From Engagement to Competition? The Logic of the US China Policy Debate

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This article explores the logic of the ongoing debate in the United States over its China policy. Scholarly assessments of China's power and intentions are more diverse than ever before, so it is no wonder that the United States is faced with an array of policy options, including continuing engagement, accommodation, competition and containment. This makes it more difficult for US policy makers to forge a consensus regarding the course of engagement with China. This paper provides an analytic framework for explaining the logic of US policy choices within the debate and examines the implications for the Trump administration. It is hoped that it can help US policy makers interpret China's rise, and act as a baseline from which they can formulate an optimal approach towards dealing with the PRC.