As global attention fixes on the Trump administration’s North Korea and Iran policies, the White House is preparing for another consequential policy shift that’s gone almost unnoticed in comparison — this time on China. Reports suggest the Trump administration will soon adopt a more hard-edged strategy toward China’s unfair trade practices and pursuit of American technology, among other issues. In theory, this would represent a major departure from how the United States has approached China, now the world’s second-largest economy and military spender.
Yet the Trump administration’s ability to translate this new approach into sustained action remains in question. Multiple U.S. administrations have tried, and failed, to focus attention on a rising China.
George W. Bush’s national security team came into office determined to elevate China as a long-term strategic focus. The April 2001 collision of a Chinese fighter jet with a U.S. surveillance aircraft — and the tense standoff that followed — reinforced this perspective. By September 2001, the Pentagon was finalizing its Defense Strategy Review, which embraced great power competition with China.
Read the full op-ed in Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
CommentarySharper: Global Coronavirus Response
As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human...
By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
PodcastChina, Europe, and COVID-19 with CNAS’s Ashley Feng and Kristine Lee
Ashley Feng and Kristine Lee join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to explain China’s response to COVID-19 on the latest episode of Brussels Sprouts. Feng is a Research ...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Kristine Lee & Ashley Feng
CommentaryCan the G7 Stop the Coronavirus?
The world’s leading governments are throwing all they have into the coronavirus fight. Recent days have seen dramatic social distancing requirements, novel border controls, ma...
By Gary Edson & Richard Fontaine
CommentaryVirus Competition Is Wrecking China-U.S. Cooperation Hopes
As Washington shifted its worldview over the last several years to a sharp focus on China competition, even the most claw-bearing hawks generally left open the possibility of ...
By Richard Fontaine