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Recommendations for the Biden Administration
Edited by Ryan Hass, Ryan McElveen, and Robert D. Williams
In recent years, U.S.-China relations have grown increasingly rivalrous. The incoming administration will inherit a bilateral relationship in which areas of confrontation have intensified, areas of cooperation have shrunk, and the capacity of both countries to solve problems or manage competing interests has atrophied.
To address these challenges, the incoming administration will need to develop new thinking on how most effectively to address the myriad challenges and opportunities of the U.S.-China relationship. Whether for strengthening coordination with allies on China, addressing security challenges, or advancing American interests in the areas of economics, technology, and rule of law, fresh ideas will be needed to adapt American policy to meet the competitive and complex nature of U.S.-China relations.
The Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, directed by Paul Gewirtz, and the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, directed by Cheng Li, have drawn upon the expertise and experiences of their scholars and other outside experts to compile a monograph geared toward providing policy recommendations for the next administration. Edited by Ryan Hass, Ryan McElveen, and Robert D. Williams, the monograph offers array of affirmative and pragmatic proposals for how the United States should adapt its policy toward China to respond to current realities in a manner that best protects and promotes America’s security, prosperity, interests, and values.
Meeting the China challenge
A strategic competitor, not an enemy
Jeffrey A. Bader Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Jeffrey A. Bader provides a framework for understanding the current state of the U.S.-China relationship.
Avoiding three traps in confronting China’s party-state
Cheng Li Director - John L. Thornton China Center, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution
Cheng Li identifies three traps that the next administration should avoid in its conception and execution of a coherent China policy.
Designing a new diplomatic framework for dealing with China
Ryan Hass Michael H. Armacost Chair and Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, John L. Thornton China Center, Interim Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies, Brookings Institution; Nonresident Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School
Ryan Hass encourages the next administration to settle on a pace and level of diplomatic interaction with Chinese leaders that is reflective of — or not in conflict with — the views of the American public and of American allies and partners on China.
Working with our (European) allies
Paul Gewirtz Potter Stewart Professor of Constitutional Law and Director, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School; Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Paul Gewirtz identifies five promising areas for collaboration with European allies: economic issues, technology issues, human rights, reinvigorating the international system, and climate change.
Developing a new US approach to China and COVID-19
Thomas J. Christensen Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Thomas J. Christensen notes that the failure of Washington and Beijing to cooperate during the COVID-19 crisis has increased the suffering of the Chinese and American populations and urges a new U.S. administration to take steps to adjust its approach.
Rebooting US-China climate engagement
Todd Stern Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Energy Security and Climate Initiative
Todd Stern observes that reviving climate coordination will depend both upon getting the mix of competition and collaboration right in the overall relationship and upon the extent to which both countries are prepared to dramatically ramp up their climate action.
Getting human rights right
Consistency, patience, multilateralism, and setting a good example
Andrew Nathan Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science - Columbia University
Andrew J. Nathan argues that human rights have grown in importance in the U.S.-China relationship and that U.S. policy on China must be updated to demonstrate America’s strong, consistent, and patient support for Chinese human rights defenders and change advocates.
Evolving the US base structure in the Indo-Pacific
Michael E. O’Hanlon Director of Research - Foreign Policy, Co-Director - Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, The Sydney Stein, Jr. Chair, Brookings Institution
Michael E. O’Hanlon argues that the next administration should be deliberate and methodical about making any adjustments to U.S. force posture in Asia in response to China’s expansion in military capabilities.
Averting conflict in the South China Sea
Steps to restore rules and restraint
Susan A. Thornton Senior Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School; Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Susan A. Thornton proposes a “cooperation spiral” that could lead China and the United States, together with ASEAN South China Sea claimants, to restore trust and reestablish law, rules, and restraint in this vital waterway.
Competing with China in Southeast Asia
The economic imperative
Jonathan Stromseth Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asian Studies, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Jonathan Stromseth argues that Washington needs to improve its economic game in Southeast Asia by operationalizing infrastructure coordination with allies and partners, including Japan, Australia, and Singapore.
Contending on the periphery
Taiwan and Hong Kong
Richard C. Bush Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Richard C. Bush argues that the next U.S. administration will face decisions regarding whether to change policy toward Taiwan and Hong Kong in order to secure its interests.
Testing the possibilities of renewed cooperation with China on North Korea Policy
Jonathan D. Pollack Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Jonathan D. Pollack concludes that the Trump administration’s failure to achieve any of its declared denuclearization objectives requires a careful reassessment of credible policy goals, the mechanisms needed to advance them, and steps to be avoided.
Improving risk reduction and crisis management in US-China relations
Rush Doshi Brookings-Yale Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School; Director, China Strategy Initiative, Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, John L. Thornton China Center, Project on International Order and Strategy, Brookings Institution
Rush Doshi argues that U.S.-China crisis management and risk reduction should be a point of emphasis for the next U.S. administration.
Forging an alternative economic strategy for dealing with China
David Dollar Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
David Dollar calls on the next administration to end the current “managed trade” approach to the U.S. economic relationship with China.
Crafting a multilateral technology and cybersecurity policy
Robert D. Williams Executive Director, Paul Tsai China Center, Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School; Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Robert D. Williams argues the U.S. should seek to protect American intellectual property and strategic technologies while sustaining and strengthening the innovation ecosystem that makes those technologies possible, while upholding American values of human rights, democracy, and rule of law.
Addressing the data security risks of US-China technology entanglement
Samm Sacks Senior Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School
Samm Sacks argues that U.S.-China technology interdependence creates a suite of challenges for cross-border data flows, data privacy, and data security that extend beyond the traditional risks of cyber espionage and protecting intellectual property.
Revitalizing law and governance collaboration with China
Jamie P. Horsley Senior Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School; Visiting Fellow - Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
Jamie P. Horsley urges the next administration to strengthen official U.S.-China legal cooperation to support China’s efforts to establish rule of law and good governance.