The emergence of China on the world scene constitutes the most significant event in world politics since the end of World War II. Given its size, location, dynamism, and unconventional approach to many global issues, a rapidly growing China will reshape the global distribution of power and major issues confronting the international community.

As the world’s predominant political, economic, and military force, the United States faces a significant challenge in responding to China’s rising power and influence, especially in Asia. This challenge will require more effective U.S. policies and a reassessment of America’s fundamental strategic assumptions and relationships.

Offering a fresh perspective on current and near-term U.S. policy toward China, Michael Swaine examines the basic beliefs behind U.S.-China relations, recent policy practices by both countries, and the future trends most likely to affect U.S. policy. American leaders, he concludes, must develop policies to sustain America’s economic and technological prowess and improve the U.S. strategic position. Otherwise, Washington will have a hard time maintaining a stabilizing presence in East Asia, shaping regional and Chinese strategic perceptions, and managing key policy issues.

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Praise for this publication

"As Washington gropes for a new paradigm to structure this all-important bilateral relationship, diplomats, military strategists, and concerned citizens on both sides of the Pacific would do well to reflect carefully on Michael Swaine’s new treatise, which is a masterpiece that will set the standard in the field of policy analysis for decades to come.

"The fact that the book covers issues as disparate as naval strategy, trade negotiations, and energy cooperation—handling each of these complex topics and many others with admirable sophistication—is a tribute to the wide experience, intellectual depth, and solid research of the author. In this respect, the book is without peer."

Lyle Goldstein, Naval War College


“China’s rise presents America with its biggest foreign policy challenge. This book comprehensively and deftly lays out the considerations relevant to wise policy formulation. Swaine offers analysis and recommendations in a manner that both informs and enlightens. It will be an invaluable resource for policymakers, concerned citizens, and students.”

J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. ambassador to China


“For the last two decades Michael Swaine has provided some of the most enlightening and accurate views of Chinese thought. Here he engineers a convincing logic of the need to reassess our strategy in the U.S.-China relationship. His recommendations lay the foundation for the necessary debate.”

Joseph W. Prueher, former U.S. ambassador to China, former commander, U.S. Pacific Command, and James Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center, University of Virginia


“A significant and needed contribution to the literature on U.S.-China relations. Some conclusions are striking and will prove controversial.”

Aaron L. Friedberg, Professor at Princeton University and former deputy assistant to the vice president for national security affairs


“Swaine’s comprehensive, intensively researched analysis of trends in U.S.-China relations and sophisticated judgments on the opportunities, pitfalls, and prospects for American China policy deserve wide attention.”

Alice Miller, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University


“This book is unusually important—a ‘must-read’ by specialists who are concerned with U.S.-China relations.”

— Robert Sutter, Visiting Professor of Asian Studies at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University


“Swaine comprehensively reviews the U.S.-Chinese relationship, which he sees as marked by an awkward combination of suspicion and interdependence."

Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs