Reaching a balance of power in East Asia does not necessitate extensive security guarantees, nuclear umbrellas, and bellicose rhetoric focused on containing China at every point.
Conflict with China is Not Inevitable
Editor’s note: This essay won the John Quincy Adams Society’s 2019 Student Foreign Policy Essay Contest.
As China rises and America’s interventions in the Middle East fade away, a stream of proclamations from the foreign policy commentariat has announced a return to great power competition. Short of a Soviet-like collapse, the most important international security question of the twenty-first century will be whether and how the United States and China might coexist in peace. The odds are good that they will if Washington stays focused on its strict national security interests.
Many of the brightest minds in international politics have already weighed in, and their conclusions are worth reviewing in brief. G. John Ikenberry has argued that the United States should work “to accommodate a rising China by offering it status and position within the regional order in return for Beijing accepting and accommodating Washington’s core strategic interests, which include remaining a dominant security provider within East Asia.”