The greatest challenge the U.S. faces today is competing against a country and economy -- China -- with which it’s more entwined than any previous rival. A growing chorus in Washington, D.C. argues that the U.S. would be better off extricating itself from the relationship entirely. While Vice President Mike Pence recently declared that such a decoupling was not official policy, when it comes to China, the administration seems to have adopted a “better safe than sorry” attitude, limiting ties wherever they seem risky.
Whether intended or not, this approach is propelling the U.S. and China toward a precipitous breakup, with little appreciation of the costs involved or a clear sense of what would constitute success. Such an outcome would leave the U.S. poorer and weaken rather than strengthen our national security. We desperately need a smarter framework to guide China policy.