Mapping the Future of U.S. China Policy
November 17, 2020
Andrew Schwartz: Welcome to The Asia Chessboard, the podcast that examines geopolitical dynamics in Asia and takes an inside look at the making of grand strategy. I'm Andrew Schwartz at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Hannah Fodale: This week, Mike is joined by his CSIS colleagues, Jude Blanchette, Bonnie Glaser, and Scott Kennedy to discuss their recently launched project, Mapping the Future of U.S. China Policy. For this project, CSIS survey the American public and thought leaders in the United States, Asia and Europe to map perspectives on China Policy. The discussion centers around the project's five main takeaways on issues surrounding national security, economics and trade, and human rights.
Mike Green: Welcome back to The Asia Chessboard. I'm Mike Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair at CSIS and professor at Georgetown. I'm joined by three of my colleagues today who worked with me and others at CSIS to conduct a national and international poll on how we should think about China policy. Jude Blanchette, Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS, Bonnie Glaser, director of our China Power Project and senior advisor, Scott Kennedy, the Trustee Chair in Chinese Economics and Business. We got politics, security and business. And I'm going to ask my colleagues to help us break down the results of the poll, what it means for U.S.-China relations for specific policies in certain areas. You can check out the poll yourself on chinasurvey.csis.org. It's on the website, it will be featured prominently, and it's designed to give you lots of opportunities to explore issues.
Mike Green: We did three surveys. We surveyed the American public, we had a thousand person sample with a plus minus 3.1% margin of error controlling for different variables. And then we did thought leader surveys working with 12 national organizations in the United States, in industry and agriculture and human rights national security experts, to identify Americans who were thought leaders on U.S.-China relations from different angles. And we had 400 some in that set. And then we did a survey in 16 countries of international thinkers in Asia and Europe. And you can go into the survey and you can see what the American public thought about issues, or you could pick issues like technology or human rights and trace them and go directly from survey to survey and see what people think. But today we're going to have a more focused discussion around some of the big findings. And I'm going to start with what the Americans think of China.
Mike Green: In the public opinion survey, 54% said China is the biggest challenge we face and a significant majority have a negative view of China. We've seen that in other polls, like the Pew poll recently, way ahead of Russia at 22%. When asked about what to do about China if it's a security challenge, which people think it is. A plurality of the public said work with allies and partners, multilateralize the problem. Don't work with China directly. Prioritize working with allies and partners, 45%. 81% of thought leaders in the different sectors said that. Jude, it sounds like Americans are a little bit afraid of China and they think we need allies and partners to deal with it. Is it that easy or is this going to be a harder thing to do for whoever picks up these findings?
Jude Blanchette: Yeah. Thanks Mike. And actually just adding to that an additional framing, it looks like Beijing has failed to convince the world that it is someone you can work with directly to solve some of these thorny challenges. So I think those are flip sides of the same coin. This is a pretty profound set of results on how we should... A) that there's a plurality or there's a consensus that the China challenge is such that we need to effectively get the band back together again, to find a way to deal with it. In looking through the results what comes out to me is the support for working with allies and partners is robust. Of course, this survey was not supposed to then drill down and find out what an exact agenda for working together to deal with China is. And I suspect that will really be where the rubber meets the road. Issues that stand out for possibilities of working with China, of course remain climate change.
Jude Blanchette: That's the one that's inserted into every discussion as the placeholder for how do we find any way to get sticky with China? But if we were just to go back in time 10 years ago, this is a pretty remarkable transformation in terms of how the world is looking at China's development trajectory and where there are opportunities to work with China and where we need to work around China. A final thought here though is, it is interesting to me that despite several years of, here in the United States, pushing an argument that multilateral solutions to China have failed and are not workable, it seems to be the case that nonetheless respondents in thought leaders here in the United States are still coming back to... Multilateralism is the worst form of dealing with China, except for every other alternative.
Mike Green: Well put. So, Jude, you watch Zhongnnanhai in decision-making leadership in China, more than anyone, and this result it's not surprising actually. Do you think there's a feedback loop? Do you think Xi Jinping is hearing this? There's this rumor that CICA the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations did a report that kind of says what we found, that China is aligning the world against itself. Do you think that within Zhongnnanhai, they look out at the world and just don't see this?
