Confronting china: An evaluation of options for the united states


Great power competition never takes a holiday. Even during the Global War on Terror, the United States must prepare for confrontation with China. How should the United States confront the considerable growth of Chinese power? This article considers the advantages and risks of four major options available to the United States: 1) economic sanctions against key goods imported by China (oil and information technology); 2) alliance formation against China; 3) covert support for separatist movements in Tibet and Xinjiang; and 4) military options available to the United States. I argue that the United States must take three steps. First, Washington must enable Taiwan to protect itself against the coercive potential of Chinese military capabilities. But it must recognize as well that in the future, it is likely that the pro-One China policy of the Guomintang will be changed by native Taiwanese who will work to create an independent Republic of Taiwan. Additionally, it must be willing to aid Taiwan in the defeat of a Chinese invasion. Second, the United States should maintain strong alliances with the major states that surround China, possibly creating an Asian NATO, in order to augment U.S. power and provide needed intelligence and military bases. Third, the United States should maintain a forward military presence, continue to implement ballistic missile defense, and maintain overwhelming military superiority in order to forestall the rise of China as a military peer of the United States.


Defense and Strategic Studies

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Comparative Strategy