U.S.-Sino Relations at 40: How to Deal with China While Avoiding War

Deng Xiaoping, the initiator of China's reform and opening-up policy, is seen at the Great Hall of the People during a meeting in Beijing in this 1985 file photo. As China battles an economic slowdown that could test Communist Party control, its leaders a
December 31, 2018 Topic: Security Region: Asia Blog Brand: The Skeptics Tags: ChinaXi JinpingDeng XiaopingJimmy CarterAmerica

U.S.-Sino Relations at 40: How to Deal with China While Avoiding War

January 1st marks the 40th anniversary of U.S.-China ties. What happens next? 

Nevertheless, how to best maintain peace while seeking to constrain the harm that might result from a nation that is simultaneously becoming more powerful and oppressive is not obvious. Most important are better economic practices at home and greater military restraint abroad. Washington should enhance its strength and husband its influence.

Moreover, the United States should look to others to help constrain the PRC’s reach and channel its growth. As China ultimately finds its new place in the world order, other states will have to adapt while forcing Beijing to adjust as well. The last four decades have highlighted one of the greatest national transformations in history. Changes over the next forty years might not be as dramatic but ultimately could prove to be even more consequential. Getting policy toward China right matters for the entire world.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Image: Reuters