How to get tough with China
America has given Beijing a pass for 45 years. Time to get it right.
(From the National Interest)
By Grant Newsham, Kerry Gershaneck
The United States’ approach to dealing with China from the Nixon-Kissinger era onwards resembles a forty-five-year science experiment—an experiment that has failed.
The underlying hypothesis was that an accommodating approach to the PRC would inevitably lead to a more liberal China that followed the established rules of the international system. It seemed so logical, as it was under that system that China would so handsomely benefit.
After four-plus decades, there is scant evidence this hypothesis is correct. In fact, the PRC’s relentless effort to create what might cheekily be called a “Greater South China Sea Co-Prosperity Sphere” belies any notion this view was ever correct. China’s island-building expansion across the South China Sea is just the latest evidence that most of the “experts” got China wrong.
Fortunately, the South China Sea is now properly getting attention. But the PRC’s objective is, at a minimum, regional hegemony. While the United States must hold the line in the region and make clear it won’t be bullied out of East Asia, the South China Sea problem will not be resolved in the South China Sea itself.
Rather, a successful approach must also involve simultaneously applying pressure elsewhere on the PRC—and particularly on the ruling elite in the Communist Party of China (CPC). Read more