A Losing China Bet

Elsewhere, on China: The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent and the Brookings Institution’s Thomas Wright both have advice for the Democratic presidential candidates. Sargent says Democrats should cast Trump’s tariffs on China as a failure of “unilateral America-First Trumpism.” He argues: “This isn’t a debate Democrats need to fear.”

Wright, in The Atlantic, advises Democrats to cast China as a threat to America’s economy, security and values. “Democrats need a powerful foreign-policy message that connects with domestic politics,” he writes. “Competing responsibly and effectively with China is the best one they have.”

Robert Rubin, a former Treasury secretary, and Kishore Mahbubani, a former Singaporean diplomat, both think there are better alternatives than confrontation. Mahbubani argues in Harper’s that the United States should match China’s investments in research and education, while limiting its rise through international organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank.

Rubin, in The Times earlier this year, wrote, “For the future of humanity, not to mention our immediate economic interests, our two countries must recognize our mutual self-interest in a constructive relationship.”

Trump’s failure to press China on human rights abuses against the country’s minority Muslim population is both a moral and strategic failure, says CNN’s Frida Ghitis: Highlighting those abuses would give Trump more leverage.

“China is now an adversary of the United States. A wise U.S. policy should treat it as one. But it should also do everything possible to keep it from becoming an enemy,” Bret Stephens writes, in the column I mentioned above. “How do we gradually deflect and deflate the ambitions of an immense rival power, without quite bursting them? That will be America’s central geopolitical challenge for years to come.”

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