The Fear Factor in US-China Relations

Throughout history, whenever a rising power creates fear among its neighbors and other great powers, seemingly small events can trigger an unforeseen and disastrous chain reaction. This is one reason why the US must manage its policy toward China and an increasingly assertive Taiwan so carefully.

Opinion polls indicate that one-third of Americans believe that China will “soon dominate the world,” while nearly half view China’s emergence as a “threat to world peace.” In turn, many Chinese fear that the United States will not accept their “peaceful rise.” Americans and Chinese must avoid such exaggerated fears. Maintaining good US-China relations will be a key determinant of global stability in this century.