US Resolve to Defend America against Serious Chinese Challenges: Why It Won’t Change Anytime Soon


A major uncertainty impacting the foreign policy calculations of government, business and other elites throughout Asia and more broadly remains in determining the resolve of the remarkable US government hardening carried out since the start of the Donald Trump administration (2017-2021) and continuing in the Joseph Biden administration (2021-). Notably, the US government seeks to defend America from various serious challenges posed by Chinese government behavior.

The future of America and the existing world order in the current tumultuous period of international affairs faces many uncertainties, making forecasts difficult. Most notably, with presidential elections every four years, the US approach to China could change under a new president in the elections in November 2024. Republican presidential candidate and former president Donald Trump, or another like-minded candidate, if elected, could complicate and weaken US resolve against China as Trump did in his repeated erratic behavior contrary to his administration’s national security strategy while in office. There is more confidence in predicting continued challenges to American interests by China’s powerful leader President Xi Jinping. At last October’s 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress, Xi capped ten years of effort to consolidate his rule and unchallenged control of the impressive powers of the Chinese party-state apparatus in a headlong pursuit of power and influence coming at the expense of those with a stake in the existing international order.

Based on a forthcoming monograph examining the role of the US Congress in the history of American China policy, 1 this assessment demonstrates how and why a cohort of bipartisan majorities in Congress have driven the US hardening toward China more resolutely and effectively than erratic Trump and initially hesitant Biden, with ever growing influence on US policy going forward. This congressional role in making American China policy has become uniquely powerful and important—more significant than in any other period in the history of the United States.

The members of these congressional majorities came to their judgments largely through their own individual calculations about the dangers posed by Chinese behavior. Those calculations were carried out without significant impetus from swings in public and media opinion or pressures from special interests, which sometimes influenced congressional activism in China policy in the past. Also secondary in recent years have been motives seen in past congressional behavior on China policy competing with the executive branch to lead the US government in foreign affairs and seeking partisan advantage in differing with the administration on China policy. In addition, the congressional record of China policy and many other issues shows that when members deliberate on their own and “make up their mind” on a set of issues, the members tend not to change their opinions easily. The above argues for steady resolve from congressional members seeking to defend America in the face of serious Chinese challenges, perhaps lasting to the end of their public service. Since the members of this congressional cohort occupy seats largely safe for incumbents, they will remain in power in pursuing efforts to defend America from China’s challenges well into the future.

Past Episodic Congressional Activism in China Policy

Briefly reviewing past largely episodic congressional activism in China policy, there were three notable historical periods of congressional activism in dealing with US policy impacting China.

First was congressional involvement in legislation restricting Chinese immigration into the United States beginning in 1870.2 This involvement lasted for decades but the congressional role was heavily reactive, initially coming in response to almost twenty years of unrest and lawless behavior targeting Chinese immigrants in Western states. The congressional involvement also reflected and was influenced by a sharp negative turn in US elite and popular opinion about Chinese immigration that drove restrictive immigration policies into the 20th century.

Second, Congress played a largely supporting role in response to the sharp turn in public opinion against foreign involvement reflecting widespread disillusionment with World War I leading to the elections of Republican administrations in the 1920s favoring isolationist policies.3 Those trends determined US reluctance to take action helping China against coercive encroachment and attack by Imperial Japan.

Third, Congress was in a similarly reactive role as the Truman administration charted US policy after World War II to deal with an emerging danger posed mainly by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Partisan interests influenced congressional Republicans to criticize the Truman government’s failure in China, but without major consequences. The massive shift toward containment in Asia after the start of the Korean War was carried out by the White House and administration leaders.

Congressional investigations of US China policy elites impacted the making of China policy, but they were a small part of congressional investigations to expose and eliminate pro-Communist influences in the United States and the US government in particular. These in turn were overshadowed by the Truman administration loyalty-security program begun in 1946.4 From 1947 to 1956, the program saw over 5 million federal workers undergo screening, resulting in an estimated 2,700 dismissals and 12,000 resignations.

Active congressional involvement in China policy came in the decades of growing engagement with China since President Richard Nixon’s opening to China in 1972. The first period ran from the Nixon opening in 1972 until the shift in US policy toward China ten years later in the Reagan administration. The first five years of this period took place prior to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with China carried out by the Carter administration, known as the normalization of relations. The period featured congressional visits to China by over eighty members of Congress as the most important official channel of communications between the United States and China as US and Chinese administrations were preoccupied with major leadership succession and other issues.

