Thinking Seriously About China

For Americans, China is sometimes an intellectual construct, at times viewed with respect for its economic growth, wariness regarding its international assertiveness, concern over exchange rates and intellectual property rights, or admiration for its culture and its history. In recent years, the news out of China seems disproportionately negative, be it stories concerning the economic slowdown, South China Sea friction, centralization of power under Xi Jinping, or a reduced tolerance for open discussion. But regardless of the challenges, the emergence of China might represent potential opportunity for the United States as well. Foreign policy should not be determined primarily by the problem of the day or the emotions of the moment; we need to step back and try to understand where China is trying to go, where the U.S. is trying to go, how we can find a basis for cooperation where possible and manage differences when they arise.

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