What is missing from America’s China policy?

A serious trade strategy

Mike Watson

On a recent trip to Tokyo, the message from our Japanese hosts was clear: China is pulling most of Asia into its economic orbit, Japan cannot reverse this trend on its own, and the United States is not helping. The Japanese are famously polite, and true to form, they put things too mildly. In reality, the U.S. is not merely standing still. We are underwriting China’s economic gains in Asia.

Economic growth is the first, second, and third priority in much of South and Southeast Asia. For some countries, creating jobs is vital for maintaining social stability. In others, such as Indonesia, policymakers are determined to raise living standards before their working-age population shrinks. Most Asian countries, particularly in the Southeast, appreciate U.S. security cooperation, but they see China as a better source of trade and investment. In effect, the U.S. military
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