In favor of engagement


Jeffrey Bader of the Brookings Institute has written an essay arguing that the U.S. should continue to engage with China. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but this is the key point:

Continuing intensive engagement in no way would prevent alterations in U.S. policy to respond to challenges from China in the economic, digital, academic, and security fields. Indeed it would likely make policy changes more effective by giving China a continuing stake in the relationship with the United States.

That argument may fall on deaf ears in Washington as criticism of Beijing grows louder by the day.

  • CIA Director Gina Haspel made a speech in which she “said China’s efforts to expand its global influence are of high interest to the agency, citing Beijing’s investments and loans to poorer nations that may be hard-pressed to repay them,” according to CBS.
  • The hostility is building on both sides: “US Defence Secretary James Mattis said on Monday he was seeking a way ahead for military ties with China after Beijing postponed military talks in protest at last week’s US decision to impose sanctions over China’s purchase of Russian weaponry,” reports Reuters.
  • Another snub: Beijing says US warship cannot dock in Hong Kong, reports Asia Times: “The decision is the second in two years by China despite many years of ‘successful’ port visits by US ships in Hong Kong, US diplomats said.”