According to a recent report by Michael D. Swaine, framing the military challenge Beijing poses in alarmist, worst-case ways weakens the U.S. ability to determine the limits of Chinese threats. It also undermines voices within China that favor moderation, raises the danger of Sino-American crises and military conflict, and diverts U.S. resources away from desperately needed nonmilitary uses at home and abroad.

The United States cannot build its way out of the deepening military competition with China, nor develop a successful long-term China strategy based on inflated threats. It must accept the logic of balance over dominance in many areas, fashion credible strategies designed both to deter and reassure Beijing in both the regional and global arenas, and strengthen its capacities at home.

Michael Swaine discusses more effective approaches than threat inflation to facing China’s increasingly powerful military in an interview conducted on July 8, 2022.

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