Author: Robert D. Blackwill, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy
March 15, 2017
The National Interest
For the United States, the headline concerning China should not be “engage and hedge” as it has been for decades. Given China’s systematic destabilizing external behavior, the time is past for hedging. Rather, for the foreseeable future, U.S. policy should be “engage and contain.”
With President Trump’s first meeting with President Xi Jinping of China scheduled for next month in Palm Beach, Florida, President Obama’s ambassador to China, Max Baucus, a longtime Montana Democrat senator, recently said that the United States needs to stop getting pushed around by China and work out a long-term strategy to deal with that country’s rise. Baucus expressed frustration with the Obama administration’s lack of strategic vision and its weakness when it came to China. China, Baucus said, has a long-term objective to build up its economic might and global influence at the expense of the United States. The United States, by contrast, often appears distracted by problems in the Middle East.
“The Washington foreign-policy establishment tends to put China on another shelf, to deal with it later,” he said. “We’re much too ad hoc. We don’t seem to have a long-term strategy, and that’s very much to our disadvantage.”