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An Answer to Aggression: How to Push Back Against Beijing

Author:  Aaron L. Friedberg

Affiliation: Princeton University

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place:  September/October 2020/USA

Type of Literature: Report

Word Count: 5046


Keywords:  Political Warfare, Liberal Order, Competition.


China’s increasing ambitions of becoming the world’s top technological and economic power, and its attempts to discredit democracy, are increasing the awareness of China’s brutal and repressive actions domestically and its aggressive policies abroad. The author proposes that now is the time for the US and its allies to shore up their defenses to protect their economies, political systems, and to develop strategy to exploit China’s weaknesses in order to successfully curb its coercive ambitions. Liberal power must not fully embrace cooperation while forgetting competition, as the Chinese elite won’t stop distrusting the US no matter what; accordingly, a firm stance would better deter the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) approach, and defenses would augment this approach. The US should strengthen its military capabilities via capitalizing on its technologies and China’s relative weakness in naval power. It should also stop considering China as a trade partner but as a rival; policies that spring out of this realization could slow China’s much needed growth. Help should be given to developing countries exploited by China. Whether by helping these nations directly or via International Organizations, US aid should be a better alternative to Chinese advances. The West should also surmount China’s propaganda by supporting Chinese voices of criticism, upholding its ideals against Chinese attacks in the political warfare of ideas. If the US and its allies engage in a successful defense and counter push, the CCP’s leadership may reconsider their stance and shift their behaviors with new leaders willing to cooperate. Until then, rivalry is inevitable.

By: Omar Fili, CIGA Research Assistant 



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