The BriefGet Up To Speed
The United States is cracking down on China in an attempt to create a more favorable balance of trade. Other concerns include continuing Chinese thefts of intellectual property and the imposition of technology transfer requirements to do business in China. The U.S. seeks to frustrate China’s program to achieve dominance in a range of advanced technologies. And it wants to cripple Huawei, the telecoms giant, which it sees as a potential security threat. Both parties have instituted punitive tariffs, and both are feeling the impact. China is struggling to maintain its growth rate, yet is still projecting strength as a social, political, and economic leader on the world stage by building ports and bridges all over the world and developing military technology capable of denying the U.S. access to the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. If successful, Beijing’s ambitious projects and advanced AI and cyber weapons could put Washington on its heels. Are recent U.S. policies tough and focused enough to achieve key economic and strategic objectives? Or will U.S. policy escalate tensions too much, ultimately reducing the chances that the world’s two major powers can achieve a sensible accommodation?View Debate Page
- Senior Fellow & Director for Chinese Strategy, Hudson Institute
"What will be US President Trump’s policy on China? How will China-US ties go after he takes office? Many have started to worry as his foreign policy has been unpredictable. CGTN's Tian Wei interviewed a US policy hardliner on China, Mr. Michael Pillsbury, who is a consultant at the US Department of Defence. He has been studying China since the 1970s and has served as a high-ranking government official in previous administrations. Though he says he’s not going to join Trump’s team of advisers, he believes the new US president will do a great job."
"China announced that it will raise tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, after the U.S. raised duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Hudson Institute’s Michael Pillsbury reacts to the trade dispute."
In a Munk Debates event on May 30, 2019, Michael Pillsbury gives his view on China's position as a world leader in surveillance.
"Michael Pillsbury, director for Chinese strategy at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, said he applied for a visa with the Chinese Embassy in Washington on March 22 but failed to get approval to attend the conference last Sunday, which was organized by a research institute in Beijing. Mr. Pillsbury said that when he raised the issue with a Chinese Communist Party official he knows, the official pointed to a recent New York Times article that said counterintelligence officials at the F.B.I. had been canceling the long-term visas of some Chinese scholars."
"'There was a major breakdown 6 weeks ago. The talks really faced extinction at that point. They were taking back a lot of major points they were refusing to go further on the enforcement mechanism. And so that was a pretty bleak situation,' he said. 'I think what had to happen is...President Xi's team made clear...that he [needed] something on Huawei at this meeting. He also needed to have the tariffs at least not imposted at this meeting. Otherwise he would be saying no to any further talks. That's what President Trump did. It's a brilliant stroke. The president deserves a lot of credit.'"
- Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Strategic Studies
There's plenty of cause for skepticism. But there are at least five reasons to support this tentative agreement.
Kori Schake argues, “We in the West must not be so concerned about Russia’s future bad behavior that we fail to push back against Russia’s current bad behavior. We must not deter ourselves from protecting our interests and our allies.”
“On the heels of a tension-filled NATO summit, Russia experts wonder whether Trump’s meeting with Putin will address the Russian government’s rising belligerence.”
Kori Schake argues, “Whether President Trump is a Manchurian candidate—cultivated for leadership here by an enemy nation to damage our country—or simply feckless is almost irrelevant at this point … Trump’s actions, even if motivated by ill-founded concepts or desperate self-preservation rather than allegiance to a hostile foreign power, are deeply injurious to the welfare of the United States.”
Kori Schake argues “The United States isn’t newly worried about being taken advantage of by our NATO allies; that suspicion has worried American governments since NATO’s creation.”
Dr. Kori Schake discusses “the current transatlantic security landscape, President Trump's upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and how the West Coast perceives U.S. relations with European allies.”
Kori Schake argues “The Europeans need us, and we need them—let’s not call the whole thing off.”
“Yascha Mounk talks to Kori Schake, deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, about the damage Donald Trump is doing to the trans-Atlantic relationship, what the world would look like without NATO, and why it’s worth defending the liberal international order.”
Kori Schake argues, “The leader of the free world wants to destroy the alliances, trading relationships and international institutions that have characterized the American-led order for 70 years.”
Kori Schake names five reasons for supporting the Iran nuclear deal.
Kori Schake argues, “Republican candidates and Congressmen should give full vent to denouncing the agreement. It will send a note of caution to the Iranian leadership and show allies we take seriously their concerns. And they should all develop crisp answers to the question of what they would do instead.”
Kori Schake argues, “The nuclear deal takes a potential Iranian nuclear weapon out of the equation for another eight years or more, buying us valuable time to push back on such behavior by Iran—and that is the material advantage of the JPCOA.”
Scholars Kori Schake and Robin Wright discuss the Iran nuclear agreement and ISIS strategy at the 2017 Aspen Security Forum.
