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Debates
August 2, 2019
The Recent U.S. Policy Towards China Is Productive
The Recent U.S. Policy Towards China Is Productive

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?   

Post-Debate
Winner

Against The Motion
83 %
15 %
For The Motion
2 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
Against The Motion
51 %
26 %
For The Motion
23 %
Undecided
Breakdown
Against The Motion
49% - Remained For the Against Side
14% - Swung From the For Side
20% - Swung From Undecided
For The Motion
1% - Swung From the Against Side
12% - Remained For the For Side
2% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
1% - Swung From the Against Side
0% - Swung From the For Side
1% - Remained Undecided
Post-Debate
Winner

Against the Motion
74 %
26 %
For the Motion
0 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
Against the Motion
41 %
41 %
For the Motion
19 %
Undecided
Breakdown
Against the Motion
41% - Remained For the Against Side
19% - Swung From the For Side
15% - Swung From Undecided
For the Motion
0% - Swung From the Against Side
22% - Remained For the For Side
4% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
0% - Swung From the Against Side
0% - Swung From the For Side
0% - Remained Undecided
About The Debaters
For The Motion
An image of Michael Pillsbury
Michael Pillsbury − Senior Fellow & Director for Chinese Strategy, Hudson Institute
Michael Pillsbury is a distinguished defense policy adviser, former high-ranking government official, and author of... read bio
An image of Kori Schake
Kori Schake − Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Strategic Studies
Kori Schake is the deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and was previously a... read bio
Against The Motion
An image of Graham Allison
Graham Allison − Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School
Graham Allison is the Douglas Dillon professor of government at Harvard Kennedy School, where he has taught for five... read bio
An image of Jake Sullivan
Jake Sullivan − Former National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden
Jake Sullivan is a Montgomery fellow at Dartmouth College, Martin R. Flug visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, and... read bio
Main Points
For The Motion
  • The prospect of China becoming an open and liberal state is now seemingly a fantasy, and recent U.S. policies are finally responding to the threat China poses to the West.
  • The U.S. is getting tough on China’s rampant intellectual-property theft and unfair trade practices through tariffs.And it’s working: China’s economic growth is at its lowest in decades.
  • China is developing advanced cyber weapons capable of cutting off U.S. access to strategic waters in the region. The U.S. must respond with strength to maintain its global power.
Against The Motion
  • The United States and China are great competitors – not enemies. It is a mistake to label China as such, particularly when the two countries have economies that are inextricably linked.
  • Current tariffs and trade policies are not productive: They are hurting American workers, slowing the global economy, and, some argue, benefiting China more than the United States.  
  • In getting tough on China, the U.S. is dangerously increasing the risk of escalating tensions. And a miscalculation could lead to unwanted conflict.
Trump’s China Policy Is a Triumph
Greg Autry / November 28, 2018
China is not an enemy
M. Taylor Fravel, J. Stapleton Roy, Michael D. Swaine, Susan A. Thornton & Ezra Vogel / July 3, 2019