Christopher A. Preble
Labeling China a strategic competitor while downplaying areas of continued convergence could prove disastrous for American prosperity and American safety.
Washington is debating the benefits of continued trade and extensive economic engagement with China. Donald Trump, long a skeptic of such policies, is now in a position to do something about them. The National Security Strategy, released in December, states:
[T]he assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners … turned out to be false.
The National Defense Strategy, released earlier this month, labels Russia and China as “strategic competitors” and Secretary of Defense James Mattis has explained that the United States will prioritize “great power competition” over other foreign policy missions, such as fighting terrorism or blocking rogue states like Iran and North Korea (though those are also important).
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that “Lawmakers are moving to stanch the flow of U.S. technology to foreign investors, creating potential problems for a number of American companies that have bet big on partnering with China.”