December 14, 2018
In an Era of Divided Government, China Can Unite
The televised bickering between President Trump and top Democratic leaders illustrates that, if political leaders find any consensus in 2019, it won’t be on the border wall. Nor is it likely that Trump, the Democratic House and Republican Senate will find accord on Russia policy, the approach to Saudi Arabia, North Korea diplomacy or, for that matter, almost any other foreign-policy issue. Surprisingly, on the biggest issue of all—how to deal with China—there is actually far more agreement than discord. Pursued smartly, competition with Beijing could actually bring our political leaders together rather than drive them apart.
From the outset, the Trump administration has taken a tough line on China. Candidate Donald Trump railed against trade deficits and the thousands of manufacturing jobs he charged Beijing with “stealing” from the American economy. As president, his national-security strategy placed top priority on preparing the United States to compete with a resurgent China and Russia. And in a recent gauntlet-throwing speech, Vice President Mike Pence decried Beijing’s trade practices, human-rights abuses, activities in the South China Sea, and efforts to meddle in American democracy. “Previous administrations all but ignored China’s actions,” Pence declared. “Those days are over.” Pence promised the administration would respond with tariffs, higher military spending, freedom of navigation exercises, improvements in the nuclear arsenal, and efforts to expose covert Chinese political influence.
Not since the normalization of ties in the 1970s has an American administration been so public and explicit about its concerns about China, or so adamant about its appetite for a reckoning.
Read the full article in The National Interest.
More from CNAS
Bad Blood: The TTX for the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
I. Introduction Chairman Gallagher, Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi, distinguished members of the committee and staff, thank you for inviting me to come today to talk about the ...
By Stacie Pettyjohn, Becca Wasser & Andrew Metrick
Russia-China Defense Cooperation
Russia’s war in Ukraine has been a critical test of the depth of Sino-Russian relations. Since Russia’s invasion, China has remained an essential partner for Moscow. Although ...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Nicholas Lokker
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