Avoiding the China Trap, with Jessica Chen Weiss


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This week on Sinica, Kaiser welcomes back the Cornell political scientist Jessica Chen Weiss, who is back in Ithaca after a year spent as a CFR International Affairs Fellow working in the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning. She talks about an important essay published in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs, titled “The China Trap: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Perilous Logic of Zero-Sum Competition,” which calls on the U.S. to formulate an affirmative vision for the relationship with China instead of pursuing an ad-hoc policy predicated simply on countering what China does.

7:17 – Moving away from the current zero-sum framing of U.S.-China competition and adopting an “affirmative vision”

12:29 – Shortcomings of the U.S. response to China’s strategy in the developing world

15:11 – How competition with China framing has adverse consequences for domestic American politics

18:37 – Can the U.S. benefit from adopting certain aspects of the Chinese approach?

20:49 – The steps needed to return to normalized U.S.-China diplomacy

25:00 – How can the US properly calibrate its China threat assessment?

34:05 – The relationship between China’s domestic challenges and its foreign policy

A transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.


Jessica: Stephen Walt and Dani Rodrik’s essay on a establishing a new global order in Foreign Affairs [forthcoming]; and After Engagement: Dilemmas in U.S.-China Security Relations by Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein

Kaiser: The Lord of the Rings trilogy audiobooks narrated by Andy Serkis