For centuries, China has proven difficult for Americans to understand. Today, however, China is becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world. As the 21st century unfurls, the stakes have never been higher for getting US policy toward China right. The direction that China and US-China relations take will define the strategic future of the world for years to come. No relationship matters more―for better or for worse―in resolving the enduring challenges of our time: maintaining stability among great powers, sustaining global economic growth, stemming dangerous weapons proliferation, countering terrorism, and confronting new transnational threats of infectious disease, environmental degradation, international crime, and failing states.
And for the United States in particular, a rising China has an increasingly important impact on American prosperity and security, calling for some clear-eyed thinking and tough economic, political, and security choices. Put simply, the US-China relationship is too big to disregard and too critical to misread.