November 05, 2014

Engagement and Assurance: Debating the U.S.-Chinese Relationship

By Ely Ratner

In “How China Sees America’s Moves in Asia,” Professor Lyle Goldstein highlights the disturbing conclusion of a recent essay by three Chinese analysts: China is under siege, pinned down by a U.S. strategy of “containment” that aims to encircle their country and undermine its security interests.

Professor Goldstein is right to point out that concerns about U.S. "containment" are pervasive in Chinese foreign policy and national-security assessments, and that this is a fear the United States cannot ignore as it strengthens its focus on Asia. Professor Goldstein’s article is also an important reminder that to be successful, a strategy of deterrence requires a corresponding message of assurance. Security-studies scholars and military strategists have long recognized that deterrence and assurance are two sides of the same coin, and that some level of assurance is required to encourage a potential adversary to exercise restraint.

Read the full piece in The National Interest.

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