Global Insights: No Matter Who Wins, China Will Top U.S. Agenda

Global Insights: No Matter Who Wins, China Will Top U.S. Agenda

Though it will be at least another 12 hours before we know whether President Barack Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney will be in the White House come January 2013, we do already know the most important challenge the next U.S presidential administration will face: how to deal with China. Yet, the general bipartisan consensus on the appropriate U.S policy toward China makes major changes unlikely regardless of the election outcome.

Democrats and Republicans typically agree on the goal of achieving a peaceful China in a prosperous Asian region that reflects U.S-supported values of human rights. They also generally reject the idea of pursuing a containment strategy toward China and instead support continuing the strategy of mixing engagement and balancing that has been pursued by Republican and Democratic administrations since the Cold War.

Though China is often portrayed as the United States’ closest peer rival, the prospects for a U.S.-China military clash in the near term remain small. Still, historically, it has often been difficult for established powers to accommodate a rising power. So U.S. officials are rightfully concerned about the implications of China’s rise for the regional and overall balance of power and the effectiveness of U.S.-backed institutions.

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