BALANCING WITHOUT CONTAINMENT: A U.S. STRATEGY FOR CONFRONTING CHINA'S RISE

Author
Ashley J. Tellis
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
The Washington Quarterly
Volume
36
Issue Number
4
Publication Date
Fall 2013
Institution
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Abstract
China's rise constitutes the most serious geopolitical challenge facing the United States today. On current trends, China could–many say will–develop a national economy larger than that of the United States as early as the end of this decade, at least when measured in purchasing power parity terms. China's national ambitions too are clear: at the very least, Beijing seeks to recover the centrality it enjoyed in Asian geopolitics until the coming of colonialism. Its economic renaissance since the 1980s has now positioned it to play a major global role that was simply unimaginable some thirty years ago. With its extraordinary military modernization program, Beijing has also made tremendous strides toward holding at risk the United States' forward deployed and forward operating forces in the western Pacific, thereby raising the costs of implementing U.S. security guarantees to its partners in the region. Its unique characteristics–being a continental sized power, possessing a gigantic and technologically improving economy, having a strategically advantageous location, and rapidly acquiring formidable military capabilities-add up quickly to make China a consequential rival to the United States, even if it differs from previous challengers in character, aims, and ambitions.
Political Geography
United States, China, Beijing