Jude Blanchette: The core question right now is, does China see the deterioration and not care, or does Xi Jinping not see the deterioration? There's dynamics in centralized political systems that are at work here in China, where there is of course, a certain amount of subordinates pass only the good news up. I think that the overwhelming shift in global opinion on China is such that even the most insular leader couldn't fail but recognize that there is a galvanizing opinion against the country. And again, this is happening not in one specific area in China, but this is happening because of Xingjiang, increasingly over the past few weeks, Tibet, we've got Taiwan, we've Hong Kong, wolf warrior diplomacy. This is a multi-pronged set of grievances against China. So I suspect the Xi administration knows that. I think the more profound and concerning implication of this though, is they don't care. They are going to play their game. They're going to play it strongly.
Jude Blanchette: And I suspect when they look out at the balance of power and look at the U.S. political system and where the United States has been in responding to coronavirus, this probably confirms their existing view that the United States is a declining power with deteriorating democratic institutions, and China's on the rise. So I think Xi certainly thinks that time is on China's side.
Mike Green: Bonnie, where do you come down on that one? Is Xi not hearing this or is he not caring?
Bonnie Glaser: I think that it's inevitable that Xi Jinping has been told about the negative public opinion polls about global attitudes towards China. And of course we know that recently Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, as well as Politburo member foreign policy guru Yang Jiechi was also in Europe, but not very well received. So yes, probably Xi Jinping is hearing this, but I agree with Jude that this is not the top priority for Xi Jinping. He cares far more about his reputation and support domestically. He's seeking to consolidate the party, national unity, using the criticism from abroad to actually forge that greater national unity at home. I think that Xi Jinping is willing to pay a price in the international community, as long as he can have the support that he needs as we continue to some very important anniversaries coming up. And of course in 2021, it's the anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2022, we have the 20th party congress, and that will be very significant for Xi Jinping as he assumes the mantle of the leader in his third term, unprecedented.
Mike Green: So he knows. He cares. He just doesn't care as much as he cares about what the Chinese people think about him right now, which is a mark of insecurity, as much as it is arrogance and expansionism right now. The Chinese minister of state security or the foreign minister could look through these numbers and find some comfort for their strategy. There's a lot of overlap in terms of concerns about technology, human rights, and a preference for the Americans working with allies and partners, and especially among countries like Japan and Australia, but there are little pockets where the Chinese can see lots of avenues to disrupt coalition building. For example, in Southeast Asia, there is strong preference for the U.S. to work in the China problem multilaterally, but our poll found that in effect, Southeast Asians are not going to choose sides.
Mike Green: I'm talking a hundred percent of the Indonesian respondents and close to that from Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia said they would for their country to stay neutral. There were one or two countries in Europe, Italy and Britain. Although in the British case, I think we didn't have a high response rate and that may explain it. But nevertheless, a few countries in Europe that have similar views about staying neutral in the U.S.-China dispute, at least the elites in the foreign policy communities we surveyed. I think what this shows you is there's a lot of churn in the debate about China and Europe, but it's not uniform. And in Southeast Asia, they're worried about it, but they're going to step in their own direction. They're not going to move in front of these two moving trains, the U.S. and China. We asked a lot of questions about economics.
Mike Green: I think for all of us, the part that really stood out was the overlapping concern in all the surveys about 5G, two thirds of experts in Europe and Asia, and two thirds of national security and business experts in the U.S. said ban Huawei from markets. It's quite clear. When asked about export controls, blocking a telecom component exports to Huawei and other Chinese companies, however, was more mixed, 30, 40% something in that range. And the three surveys, U.S., Europe and Asia supported that. And understandably, because for example, Japanese telecom companies are uniform in blocking Huawei, but companies like Sony, Toshiba, and the U.S. entities list, the export control list aimed at a hundred Chinese companies is costing them reportedly billions of dollars. So, that's a gray area that requires international coordination. Scott, where do you see the sweet spot? I mean, how do we manage this space that's not business as usual, but it's not complete decoupling. What do you think?
