Image credit: Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images
October 12, 2020
Beijing Believes Trump Is Accelerating American Decline
Public intelligence assessments of China’s 2020 election preferences only tell half the story.
In August, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence claimed publicly that China “prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection.” But these assessments tell only half the story, and Chinese open sources suggest the need for a more nuanced view.
While Chinese leaders may wish for a reprieve from President Donald Trump’s recent aggressiveness, they also believe that he has weakened American power and accelerated American decline. It is this latter judgement that is more consequential, encouraging Beijing to challenge Washington not only in Asia but globally, too.
When China’s perception of American strength shifts, its strategy generally changes.
As I argue in my forthcoming book The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order, Chinese leaders have constantly assessed and reassessed American power. Since the end of the Cold War, each leader has publicly anchored Chinese grand strategy to concepts like “multipolarity” and “the international balance of forces” that are essentially polite euphemisms for the relative balance between Chinese and American power. When China’s perception of American strength shifts, its strategy generally changes.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
Our Military Leaders Need a National Security ‘Fast Lane’ to Compete With China
The spy balloon is a wake-up call that highlights the boldness and aggression of China. This should remind Americans to expect more focus and agility from their government’s n...
By General Mike Holmes, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) & Dan Patt
Calling Check: Technology Competition with China
This week Emily Kilcrease, director of the Energy, Economics, and Security program at CNAS, joins The Asia Chessboard podcast from CSIS for a wide ranging discussion on the i...
By Emily Kilcrease
Atomic Strait: How China’s Nuclear Buildup Shapes Security Dynamics with Taiwan and the United States
This report examines the intersection of China’s nuclear modernization and cross-Strait tensions, especially how they might play out during a crisis, contingency, or conflict ...
By Jacob Stokes
Opportunities and Challenges for Trade Policy in the Digital Economy
This hearing addresses digital trade, and I will focus my testimony on the national-security problems in this area posed by China – specifically, concerns about China’s open a...
By David Feith