03 July 2011

Michael D. Swaine, America’s Challenge: Engaging a Rising China in the Twenty-First Century (CEIP, 2011)

Michael D. Swaine, America’s Challenge: Engaging a Rising China in the Twenty-First Century (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011).

Michael D. Swaine is a senior associate in the Carnegie Endowment’s Asia Program. The author of more than ten monographs on security policy in the region, Swaine is one of the most prominent U.S. analysts in Chinese security studies and U.S.-China relations.

The emergence of China on the world scene constitutes the most significant event in world politics since the end of World War II. Given its size, location, dynamism, and unconventional approach to many global issues, a rapidly growing China will reshape the global distribution of power and major issues confronting the international community.

As the world’s predominant political, economic, and military force, the United States faces a significant challenge in responding to China’s rising power and influence, especially in Asia. This challenge will require more effective U.S. policies and a reassessment of America’s fundamental strategic assumptions and relationships.

Offering a fresh perspective on current and near-term U.S. policy toward China, Michael Swaine examines the basic beliefs behind U.S.-China relations, recent policy practices by both countries, and the future trends most likely to affect U.S. policy. American leaders, he concludes, must develop policies to sustain America’s economic and technological prowess and improve the U.S. strategic position. Otherwise, Washington will have a hard time maintaining a stabilizing presence in East Asia, shaping regional and Chinese strategic perceptions, and managing key policy issues. …


China’s rise presents America with its biggest foreign policy challenge. This book comprehensively and deftly lays out the considerations relevant to wise policy formulation. Swaine offers analysis and recommendations in a manner that both informs and enlightens. It will be an invaluable resource for policymakers, concerned citizens, and students.

–J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. ambassador to China

For the last two decades Michael Swaine has provided some of the most enlightening and accurate views of Chinese thought. Here he engineers a convincing logic of the need to reassess our strategy in the U.S.-China relationship. His recommendations lay the foundation for the necessary debate.

–Joseph W. Prueher, former U.S. ambassador to China, former commander, U.S. Pacific Command, and James Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center, University of Virginia