China: Getting the Questions Right

The usual questions about the China threat are increasingly unproductive. The authors suggest some new ones of their own.

Issue: Winter 2000-2001

The challenge presented by a rising China is the principal issue
facing American foreign policy. This is not always obvious to most
Americans or even to many of our leaders. Since the end of the Cold
War, defense policy has been absorbed in second-order problems of
deterring or defeating mid-level powers such as Iraq, North Korea and
Serbia, and in third-order problems of peacekeeping and humanitarian
intervention. Over the long term, however, the first priority of a
serious foreign policy is to handle challenges from discontented,
nuclear-armed, major powers.

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