China on the March
Magazine or Newspaper Article, National Interest, issue 88, pages 16-22
March / April 2007
Twenty years from now, will China be a friend or foe of the United States? Certainly, China's youngest generation will influence the answer. It controls future policies, the pace of internal development, domestic stability and whether there is a crisis over Taiwan. Yet America's response is also important; the wrong actions could turn China against us.
The United States must adopt a twopronged policy. The first is to encourage China to become a "responsible stakeholder" in the international community. The second is to hedge against competitive or aggressive behavior by China.
Americans are impatient and dislike ambiguity, so successive U.S. administrations have struggled to sustain public support for a policy that to many, at first glance, can seem self-contradictory. But there is no reason for our policy to be self-contradictory. The key is what might be termed "prudent hedging", which does not impede engagement and does not create a self-fulfilling prophecy where treating China as an enemy turns it into one.
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