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Power and Interdependence with China

by Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

Some degree of decoupling is bound to increase, but can the United States and China develop attitudes that allow them to cooperate in producing global public goods and managing interdependence while competing in other areas? Exaggerated fears will make such a balanced policy difficult, and hasty efforts to decouple will lead to a failed strategy that reduces US power.  

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Partial Disengagement: A New US Strategy for Economic Competition with China

by Aaron L. Friedberg and Charles W. Boustany Jr. 

US policy should not seek total decoupling from China, but rather a new posture of partial economic disengagement that will be politically sustainable and increase both US security and, in the longer run, the welfare of its citizens. To achieve this objective, the US government should pursue a strategy of four overlapping parts. 

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How to Think about Potentially Decoupling from China

by Ali Wyne 

While there is an understandable US desire to get tougher on China, there is no actual consensus on the ultimate objective of a new strategy, much less how to get there. These four questions should shape thinking about decoupling or any other successor strategy 

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China's Rise . . . Interrupted?

China’s Challenges: Now It Gets Much Harder 

by Thomas Fingar and Jean C. Oi 

The easy phases of China’s quest for wealth and power are over. After forty years, every one of a set of favorable conditions has diminished or vanished, and China’s future, neither inevitable nor immutable, will be shaped by the policy choices of party leaders facing at least eleven difficult challenges, including the novel coronavirus. 

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China’s “World-Class Military Ambitions: Origins and Implications 

by M. Taylor Fravel

In 2017, Xi Jinping outlined the goal to become a “world-class military by the middle of the century.” But “world-class” has been misinterpreted to mean a global military strategy or ambition for dominanceA review of Chinese language sources indicates that it should instead be interpreted as a general, high-level, overarching concept for PLA modernization.

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China Won’t Achieve Regional Hegemony 

by Denny Roy

Whether it seeks regional hegemony or not, China’s potential to dominate is restrained by a combination of domestic and international factors including, but not limited to, US commitments and regional resistance to a change in leadership. The region’s future will be more bipolar than unipolar. 

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Afghanistan: Peace through Power-Sharing? 

by Ulrich Pilster 

former NATO advisor analyzes 23 comparable cases since 1945, focusing on three here, to determine whether peace through power-sharing is possible in Afghanistan. What would the road look like? And what can the international community do to help the power-sharing process? 

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After the INF: What Will US Indo-Pacific Allies Do? 

by Benjamin Schreer

It is premature to conclude that Indo-Pacific allies will refuse to cooperate with Washington to minimize the “missile gap” with Beijing after the INF Treaty. Provided certain conditions are met, it is not impossible for Australia and Japan, in particular, to consider a future deployment. 

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Enforcing US Economic Sanctions: Why Whale Hunting Works 

by Bryan R. Early and Keith A. Preble

No country employs economic sanctions more than the United States, yet surprisingly little is known about US sanctions enforcement strategies. Research shows that, around 2007–09, it changed from catching many violators (a quantity or “fishing” strategy) to a more effective one pursuing a smaller number of major actions (a quality or “whale hunting” strategy). Here’s why that has worked. 

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Behind the Headlines

Insights from previous issues

Perils of Polarization for US Foreign Policy

by Kenneth A. Schultz

The long-term trend of partisan polarization in US politics has made it more difficult for the United States to conduct foreign policy and wield its diplomatic and military power in the world. How can we mitigate the worst effects? From our Winter 2017 issue.

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The Changing Fundamentals of US-China Relations

by Evan S. Medeiros

US-China competition has become more of a condition than a strategy, leading the former NSC senior director for Asia to argue that calling for competition with China is not enough; the key debates are how the United States competes—with what tools, on what issues, and at what costs. From our Fall 2019 issue.

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Presidential Alliance Powers

by Mira Rapp-Hooper and Matthew C. Waxman

The US president wields vast powers that can weaken alliances from within, undermining American treaty guarantees through action or inaction. Congress, however, can influence US alliance management and protect them from eroding. From our Summer 2019 issue.

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Economic Statecraft in the Age of Trump

by Daniel W. Drezner

A statecraft gap is emerging, with the United States getting worse at economic diplomacy just as other countries are getting better. The United States needs to develop a reliable doctrine on when to threaten networked sanctions, how to resist being the target of other actors’ efforts to weaponize interdependence, and how to use carrots as well as sticks. From our Fall 2019 issue.

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Europe's Authoritarian Challenge

by Jessica Brandt and Torrey Taussig

Policymakers must cut through Russia’s and China’s distinct economic, political, information, and cyber tactics to see their cumulative and detrimental effects on European democracy. From our Winter 2020 issue.

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