been in decades.
To counter the threat to U.S. national security, Nikki Haley argues that the United States needs a “whole of nation” approach, unencumbered by illusions about China’s intentions. Aaron L. Friedberg writes that Washington should aim to alter Beijing’s decision-making, not just react to its provocations. But for deterrence to succeed, Julian Gewirtz argues, Washington must dispel Beijing’s view of the United States as a declining power bent on keeping China down.
Others contend that the United States must not expect to change China. Kurt M. Campbell and Jake Sullivan propose an alternative goal: coexistence on terms favorable to U.S. interests. Washington should not exaggerate the threat China poses, Fareed Zakaria adds. China’s rise is a feature of the new world order—reflexive hostility will not change that reality.
This special election coverage is made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.