Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 7, July 2019
By Paul S. Giarra
Two open letters to the President on China strategy have appeared recently. The first, “China is not an enemy”, was published in the Washington Post on July 3rd. The second, “Stay the Course on China: An Open Letter to President Trump”, appeared in these pages on July 18th. The former argued that considering China as an enemy would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The second posited that we had already turned that corner with China, and that the president should continue with his hard line policies toward Beijing (Full disclosure: the author signed the latter open letter).
There’s more to these letters, but they do not represent an argument; rather, they are a transition from an old conventional wisdom to a new reality. As Nikki Haley wrote in Foreign Affairs last week , the theory of convergence with China expressed in the Washington Post letter and practiced in the United States for 30 years has been fully discredited. “Let’s face it: Xi has killed the notion of convergence.”
Why it has taken so long to get to this point will have to be left to the social historians, but the China policy transition now underway has been reverberating throughout the Washington policy community for some time. Continue reading