Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Asia Top U.S. Foreign Policy Theater

Asia is now the U.S. primary foreign policy theater, Japan its critical ally and China the topic. To explore these changing circumstances, The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, with the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the Center for China-US Cooperation and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver, convened a four-panel program of experts in March that addressed foreign policy and public opinion amid the threats and opportunities China presents.

As director of the Crossley Center, I presented a scan of the foreign policy news from the Biden administration, recent polling and highlight comments of the March panel presentations. The following summarizes the presentation.

New Era in U.S.-China Relations

  • Asia is now the U.S.’s primary foreign policy theater, Japan its critical ally and China the topic
  • Very different China from 2012, it’s the Xi era
  • U.S. policy is beyond “China will evolve,” the pivot to Asia and transactional strategies
  • Allies wanted, Japan in prime position, Quad, Europe needed, votes in UN
  • Americans see China as threat, it lost world opinion – COVID-19
  • China and the U.S. are now in competitive engagement 
  • Values and ideals will be main instruments of competition, use diplomacy, development aid and financing, communication: autocracy vs. liberal democracy
  • Domestic policy is critical to foreign policy, “Get our house in order”

The conclusion is that a new era has been launched in U.S.-China relations. It is now the primary focus of America’s foreign policy and it is affecting domestic policy from resolving the pandemic, addressing infrastructure and strengthening democracy.

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