On December 16th, the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy co-sponsored a debate organized by the Quincy Institute titled, “Should the U.S. Seek to Contain China?”. The virtual debate was held from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (EST) and can be watched on YouTube.
There is a growing divergence among realists and restrainers on the issue of U.S.-China policy. On one side, a belief that Beijing has aims of regional if not global hegemony, and that Washington has a responsibility to its allies and partners to lead the security challenge and contain China’s perceived ambitions. On the other, a belief that the China “threat” has been inflated, that Beijing’s regional ambitions are not a direct threat to the United States, and that its hostility has in many ways been a reaction to aggressive Western behavior. At the very most, the U.S. should help its friends in the region defend itself to balance the power of competing interests but without the US leading the charge.
Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago argued that China is indeed a threat that needs to be contained, while David Kang of the University of Southern California argued against containment, and that an aggressive military response is unnecessary and unduly escalatory. Kelley Vlahos, Editorial Director of Responsible Statecraft, moderated.
- John Mearsheimer: Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute and the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
- David Kang: Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute and Maria Crutcher Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California
- Kelley Beaucar Vlahos: Senior Advisor at the Quincy Institute and Editorial Director of its online magazine, Responsible Statecraft