While frictions between the United States and China in the areas of trade, investment, and technology development are certainly important, in fact the most critical driver of potential instability between Washington and Beijing consists of clashing security perceptions and policies.
If U.S. policy assumes China cannot play a constructive role within the system America designed, then the United States will, in effect, be prodding China into championing a parallel, separate system, with very different rules.
In receiving the French president, Chinese leadership has shown it is willing to develop long-term relations with the most important Western countries, including those in Europe that have been at the core of the EU’s new China strategy.
Russia and China’s strategic military cooperation is becoming ever closer. President Putin has announced that Russia is helping China build an early warning system to spot intercontinental ballistic missile launches.
Technonationalists, whatever their nationality, take a strategic view of industry and technology. They view it as fundamental to national security and economic competitiveness and take on faith that economic policies must have strategic underpinnings.
Macron ought to use his meetings with his Chinese counterpart and other top officials to boldly advance a broader European agenda on issues ranging from climate change to intellectual property and even to human rights.
France and Germany must stand united if Europe is to exert any meaningful political and economic influence in its relations with Beijing. But for now, national interests prevail.
What is the long-term future of the U.S.-China relationship?
While the United States and Japan share perceptions toward an increasingly assertive China, U.S.-Japan policy coordination vis-à-vis China is under strain.
The breakup campaign has spawned dozens of antitrust probes against Amazon, Apple, and Google as well as Facebook, and it has started a long-overdue debate about Silicon Valley’s sweeping influence.