Scott Kennedy: Thanks, Mike. And it's been a real pleasure to collaborate with you, Bonnie and Jude on this. I've done several surveys over the years in China, and you should see what it's like when you're on the ground trying to poll people on China organizations. This was a lot easier. And maybe it's the fact that we were doing this from our bunkers, but this is a real pleasure to do. And I really appreciate it. I think what the results show on economics is, if there is a coalition building it's for, what I would call, a Goldilocks policy, which is not outright full-scale decoupling only 19 to 20% of American and European, Asian thought leaders, or even the public want full-scale decoupling, but they do want, as you said, significant pressure on specific areas, including on Huawei in particular. So what I would call decoupling with a small D in very targeted areas where the risks are the highest, and we can't mitigate those risks with other measures.
Scott Kennedy: But on the other hand, they want to collaborate, not collaborate to cooperate with China, but to collaborate, to compete against China, through international institutions and with allies and partners. And to pull apart sort of what is this paradox, I don't think it's about a return to multilateralism of 10 years ago, general membership organizations like the UN or the WTO, it's cooperation multilaterally with like-minded countries, right, where there's already agreement about the basic ground rules and assumptions of what's fair economics, what's fair human rights, et cetera, and good governance. So I think that's where the sweet spot is. And you see that it's not going to be an easy coalition to keep together and the Chinese can divide and conquer to some extent, but I think that's the most likely path for an effective approach.
Mike Green: It was interesting that we asked in the survey what stakeholders in the U.S. thought of President Trump's approach to China on the economy, which of course is characterized primarily by unilateral tariffs to try to get concessions. And 71% of thought leaders thought that approach had hurt us and hadn't done anything to change Chinese economic behavior. It's pretty damning. The public was more divided along partisan lines. Basically, Republicans were more positive and Democrats were more negative, but not overwhelmingly positive less, than half the Republicans thought that it was working among the general public. So it seems like the survey kind of is a rejection of unilateral approaches to China on the economy and more towards multilateral. And the problem is how do you do that? I mean, for example, TPP, which we all supported, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a rule making coalition of big economies that had the real potential to force some choices on China.
Mike Green: But TPP, it's going to, I think, be hard to get back on the table for a while politically. There's a lot of overlap in technology, but on some of these issues around data, the U.S. and Europe are not in the same place. Maybe the way to do it is a smaller regional digital agreement using the USMCA with Canada, Mexico, the US-Japan agreement and building in Korea and Australia and others. And I'll, start with you, Scott, but how do you, yes, work with allies and partners, yes, multilateralism is a problem, no, unilateral tariffs kill us, but what does this Goldilocks look like in terms of the trade strategy?
Scott Kennedy: When Goldilocks was in the three bears house, having food, there were also some kids there and they engaged in a parallel play. That is sometimes everyone wants to do the same thing, but they can't do it directly with each other. And so what you have is them do similar things alongside each other. And so to get the U.S. and its allies and partners to deal with China on some of the tough issues like export controls, it's not going to be about all reviewing the same cases and making the same decisions at the same time, but in general, agreement about what the basic standards are and how should the U.S. and others act. And then so parallel in some coordination on some of those tough issues. And so the challenge is going to be, we're going to need to do things that Beijing just does not like. I think on the constructive side, it's going to be about setting new rules.
Scott Kennedy: And I think digital technology is the first place and most important place to start. We just need much greater rules about privacy, cybersecurity, the appropriate uses of AI, where data is stored, all those things. And market democracies need to come to terms about that and then say, "Hey, this is what the world should look like. And we want China to follow those rules." And until we do, cases like TikTok, Tencent, all those, it's going to be very difficult to manage without a comprehensive international rule-based system on which to engage the Chinese, either cooperatively, or if we can't, then to put them outside that system.
Mike Green: So you're saying, don't holster your unilateral tariffs, and just rely on the WTO or multilateral trade agreements, which take forever, but using both. And we didn't ask you to choose one and none of the others we asked, which is the most effective. And so there's still a role for unilateral tariffs and unilateral actions and export controls.
Scott Kennedy: Just to sum it up, I would say it would be, we had a policy for a long time of patient integration with China. We shifted towards impatient opposition, and now we need patient pressure. And that patient pressure involves some unilateral actions as well as collective actions as well.
