U.S.–China Relations in the Tank: A Handbook for an Era of Persistent Confrontation

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Editor’s Note

Edited by Jude Blanchette of CSIS and Hal Brands of SAIS, the Marshall Papers is a series of essays that probes and challenges the assessments underpinning the U.S. approach to great power rivalry. The Papers will be rigorous yet provocative, continually pushing the boundaries of intellectual and policy debates. In this Marshall Paper, Michael J. Mazarr argues that amid escalating U.S.-China tensions, American policymakers are gravely underprepared to manage the episodic crises that form an inevitable part of great power rivalry. Effective crisis response can not only prevent escalation, but also strengthen U.S. strategic advantage within the larger rivalry. Drawing lessons from the Cold War, Mazarr distills six principles to guide crisis management among U.S. policymakers navigating an increasingly crisis-prone U.S.-China relationship.

This brief is made possible by general support to CSIS. No direct sponsorship contributed to this brief.

Michael J. Mazarr

Senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation