China: The Balance Sheet
April 17, 2006
For centuries, China has proven difficult for Americans to understand. Today, however, China is becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world. As the twenty-first century unfurls, the stakes have never been higher for getting U.S. policy toward China right.
The direction that China and U.S.-China relations take will define the strategic future of the world for years to come. No relationship matters more—for better or for worse—in resolving the enduring challenges of our time: maintaining stability among great powers, sustaining global economic growth, stemming dangerous weapons proliferation, countering terrorism, and confronting new transnational threats of infectious disease, environmental degradation, international crime, and failing states. And for the United States in particular, a rising China has an increasingly important impact on American prosperity and security, calling for some clear-eyed thinking and tough economic, political, and security choices. Put simply, the U.S.-China relationship is too big to disregard and too critical to misread.
C. Fred Bergsten has been director of the Institute for International Economics (IIE) since its creation in 1981. Earlier, he served as assistant secretary of the treasury for international affairs. Bates Gill holds the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Previously, he was senior fellow and director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. R. Nicholas Lardy is a senior fellow at IIE. Previously, he was senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. Derek J. Mitchell is a senior fellow for Asia in the International Security Program at CSIS. Earlier, he was special assistant for Asian and Pacific affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.