“[Kori] Schake joins Stephanie Ruhle along with her panel to discuss Trump on the world stage.”
A panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival takes up the question of what’s next in the Trump administration’s push for an America First agenda, and where such profound changes leave America in the world.
"A scholar of war and international policy, Hoover Research Fellow Kori Schake takes us around the world as powers shift and China rises. "
"Kori Schake, deputy director-general at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, discusses the future of U.S. foreign policy and her recent Foreign Affairs article, “Back to Basics: How to Make Right What Trump Gets Wrong,” with James M. Lindsay."
"When Pax Britannica gave way to Pax Americana, the transition was peaceful. A repeat is unlikely, says the author of ‘Safe Passage.’"
"The president’s approach is different than his predecessors’—but that doesn’t mean it’s working."
"Our own behavior is chewing into our margin for error and probably remains a stronger indicator of our fate than any choices made by China."
While others on the panel advocate for a grand policy of nonintervention, Kori Schake advocates for a case-by-case intervention policy.
Almost halfway through a discussion on Iraq, Kori Schake discusses what she believes the U.S. should do there, and supports the idea that the U.S. has a strategy of promoting, inter alia, human rights.
“And I think actually after leaving Iraq and our halfhearted efforts in Afghanistan, we are actually going to need to put troops on the ground in order for other people to be willing to put troops on the ground.”
“An intervention that seeks to create refugee camps within Syrian territory would take the pressure off neighboring countries. The United Nations estimates that six million Syrians are in need of urgent assistance, a full third of the population.”
“Though westerners are understandably wary of war, the US has high stakes in Syria and limited intervention can go far.”
“Our failures are not the result of intervening in the wrong places.”
“Obama seems to believe that the lesson of Iraq and Libya is to never intervene, rather than to learn how to intervene better, as the United States did in northern Iraq after the Gulf War, in the Balkan wars in the 1990s, and in Colombia’s struggle against insurgents during the past two decades.”
When it comes to America’s engagement with the outside world — from trade to alliances — there’s still broad agreement across parties.
The False Logic of Retreat.
There’s a delicious irony in the Trump team’s affection for the historian—who repeatedly shows how populists lead societies to ruin.
Can the new president really shake things up as much as we fear?
The current international order provides an opportunity for U.S. policymakers to put the defense budget in order, and the long- term federal budget outlook makes seizing this opportunity essential.
It's hard not to despair about the irresponsibility of politicians in Congress, the White House, and the Pentagon (suited and uniformed) watching the FY2014 budget process unfold.
The odds are slim that Hagel will become a strong and capable secretary. In order to boost the odds of his success, he quickly needs to send signals throughout the organization that he can command respect.
Discussion of budget proposals by co-authors Admiral Gary Roughhead and Kori Schake (misspelled in transcript) and Cindy Williams.
- Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School
The Obama administration and its indefatigable secretary of state deserve a hearty round of applause for what has been achieved at this point.
The companion website for Graham Allison’s book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’ Trap?, offers supplementary materials well-suited for a classroom.
"Defying the long-held convictions of Western analysts, and against huge structural differences, Beijing and Moscow are drawing closer together to meet what each sees as the 'American threat.'"
"In 1978, nine in every 10 people in China - with a population of 1 billion then - were scrambling for a living below the 'extreme poverty line' at just under $2 per day as set by the World Bank. Today, that's been flipped on its head."
"Are the U.S. and China doomed to battle? Or to put it another way, are they Sparta and Athens? That’s what’s meant when foreign affairs observers toss around the phrase 'Thucydides Trap.'"
" If the tectonic shift caused by China’s rise poses a challenge of genuinely Thucydidean proportions, declarations about 'rebalancing,' or revitalizing 'engage and hedge,' or presidential hopefuls’ calls for more 'muscular' or 'robust' variants of the same, amount to little more than aspirin treating cancer."
America and the USSR found ways to avoid military confrontations as they engaged in a fierce but peaceful competition to show which system worked best. Perhaps this model offers hope for Washington and Beijing today?
"Graham Allison shows why a rising China and a dominant United States could be headed towards a violent collision no one wants -- and how we can summon the common sense and courage to avoid it."
"Graham Allison expresses broad agreement with Kori Schake and admiration for her work. He notes three areas of potential discussion, however: First, he notes that strategic realities particular to the nineteenth century shaped the transfer of hegemony from the UK to the United States; second, he suggests we need to be clearer on what is meant by “contesting” China’s rise; and third, he argues that each country’s domestic challenges are likely to be more important than we may know."
"In the long sweep of history, when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling power, alarm bells should sound: extreme danger ahead."
The authors suggest guidelines for American foreign policy, ways in which it should be carried forward, and considerations which should be taken into account in the process.
