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The Problem With the Pivot

Obama’s New Asia Policy Is Unnecessary and Counterproductive

Russian and Chinese national flags are seen on the table with Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping stand in the background during a signing ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, November 9, 2014.  How Hwee Yong/Reuters

Ever since the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping opened up his country’s economy in the late 1970s, China has managed to grow in power, wealth, and military might while still maintaining cooperative and friendly relations with most of the world. Until a few years ago, that is, when Beijing seemed to change tack, behaving in a way that alienated its neighbors and aroused suspicion abroad. In December 2009, for example, Beijing’s resistance to compromise at the UN Climate Change Conference angered European countries and the United States. Then, following the January 2010 sale of U.S. arms to Taiwan, the Chinese government suspended a senior U.S.-Chinese security dialogue for the first time and announced unprecedented sanctions against U.S. companies with ties to Taiwan (although it is not clear that the sanctions caused meaningful damage). In July of that year, Beijing angrily protested plans for U.S.–South Korean

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