The Imminent US Strategic Adjustment to China

My new article for The Chinese Journal of International Politics is now available online. Click here to download the PDF; no subscription to the journal is necessary.


How can leaders in the United States and China ensure that future relations between their two countries are marked by peaceful cooperation and not conflict over the organization of world politics? Whereas most scholarly writing on the topic of China’s ‘peaceful rise’ has dwelt upon the ways and means by which Chinese leaders can steer their ship of state towards harmonious relations with the outside world, this article attempts to shift the focus onto foreign policy-making by the United States. The argument is that established states preside over a range of options when it comes to deciding how to respond to rising states during periods of shifting power and how they choose to adjust to an adverse alteration in relative power has dramatic consequences for the subsequent evolution of any given power-transitional dyad and, by extension, for the course of world politics more broadly. The author provides a conceptual framing of this function for established great powers during episodes of shifting power and seeks to elucidate in particular the domestic–political components of the role. The primary policy implication is to suggest that decision makers in the United States ought to be ready—much more ready than they currently are—to assume a hefty slice of responsibility for the ensuing power transition with China that most observers anticipate to be in the offing.


Would a Republican President Really Undo the Iran Deal?

I have a new article for The National Interest that asks whether a Republican president would really undo President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.  In short, I think that there are good reasons to believe that they will.

Even if President Obama’s controversial deal with Iran survives next month’s pitched battle in Congress, the triumph could well prove to be short-lived.  In particular, the distinct possibility will remain that the Iran deal gets undone by his immediate successor in the White House.  And with would-be Republican nominees falling over themselves to criticize Obama’s approach to the Iranian nuclear question, such an eventuality cannot be ruled out.  Importantly, this is true whether or not reversing the Iran deal will make strategic sense in 2017.

Read the full piece here.

This Is How Russia and China Could Make Big Trouble for America

My latest feature for The National Interest explores how an opportunistic modus vivendi between Russia and China would cause problems for America’s power projection capabilities in East Asia and perhaps farther afield.

As Russia and China plan their latest installment of joint naval exercises, strategic planners in Washington are invited yet again to take stock of the health and trajectory of America’s relationships with the world’s great powers.  Will the U.S. be able to hold its own in an increasingly multipolar international system?  Should more be done to foster friendships with rising and resurgent great powers?  Or is the goal to defend military preponderance at any price?

Although it is questionable just how close the Sino-Russian relationship is destined to become, any degree of military cooperation between these two powers is unappealing from Washington’s perspective.