Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

How Trump can avoid war with China

By Nicholas Borroz and Hunter Marston

The administration of Donald Trump is stacked with China policy hawks, who warn of imminent war with the rising Communist power. International relations theorists of the realist school of thought, such as John Mearsheimer, validate the views of these advocates of war. Chief among those clamouring for conflict is Steve Bannon, President Trump’s visionary ideologue, who has warned that the United States will go to war with China in the South China Sea in the next few years. Yet, President Trump may be uniquely placed to avoid war with Beijing. As someone comfortable with radical shifts in policy direction, Mr Trump is predisposed for a course correction. As such, he and his team of advisers should utilize the strategy of ‘America first’ to steer US–China policy toward an aversion of conflict. That centres on two policy directions. The first is promoting American jobs and economic interests, which rely on stable relations with Beijing. The second is consolidating core US alliances and partnerships in Asia, rather than proliferating security agreements and overextending American security commitments. As such, Trump and his vision of America first just might be capable of improving the Sino-American relationship.

Photo: The US Air Force Academy


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