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America’s China Policy Is Not Working

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America’s China Policy Is Not Working

The Dangers of a Broad Decoupling

Foreign Affairs,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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America and China need to reach geopolitical entente, according to a former US Treasury Secretary.

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Former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offers an incisive look at US–China relations in this illuminating article. He notes the increasing tensions on both sides, given trade, investment, national security and geopolitical concerns. The world’s two major powers remaining at loggerheads puts the global economy at greater risk, Paulson writes. He offers practicable suggestions for how each nation can pursue its self-interests while maintaining open channels of communication and cooperation.


The Sino-American relationship has worsened considerably in recent years.

Relations between China and the United States have soured. In the past, despite differing geopolitical and national security aims, the two nations cooperated. But the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated mutual distrust and recrimination. The Chinese economy has trebled since the mid-2000s, when the nation turned inward and shunned competition from abroad. At the same time, the United States’ China policy has grown hostile. National security has become the overriding issue between the two countries, affecting shared technological innovation and job creation.

A distrustful China and an increasingly wary United States worsen global tensions. Any effort at mutual cooperation seems secondary to unbridled self-interest. While many countries ...

About the Author

Founder and chair of the Paulson Institute Henry M. Paulson, Jr. served as US Treasury Secretary from 2006 to 2009.

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