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What Explains America’s Antagonism Toward China?

In the last few years, the view of China as a strategic rival has taken over the American political mainstream, with leaders largely choosing confrontation over cooperation. Two features of this shift stand out: how quickly it occurred, and the extent to which Americans – and their leaders – have united behind it.

SHANGHAI – Last month, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee officially backed the Strategic Competition Act of 2021, which labels China a strategic competitor in a number of areas, including trade, technology, and security. Given bipartisan support – exceedingly rare in the United States nowadays – Congress will most likely pass the bill, and President Joe Biden will sign it. With that, America’s antagonism toward China would effectively become enshrined in US law.