My friend, and vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, Chris Preble warns in The National Interest that despite the increasingly aggressive posture of the Chinese government toward dissenters and foreign companies, engaging with China is still better than isolating the country. Any attempts to cajole or pressure the Chinese by the Trump administration should keep in mind this advice. Chris writes (abridged):
Xi Jinping has consolidated political power, the Chinese state is cracking down on dissenters, and the Chinese Communist Party is dusting off propaganda techniques from the Mao era. Beijing is even putting considerable pressure on American companies doing business there.
For now, however, the benefits of continued engagement with China outweigh the costs and risks. More importantly, labeling China a strategic competitor, or focusing on the adversarial aspects of U.S.-China relations, while downplaying or ignoring the areas of continued convergence, risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that could prove disastrous for American prosperity and American safety.
Read more from Chris here.
If you’re unfamiliar with Chris Preble, start by reading my series The Most Important Person You May Have Never Heard Of, and follow that up by ordering a copy of Chris’s book, The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free.