Despite occasional trade frictions in the U.S.-China relationship, the citizens of both countries and their governments have a profound mutual interest in harmonious economic relations. Still, many Americans worry about the economic implications of China’s rise, as well as its effect on the balance of power in Asia. While the Obama administration has promoted a “pivot” toward Asia, the media have been spilling ink over the proposition that China has thrived at U.S. expense for too long, and that her growing assertiveness requires U.S. policy changes. According to columnist Robert J. Samuelson, “China’s worldview threatens America’s geopolitical and economic interests.” Have the once-respected demarcations between the strategic and economic aspects of the relationship been blurred permanently? Are economic frictions more likely to be cast in the context of our geopolitical differences? Is it possible or even desirable to both engage and contain China? What are the potential powder kegs in 2013 and beyond?
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