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Obama and Xi in Washington, September 2015 Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

The View From China

"The United States has always had an outsize sense of its ability to determine China’s course,” Kurt Campbell and Ely Ratner write in their article “The China Reckoning” (March/April 2018). Of course, China here could be replaced by present-day Egypt or Venezuela, or by South Vietnam before the fall of Saigon in 1975. Americans have often thought that they could alter another country to their liking and then felt frustrated when things turned out otherwise. Still, Campbell and Ratner’s self-reflection is admirable. And their counsel—that Washington should focus more on its own power and base its China policy on more realistic expectations—is worth taking seriously.

Although Campbell and Ratner have legitimate reasons to be dismayed at the direction of the U.S.-Chinese relationship, their Chinese counterparts may be equally disillusioned with, and probably more perplexed by, the United States. Some U.S. watchers in China, myself

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