Engaging with China: Three Dimensions

In a piece originally published in The Hill, entitled The U.S. must engage with China — even when countering China, I address the three dimensions of engagement.

First, the U.S. needs to engage with allies, particularly in Asia, to bolster the U.S. position. In doing so, however, it also must bargain with China.

Second, the U.S. needs to disaggregate its relationship with China so that it can fruitfully cooperate with China on issues of common concern, such as climate change, global pandemics, and nuclear proliferation.

Third, and critically, U.S. political leaders need to engage with each other productively to strengthen, and not undermine, U.S. engagement with China. In each of these relationships, there will be competition and rivalry, but cooperation is also essential. The most difficult engagement will likely be domestic, given the polarization within the U.S.

As I write, “the U.S. domestic inability to cooperate bolsters Chinese claims that the U.S. is declining, and China is rising because China’s authoritarian model is superior to U.S. democracy. Engagement, not disengagement, will be critical going forward — with allies, with China, and with each other at home. Check out this link.

Gregory Shaffer is Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of the forthcoming book, Emerging Powers in the World Trading System: The Past and Future of International Economic Law (Cambridge University Press/July 27, 2021).

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Gregory Shaffer

Gregory Shaffer

Gregory Shaffer is Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine, and President of the American Society of International Law (ASIL).