22 August 2012

Developing a Strategy for Long-term Sino-American Competition

James P. Thomas and Evan Braden Montgomery, “Developing a Strategy for Long-term Sino-American Competition,” in Thomas Mahnken, ed., Competitive Strategies for the 21st Century: Theory, History, and Practice (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), 257-74.

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A sound competitive strategy should have three characteristics. First, it should adopt a long-term perspective, looking ahead several decades and anticipating shifts in the balance of power rather than focusing exclusively on near-term contingencies. Second, it should build on the enduring strengths of the United States, mitigate its vulnerabilities, and exploit a competitor’s enduring weaknesses. In fact, an ideal competitive strategy would align a nation’s core strengths against a rival’s enduring weaknesses for maximum effect. Third, it should shape an opponent’s behavior by adopting measures that channel its attention, effort, and resources toward actions and investments that are least threatening. Based on these criteria, this chapter outlines a long-term, peacetime competitive strategy that would enable the United States to maintain or improve its current position relative to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), preserve American influence in Asia, and forestall a more dangerous, globalized Sino-American rivalry. …

For selected sources cited herein, see:

Andrew S. Erickson and Lyle J. Goldstein, “Gunboats for China’s New ‘Grand Canals’? Probing the Intersection of Beijing’s Naval and Energy Security Policies,” Naval War College Review 62.2 (Spring 2009): 43-76.

Andrew S. Erickson, “The Growth of China’s Navy: Implications for Indian Ocean Security,” Strategic Analysis 32.4 (July 2008): 655-76.

Andrew S. Erickson and Lyle J. Goldstein, “Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst: China’s Response to U.S. Hegemony,” Journal of Strategic Studies 29.6 (December 2006): 955-86.

Andrew S. Erickson and David D. Yang, “Using the Land to Control the Sea? Chinese Analysts Consider the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile,” Naval War College Review, 62.4 (Autumn 2009): 53-86.