A Crucial Decade: China Policy during the George W. Bush Administration

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This week, Mike and Jude are joined by Paul Haenle, Maurice R. Greenberg Director’s Chair of Carnegie China and former China director for the National Security Council staffs of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Faryar Shirzad, who served in the Bush administration with Paul as deputy national security advisor for International Economic affairs and is now Chief Policy Office at Coinbase.

They begin by recapping economic and security ties between the United States and China at the outset of the Bush administration in 2001, discussing the administration’s China policy and the legacy of its approach to Asia more broadly. The conversation turns to the broader implications of trends in U.S.-China economic relations, which are increasingly characterized by heightened government controls and expectations of national loyalty among multinational firms. Next, they emphasize the importance of placing the U.S.-China relationship on better footing and improving communication. They observe how the Bush administration’s efforts to shape the geopolitical environment around China have borne out today and conclude with a call for renewed U.S. pursuit of economic diplomacy. Throughout the conversation, they discuss Hand-Off, a collection of once-classified memos that the Bush administration passed to the incoming Obama administration to support a smooth transition for U.S. foreign policy.