Mike Green: The other thing we should probably stop doing is unilateral tariffs on all our allies and still in other areas we need to get into these games where the Trump administration, I sometimes joke, is like the sheriff who calls together the posse and then starts shooting at them before he even goes with the bad guy. So it's not a wholesale rejection of the approach. It's just putting it in a larger context where we maximize the leverage we have from allies and partners who agree with us without giving up our unilateral approaches. Jude is there a clear way forward that you can see with this?
Jude Blanchette: Well, I was just going to add on to the second, I mean, one of the takeaways is despite the fact that the word de-coupling shows up in every third article about China and the economic challenge, what we're seeing out of the survey results is, there is not a robust appetite for binary full-stop decoupling. So really what we're talking about is we're on a spectrum of risk mitigation from integrating with certain areas of China. And what comes out of the survey results for me is, and Scott was just talking about this, is, we in the United States and with our allies and partners don't do much, or we don't do well enough by way of governance modernization. The WTO was an institution built to manage and mitigate tensions between economic systems that did largely well in the 20th century, but was not designed to be able to deal with China's mercantilist state capitalist system.
Jude Blanchette: We have reached an epoch shift or a paradigm change, and we are pushing on our 20th century institutions to do the work of 21st century problems. And so I think coming out of this, is we also need an agenda for institutional modernization. Look, cross border investment is another good one. We went into CFIUS and we got out the duct tape and it was firmer. And I think it did a fairly good job, but talk to anyone who's working at CFIUS, they're overwhelmed, they're subsumed. CFIUS was not meant to deal with this China challenge where really every transaction or inbound investment is suspect to having national security implications, given the sort of integration of the Communist Party into the private sector. So instead of, I think, blaming outdated institutions, what we have to start doing is forward-leaning and saying, "What institutions, organizations, collaboration mechanisms, can we create a new, like we did after 1945, like we did after the Cold War to start managing these tensions?” But I'm heartened by the fact that people are still looking at the China challenge and saying it's mitigatable. And I think that's a positive step.
Mike Green: Yeah. For the non-policy wonks listening in, CFIUS' committee on foreign investment in the U.S. was created to screen investments to make sure that sectors of the economy that were critical for national security weren't being bought up by foreigners. When I got into this game in the eighties and nineties, 75 percent of CFIUS cases were against Japan, which is now on our side. And the funny thing about CFIUS is, it's very prone to abuse and rent seeking. And you're right, we would just need to understand what we're about. We did ask in the survey about specific areas of economic interaction with China, including portfolio investment, foreign direct investment. There was no appetite or very little appetite for cutting off trade in agricultural products, goods, and services. It's really mostly about the tech sector. And that was pretty narrow band in a way, the most important, in some ways for our future. It was striking to me that almost exactly 20% of the public opinion of the Europeans, of the Asians and thought leaders, 20% said, decouple. It's pretty remarkably consistent, but a minority as you will both point out.
Jude Blanchette: Right? So 80% said, don't decouple. And also, just to your point on technology, notice technology is the area where we have the most immature set of institutions to mitigate, right? So technology will always be one step ahead of where regulatory bodies and governments can deal with. And notice that's the point of real friction here. Now that's a structural challenge. You'll never get ahead of your frontier technology companies, but we've reached a new era where almost all sort of frontier leading edge technologies have dual use or national security implication. That is a new paradigm, which we're catching up to.
Mike Green: We’re trying to build the barn and the horse keeps galloping.
Jude Blanchette: Right.
Mike Green: The other thing about this survey and decoupling is we asked where to cooperate with China. And there were some areas where people responded among thought leaders, we should be cooperating. Climate change in particular, global health, education, North Korea. And we interviewed a lot of people. So we did these surveys. And then we went out to the groups that helped us, chamber of commerce and so forth, and showed them results and interviewed them. So we had a kind of focus group in addition to the data. And we talked to a group of university presidents about decoupling at major research universities, which will remain anonymous. But they were big, very leading research universities. And they all were very worried about decoupling. They said things like, "If we had decoupled, we would be two months behind where we are now on a vaccine for COVID."
Mike Green: And other university presidents said, the problem is we've set ourselves up so that our research at the university level, at post-doctoral, doctoral level research is now all proprietary. Everybody's working on stuff for the U.S. government or for companies. So a lot of it is about how we rethink our own innovation and let's keep the innovation academic, but for proprietary work for the government, for companies, that's where we have to put walls. So let's be smart about where we put up the walls around technology, very interesting responses from university presidents and academic thought leaders, which we've anonymously included in our analysis. To turn next to security, this was really striking. Chicago council on global affairs and other surveys have shown robust support for defending our allies in Asia. But our survey really, we asked it in a different way, but really robust support.
Mike Green: We asked on a scale from one to 10, how much should we risk to defend our allies? One being don't risk anything, and 10 meaning take a lot of risk. Take significant risk. And the mean response among thought leaders were all seven or above for defending Japan, Korea, Australia, and Taiwan. Bonnie, that, I mean, you follow Taiwan closely. We have a task force report coming out. This adds some real wind to the sails for that report. These were not just national security experts. These were labor leaders, leaders in agriculture and civil society and universities, very strong support for defending Taiwan if it's threatened by China. Did that surprise you?
Bonnie Glaser: Yes, it really did surprise me, especially since it was only about a year ago that the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that only 35% of Americans would support U.S. military action to support Taiwan if China attacked. And so I think that there really has been a sea-change in American attitudes toward Taiwan. And I will be so bold as to say that this may be a global trend because obviously the thought leaders we polled around the world also supported Taiwan, but I mean, American thought leaders, American public, even young people, these are individuals. You would think young people between the age of 18 and 30 might not know that much about Taiwan, but I think that perhaps it's a function part of the increasingly anti-China sentiment, if you will, which of course is reflected in our poll that has led people to support Taiwan more.
Bonnie Glaser: More people know about Chinese military pressure against Taiwan. And also of course, because Taiwan is just such a vibrant democracy and has been so effective in combating the spread of COVID-19 within its borders. And so we found the mean score among the American public in terms of worth taking a significant risk for was 6.69 for Taiwan, which was just a tad under the mean score for South Korea and Japan, and actually a little bit higher than for Australia. So this was really remarkable. The human rights community came out the mean score of 9.15 supported defending Taiwan. So we found that this is a significant change, I think, in these views. And I think it really has important policy implications. Just recently our National Security Advisor, Robert O'Brien said, Taiwan should make itself a porcupine and reaffirmed our policy of strategic ambiguity, whether or not the U.S. should come to Taiwan's defensive and contingency that should remain ambiguous.
Bonnie Glaser: And yet we have Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations writing in Foreign Affairs that the U.S. should adopt strategic clarity. And I think what this poll tells us is that maybe the U.S. should not adopt clarity and say, under all circumstances, we'll come to Taiwan's defense, but we can warn China that if it intervenes, U.S. military interventions will not be ruled out. And so it's not just a clear cut, black and white issue of ambiguity versus clarity. The U.S. should be tougher in its messaging towards China about its threatening of Taiwan and the potential for it to invade Taiwan. And we should make statements publicly and convey them privately as well.
Mike Green: What was so interesting about the Taiwan answer, but also the strong support for Japan, Korea, Australia, and defending them if they're threatened, is that it was fairly consistent across all sectors. Leaders in human rights community, leaders in business. Our colleague Louis Lauder, who works on congressional affairs, pointed out in this project that traditionally you had different constituencies on China, in the Congress and in the U.S. You had the human rights constituency, you had the business community, you had the national security experts, and they were all in very different places. And I think the survey because we were able to burrow deep on some of these issues shows that they're kind of converging. There are important differences in pockets and different tolerance for risk, but on the whole, I think the survey shows a real convergence among these different constituencies that have, if you think back on China, WTO accession, and Tiananmen and past incidences, you know that the defense folks, the human rights community, the business community were in completely different places on China.
