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Rise or Decline
Should the US Be Bullish or Bearish on China’s Rise?

A strong and rising China is something the U.S. should worry about—and so is a weak and unstable China. But perhaps most worrying of all is the fundamental uncertainty about which scenario we’ll see.

Published on: June 20, 2014
Amy Zegart is the co-director of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
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  • Andrew Allison

    I stopped reading at, “Stories about the “rise of China” were the most widely read news items of the twenty-first century, . . .”

  • Richard

    The smartest essay re China I’ve read yet! China is desperate. We cannot truly read China’s economy as a few economic measures are given only by the State and are dubious at least. But, we can read China’s geo-political and geo-economic ambitions fairly clearly. China is desperate because it is running a Ponzi Scheme and if it doesn’t broaden its base it will collapse. Let us be encouraged.

  • ShadrachSmith

    As time passes it will be more and more difficult for China to compete with honest commerce because the Mandarins have access to the cookie jar. Historically, the rise of China has been a self-correcting problem due to the systemic corruption of the Mandarin style of doing business.

  • matimal

    neither. the u.s. should maintain a distance from china. china is going to get caught in the middle income trap and will stop making a net contribution to the global economy at some point with all the bad loans and misinvestment.

  • Greg Gliemi

    The United States does not have defense commitments with Taiwan–only the Taiwan Relations Act which allows Taiwan to buy defensive weapons. And they have shown no interest in defending the island from the mainland

  • lukelea

    “the Asia Pacific region is home to vital American interests, including longstanding defense commitments to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan;”

    Strictly speaking these are not “vital” interests. At least not for the United States or the West in general. We need to make that distinction.

    • Rol_Texas

      Well, if the heart of our grand strategy is to prevent a hegemon from arising to dominate either the eastern or western ends of the Eurasian landmass, then our defense commitments in Asia Pacific are indeed vital interests. That doesn’t mean that failing to meet them will lead to a direct threat tomorrow, however; they’re part of a very long term strategy.

      • lukelea

        Vital to our “grand strategy” yes, by definition. But that is not the same as a vital interest of our country. Vital means necessary for life.

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