Tough talk on China helped Trump win the presidency in 2016 and over the last four years the US has taken a markedly more assertive approach to confronting the rise of its first major geopolitical competitor since the Soviet Union. Critics of Trump’s approach say his China policy is based on flawed assumptions - the key one being the jingoistic assumption that China aspires to be an expansionist power rather than a regional broker primarily focused on protecting its sphere of influence. These same critics argue that American’s decline, relative to China’s rise, is inevitable and America should be preparing now for an era of increased cooperation with Beijing to tackle the world’s big problems from climate to the next pandemic. China hawks respond that a naive American policy prior to Trump paved the way for China to become the world’s second largest economy and chief geopolitical rival. Trump deserves credit for reversing this complacency. China skeptics argue that America must continue to be vigilant and suspicious of Chinese intentions in Asia and beyond. To ensure the preservation of the liberal international order in the 21st century, the US must confront and contain China across a spectrum of flash points including the South China Sea, Taiwan, trade, space, high tech, and human rights.
Arguing for the motion is Michael Pillsbury, Director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. and the newly appointed Chairman of the US Department of Defence policy advisory board. He’s the author of The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower.
Arguing against the motion is Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy.
Sources: ABC, Bloomberg, PBS, CGTN, Fox News, NBC, CBC
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