Mike Green: And they're largely overlapping, not perfectly, but there's a lot overlap. And that includes by the way, the last topic I hope we can get to, which is human rights. In the survey, we also asked how much risk we should take to advance human rights in China, we asked specifically about Xingjiang and Tibet, Hong Kong, and then developments within China with respect to dissidents and very robust support, people who are willing to take a lot of risk. And that includes in Europe and Asia. I mean the country where the respondents were most willing to take risks to advance human rights was Japan followed by France. So there's an interesting kind of potential coalition there. And the business community, half the business community supported targeted sanctions to advance human rights in China. And we didn't break this down publicly, but I think I can say that certain business associations, more than two thirds supported targeted sanctions.
Mike Green: So, Jude, you've been following this, including from Beijing for a long time. To me, this is in some ways the most surprising result. I don't know how you operationalize it, but this is... there's a lot of overlap on this issue. Maybe Xi Jinping has shown a side of China that's creating a picture everyone sees together. What do you think?
Jude Blanchette: Yeah. I think, it's much a reflection of just how significant the political dynamics have shifted internally in Beijing, as much as it is a comment on some sort of new level of kumbaya solidarity here in the United States. I lived in China six years moving just prior to when Xi Jinping came to office in late 2012. Was gone for three years and then moved back in 2015. The country had changed pretty significantly in just that three years. And we were beginning to feel the great tightening, which the ratchet has continued to tighten ever since. But we're dealing with a systematic campaign of repression in China that just wasn't there in 2008, 2009. Of course, we had the jailing of Liu Xiaobo who went on to win the Nobel prize and China still had a pretty abysmal human rights record. But it was not the systematic campaign of oppression like you see in Xinjiang aided and abetted by an extraordinary thicket of technology, which is used to reinforce.
Jude Blanchette: So I think lots of dynamics have shifted, and we're looking at the sort of political dynamics here, which have... I was going to say, not converged many of the lobbies who are looking at China, but also crowded out others. There just isn't a business lobby nowadays, effectively speaking, who is openly advocating for maintaining robust economic engagement with China that has dwindled and deteriorated as market access in China has dwindled and deteriorated. But I really do think too, if we're trying to find a reason for why we're seeing this convergence, this is Xi Jinping, and this is facts on the ground in China.
Mike Green: So Scott, we did some focus groups with different industry associations, looking at this data and asking, why are your members surprisingly hawkish on human rights in China, at least surprising to us? And it could be that the survey also showed that there's almost zero confidence, particularly in the business community that China's going to change towards the market economy. You think it's that, it's just people are giving up. I mean, there are different views, but this is not the business community that lobbied George Herbert Walker Bush to resume immediate economic cooperation after Tiananmen, that lobbied his son George W. Bush when I worked for him. And we're talking the business community being very united to reject trade cases against China. It's a much more complicated and much more skeptical business community, but maybe more... I don't know, not idealistic but more... I mean, this will warm the hearts of human rights workers who suspect the business communities isn’t on their side. It sounds like they might be.
Scott Kennedy: I still think it's about threading a needle two, three decades ago when there was a question of whether or not China should get MFN and then WTO entry. The big argument was that expanding economic ties wouldn't democratize China. That wasn't what people were arguing, but it would lead to social progress, greater personal rights, greater choice in people's personal lives, greater understanding of the world. And also at that time, China wasn't very powerful. It couldn't challenge the U.S. and its allies. And things have changed. And so now doing business with China, you really have to worry about the way your business affects China's ability to develop its internal security apparatus or feed technologies to its military or limit human rights of those outside China. Because Chinese efforts to police free speech go beyond its borders and businesses know that.
Scott Kennedy: I think the other thing is business has been on China a long time. They have staff on the ground in China. They know what it's like, just like Jude and me who's lived in China to see what it's like to live under that system. And so they know its tough. And when they talk privately, they share these concerns. The question is, as you said, how do you operationalize this? How do you go from somewhere in between really just only pressuring the Chinese and only sticking up. So it's coming up with those types of risk mitigation mechanisms so you can do business, but it doesn't feed the PLA or in the internal security apparatus and make it easier for the Chinese to crack down in Hong Kong. I think business can be part of the solution and finding out where the risks are, how do you protect their technology and do business? And so, I think we're in a place where we were with the environmental movement in the 1960s and early seventies, when industry first was just opposed to environmentalism.
