The Skeptics

The Benefits of Engaging with China Outweigh the Costs and Risk

Xi Jinping has consolidated political power, the Chinese state is cracking down on dissenters, and the Chinese Communist Party is dusting off propaganda techniques from the Mao era. Beijing is even putting considerable pressure on American companies doing business there.

For now, however, the benefits of continued engagement with China outweigh the costs and risks. More importantly, labeling China a strategic competitor, or focusing on the adversarial aspects of U.S.-China relations, while downplaying or ignoring the areas of continued convergence, risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that could prove disastrous for American prosperity and American safety.

Christopher Preble is vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute and the author of The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free.

Image: U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with opera performers at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst ​

Pages