November 5, 2015

Thinking Strategically About U.S.-China Relations

David M. Lampton, Hyman Professor of China Studies, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Set against a background of declining United States’ power and increasing world issues, the question arises—Can the US deal with a bigger plate and a smaller spoon? An encroaching power, China has begun to show its prowess in geopolitics through programs such as the Belt and Road Initiative. China accounts for approximately 18% of the world’s GDP and the largest population by state—it is not a readily coerced nor easily ignored figure in the international system. According to Dr. Lampton, these circumstances should not be cause for alarm but rather a call for cooperation. In that we “can’t afford each other as an enemy,” Lampton proposes a rhetorical shift away from competition and toward a vocabulary of partnership to tackle local and global problems.