Scott Kennedy: And then they figured out actually they need to be supportive of sustainable development and work that into their government affairs and their business operations. And I think the American business community and others are moving in that direction.
Mike Green: Scott just gave terrific free advice to CEOs around the world on how to deal with China. And it's too late to now charge for that because it's now out there, but it was pitch perfect in terms of how CEOs need to think about navigating or threading the needle. Let me turn to Bonnie and Jude and ask you to give advice, not for the CEOs, but for the graduate students or the students at Georgetown or University of Indiana. You look at this, this is a very muddled, very complicated U.S. China relationship. If you're looking at a future working on Asia in business or policy, academia, what's the lesson? What skill sets do you need? What are the issues you're going to be working on in 20, 30, 40 years when it comes to China? Sorry to spring this on you, but we just gave free advice for our CEOs.
Mike Green: We have to give a little free advice for our students. So Bonnie, what would you say looking at this, if someone came to you and said, "What does this mean to me at the beginning of my studies or my career? What is this U.S.-China relationship going to look like? And how should I prepare myself?”
Bonnie Glaser: I think it's very difficult for young people today navigating the just incredible amount of information out there about China. And so the important thing I think is to be objective, to look at data, to not be ideological, to try and... We do this on my website, on China Power. We really use data to examine how China's power is growing, where the challenges are, where the opportunities are. And so I think people really have to be as objective as possible when they look at China. If possible, they really need to listen to the views of people outside the United States. It's really been fascinating for me just to travel around the world and students can of course, talk to people around the world and sometimes also get a chance to travel, to see how people in other countries are looking at China.
Bonnie Glaser: I mean, what do the Africans think about China, the Europeans, and there's such a complexity of views. So I think really understanding that debate building good Chinese language skills is essential. You just cannot understand China today without reading the real text of what Chinese leaders are saying. What Chinese experts are writing. I know that the translation software is getting better and better. But there's just no substitute for really being able to read these texts yourselves and for getting on WeChat in China and actually reading what the Chinese are saying to each other. So it's challenging, but it's a really exciting set of issues to work on.
Mike Green: Good. And the China Power Project is a great place to start. It gives, I mean, compelling and interesting assessments of where China's powerful, where it's not. Jude, what do you recommend?
Jude Blanchette: So I was thinking about this as Bonnie was talking. I think advice to my 20 year old self would be, with all the changes in the churns and the technological evolutions and the Twitter. I think people can feel pulled in lots of different ways and the world is turned upside down. But I think that I’d probably speak for all of us here that in the end, good, careful, solid, passionate objective work, arguments, shine. So putting down on a piece of paper, something interesting, bold, insightful objective, doing the grind work to get to that thesis, communicating it effectively. There's no substitute for that. So it's not about the degree you have. It's not about the internship you have. I think it's just about staying focused on doing really good work and I 100% echo what Bonnie said on getting out of the bubble.
Jude Blanchette: And if you feel like you've got the same opinion, as everyone around you, get on a plane or get on a zoom call and start speaking with different people. This is clearly a new paradigm for how we need to think about China as a truly global challenge. So our analytical abilities and capabilities should go global rather than just sitting in the beltway.
Mike Green: I hope people will take your advice guys. And I hope their professors or their teachers pointed to a lot of your work at csis.org. It was really interesting. The biggest divide we found in the public was age. 18 to 30 year olds were much more optimistic about China's future, but also much more pessimistic about the chances of us getting into a war with China, very conflicted. And I think that there are a lot of reasons to have confidence in that generation. They understand the importance of international engagement, that comes out clearly on all polls. They understand the importance of alliances. They're not as afraid of immigration and investment and trade, but they have very different views than the generations before them. So we're going to need them to get this right for us as we're enjoying this from our retirement porch front somewhere someday. Thank you all very much for your incredibly interesting and intense work on the survey, designing it, analyzing it, rolling it out.
Mike Green: We're not done yet. We're hoping this will be a continuing conversation in a variety of venues. The survey gave more questions than answers. So there's a lot to explore. We hope people will do that at csis.org for our China survey. Thank you very much.
Andrew Schwartz: Thanks for listening. For more on strategy and the Asia programs work, visit the CSIS website at csis.org and click on the Asia program page.