Fifty years ago, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. Today, it can help U.S. policymakers understand what to doand what not to doabout Iran, North Korea, China, and presidential decision-making in general.
Other than the security of chemical weapons, there are no vital American national interests in the developments in Syria.
- Former National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden
"First, contrary to the president’s assertions, America’s hands are not tied and its sovereignty is not compromised by the Paris climate pact. [...] The second big lie is that the Paris agreement will be a job killer. In fact, it will help the United States capture more 21st-century jobs."
"On 13 June, the Lowy Institute heard an address from Hillary Clinton’s closest foreign policy confidant, Jake Sullivan, about what motivated the pivot and what US Asia policy will look like under President Trump and beyond."
"The way Trump looks at it, Sullivan said, the game of deals is about winning and losing, not about cooperating or maintaining an alliance structure."
"In this interview, Jake Sullivan draws from his experiences to talk about North Korea, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and One Belt One Road. He discusses his strategic vision for American foreign policy in Asia and takes stock of the Trump administration’s approach."
Sullivan discusses the biggest foreign-policy dangers for Democrats, the real reasons that the Obama Administration aided the Saudi war in Yemen, and Trump’s embrace of foreign strongmen.
"The notion that Beijing has become a strategic rival does not ring true for many across the United States. However, policymakers in Washington are pushing a more confrontational approach to the bilateral relationship."
For the Motion
"But the Trump administration is the first one in decades to tell China that the status quo is broken. What China watchers should be doing is building on that insight, and not returning to promises of a kinder, gentler policy that wouldn’t have worked in the 1940s and won’t work today."
"The president's trade war is bringing Beijing to heel."
“The U.S. is in a strong negotiating position because of its large trade imbalance.”
Against the Motion
"We are deeply concerned about the growing deterioration in U.S. relations with China," say the signatories of a letter to President Trump and the Congress.
"We should be more worried about China’s export of totalitarianism than consumer products."
"The U.S.-China relationship is confronting its most daunting challenge in the forty years since normalization of relations. Current trends portend steadily worsening relations over the long term and the threat of an even more dangerous decline in the relationship demands serious corrective measures."
Trade, Tariffs & The TPP
"Economy grew by 6.2% in the second quarter as U.S. and businesses held back from making big investments amid trade tensions."
"As China and the U.S. drift apart, a new pattern of global relations may be emerging."
"The U.S. and China are engaged in much more than a trade tiff. This is nothing less than a struggle to redefine the rules governing the economic and power relations of the world’s oldest and newest superpowers."
"Defensive protectionism will not meet the China challenge; only domestic revival can do that."
"American companies are now starting to understand that, deal or no deal, the friction between Washington and Beijing will continue."
"The president’s tough rhetoric plays into Chinese economic nationalism."
"Trump has long been a critic of the trade agreement, but he has had a sometimes-complicated relationship with it over the past three years. Here's a timeline."
Huawei & Security Risks
"The Trump administration says the mere potential for Beijing to influence the Chinese technology giant Huawei is enough to justify a law passed last year restricting federal agencies’ business with the company."
"Chinese spies are increasingly recruiting U.S. intelligence officers as part of a widening, sustained campaign to shake loose government secrets."
"Ren Zhengfei’s company should be celebrated as a triumph of the U.S.-led global trading system."
"But the executive order misses a critical problem: our networks already contain equipment from Huawei — lots of it. The Federal Communications Commission must find this equipment and work with other policymakers to fix the security problems and fund a solution for affected carriers."
"Huawei does pose a threat to U.S. security, but that is not the only reason for Washington’s assault on the company. Rather, the moves are a gambit in a larger battle over the future of the digital world."
Intellectual Property Theft
"United States President Donald Trump’s justification for imposing tariffs on imports from China includes the alleged theft of American intellectual property."
"Theft of intellectual property by Chinese companies is a major point of contention between the Trump administration and Chinese government."
South China Sea & Taiwan Strait
"Today, with tension again running high, Washington still backs Taiwan. Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 2 renewed Beijing’s longstanding threat to use force if necessary to restore mainland control over the island. But the United States is now sending much more muted signals of support."
"A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons."
"China held military drills off the coast of Taiwan as tensions rise between Beijing and Washington over US support for the island that China views as a part of its territory."
"China has been investing heavily in its military modernisation, with one of the focuses on the research and development of next-generation weapons and equipment."
"New Evidence is emerging that the Chinese campaign to exterminate the culture and traditions of Turkic Muslim people, chiefly Uighurs, in the Xinjiang region also includes a generation of children and young people."
"Ambassadors of 37 states from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America praised China’s “contribution to the international human rights cause” in the letter sent to the UN's Human Rights Council."
"I lived in China, speak Chinese and deeply admire the country. Yet I am increasingly repulsed by Xi’s China, for he is dragging the country in the wrong direction."