Few U.S. national security officials pay much attention to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum or economic statecraft in general. But they should. The APEC meeting just completed in Beijing is fraught with strategic implications. In a region where economics is synonymous with security, the impact of the quarter-century-old institution to promote trade liberalization may change the course of tomorrow’s security framework.
A quarter century from now, we will know whether China genuinely wished to be a responsible stakeholder by adopting and adapting existing international institutions. While China experts argue over the degree to which Beijing is buying into the existing global system or bent on a revisionist path, U.S. officials need to realize that they are facing a “use-it-or-lose-it” crisis that has nothing to do with nuclear weapons.
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