The China Options

53 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2017 Last revised: 5 May 2017

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: February 8, 2017


A variety of strategies have been suggested for how the U.S. should respond to China as a rising power. The publication analyses the underlying assumptions of these strategies. The strategies are grouped into three categories: 1) Strategies that call for China to be integrated into the liberal international order. The study finds that there are significant divergences in the requirements imposed, contingent on different views of what such integration entails, and hence, differences in their chances of success. 2) The study compares strategies that call for the application of (primarily military) power to either brake or reverse the rise of China, or to limit it, or to allow for some increasing influence and U.S. retrenchment. 3) The study compares the scope of shared and complementary versus conflicting core interests of the two powers (and those of their allies) and weighs the role that tension reduction measures can play in dealing with these conflicting interests as compared to negotiated settlements, based on salience differentials. The publication closes by asking what differences emerge if the ‘end state’ one seeks is a peaceful, stable order or also a liberal, democratic one.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, The China Options (February 8, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

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