In 2013 on the first episode of the China in the World Podcast, Paul Haenle spoke with Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor to President George W. Bush, about the potential for a “new type of great power relations” between the United States and China. Four years later, on the 100th episode of the podcast, Hadley joined Haenle again to discuss how U.S. foreign policy has adapted to new realities in the bilateral relationship amidst a shifting global order.

Hadley argued that the United States took false comfort in China’s hide and bide strategy (韬光养晦) and failed to recognize that China would increasingly assert itself as it became more comfortable operating in the international system. He argued the United States needs to be more realistic about how the U.S.-China relationship will proceed in the 21st century, calling for the United States to defend its values of democracy, human rights, and transparency and engage with China when such principles are not upheld. Failure to include China in the international system up to this point would have led China to build a competitive alternative system, based upon principles less congenial to U.S. standards, Hadley argued. However, he said that significant corrections need to be made to China’s role in the international system, such as addressing asymmetry in the economic relationship. Hadley said the Trump administration needs to establish a credible military alternative to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table and change the North Korean calculus about the dangers of keeping nuclear weapons. Discussing U.S. leadership more broadly, Hadley advocated for a realistic approach that strikes a balance between advancing U.S. ideals and accounting for the dangers posed by nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and other emerging security threats.

Paul Haenle

Paul Haenle is the director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Prior to joining Carnegie, he served from June 2007 to June 2009 as the director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Affairs on the National Security Council staffs of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Stephen Hadley

Stephen Hadley served as the National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009. From January 20, 2001, to January 20, 2005, Hadley was the assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser, serving under then National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice. Hadley is currently a Principal of RiceHadleyGates and serves as Senior Advisor on International Affairs to the United States Institute of Peace.