Exclusion Is Driving the U.S. and China Toward War — but Common Good Diplomacy Can Thwart Disaster 

Direct conflict between the U.S. and China is inevitable unless the relationship between Washington and Beijing changes course, according to new research released by the Quincy Institute’s East Asia program Research Fellow Jake Werner.

Werner’s complementary research briefs—Competition Versus Exclusion in U.S.–China Relations: A Choice Between Stability and Conflict and Common Good Diplomacy: A Framework for Stable U.S.–China Relations — examine the dynamics driving Beijing and Washington toward war, and imagine new ways to transform the relationship through win-win diplomacy.

Instead of reflexively seeking to “counter China” in all aspects of the relationship, Werner argues Washington should adopt a framework of “common good diplomacy” that distinguishes between areas where engagement with China can create mutually beneficial outcomes, and areas where the Chinese government’s problematic behaviors can be addressed by drawing Beijing into the international order, rather than excluding it.

“The central focus for common good diplomacy is actions that would reduce zero-sum pressures, institutionalize restrained multipolarity on all sides, and open up possibilities for mutual gain,” Werner explains. By building a stable architecture for U.S.–China relations, Washington would “not only avoid great power war and put us on the road to a peaceful, prosperous, and revitalized global system. It would also allow the United States to pursue healthy forms of both competition and cooperation with China that are currently being rendered toxic by the project of excluding and subordinating China.”

A one-page summary of the briefs can be downloaded here.