The experience of the visits and the detailed official government reports published by the visitors provided a broader congressional and public audience with information and the visitors’ opinions on conditions in China and issues in US relations with China. Overall, they created a large bipartisan congressional group of members well informed about China and particularly knowledgeable about the legislative implications and the many pros and cons of the United States meeting China’s conditions for establishing formal diplomatic relations. Adding to congressional competence on China policy were major hearings and congressional reports featuring the expertise of relevant specialists to assess the pros and cons of US normalization with China and the role of Congress in dealing with legislative and other implications of normalization of relations. In sum, at the end of this five-year period prior to Carter’s normalization with China, Congress was well prepared to address a wide range of issues in the normalization of relations. Members often had developed well informed opinions on the benefits and costs of meeting China’s conditions for establishing formal diplomatic relations. They were well prepared to support their judgments.

The Carter administration’s resort to secret diplomacy to reach agreement with China on terms for the normalization of relations resulted in a surprise announcement of the agreement in December 1978. Congress broadly favored establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing but many members had reservations about meeting China’s demands for ending all official relations with Taiwan, including the US defense alliance treaty with the Taiwan government. Many also criticized the administration’s failure to consult with Congress on such sensitive foreign policy issues. Congress had repeatedly emphasized its position that such matters as ending a defense treaty warranted close consultations with Congress.

In the immediate aftermath of Carter’s announcement of normalization with China in December 1978, a wide range of congressional members were critical and resisted administration actions and policies that in their judgment had important implications compromising and sacrificing significant US interests without enough offsetting benefit for what various congressional members judged was in the overall national interest of the United States.5 The pattern shown in congressional opposition to Carter administration advances with China was repeated over the next four decades. In general, Congress was less inclined than the administration to see important positive benefits of advancing closer US engagement with China overriding what members in Congress viewed as negative implications of these US advances. In response to forward movement with China by the Carter administration and sometimes with later administrations, the calculus of congressional members critical of such forward movement with China reflected their personal assessments on protecting the interests of their constituents that were seen as negatively impacted as a result of administration advances of engagement with China. The calculus of congressional members also reflected their personal views of American national interests and how advancing US engagement with China impacted those interests. And congressional criticism and resistance to administration policy also repeatedly reflected congressional members’ concern to protect and assert the foreign policy prerogatives of Congress.

It was only later that public and media opinion would emerge as a major driver of congressional action on China. For a decade, beginning with the massive turn of public and media opinion against China because of the bloody crackdown at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, those factors heavily influenced congressional opposition to administration policy. And the influence of partisan politics on congressional action on China seemed secondary until Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton used criticism of President’s George H. W. Bush’s China policy to help him to win the 1992 election, setting a pattern of partisan politics often influencing congressional decision making on China policy in following years.

Congressional criticism of George H.W. Bush’s continued engagement with Chinese leaders despite broad popular and media condemnation of Beijing’s crackdown at Tiananmen Square in 1989 drove China policy for more than a year after the crackdown and gave Congress a prominent role in China policy for the rest of the decade. Congress was in the lead in emphasizing harsh measures to punish Beijing, notably by halting US Most Favored Nation (MFN) status for Chinese imports and by pushing advances in support for Taiwan, notably a visit to the United States by Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui in 1995.

Yet, the commitment of congressional critics proved much weaker than the commitment of congressional critics in the 1970s and1980s. At first, the critics in the 1990s were riding a strong wave of public and media opinion arguing for harsh punishment for Chinese leaders. And they saw no significant negative national security implication in alienating China as Beijing appeared weak and internally preoccupied and the Soviet empire was collapsing, ending the past perceived US need for close relations with China as a bulwark against Soviet power. But when substantive economic issues impacting congressional members’ reelection prospects were used by US business lobbyists to warn congressional members against stopping MFN for China, they were successful not only in getting Clinton to end conditions on granting China MFN but also in gaining sufficient congressional support to sustain that position. And when Lee’s US visit resulted in many months of Chinese live-fire military exercises threatening Taiwan, congressional advocates for the visit fell silent and offered no support, leaving a major crisis for the Clinton government to address.

Many in Congress in the 1990s also were active in criticizing the administration’s China policy for partisan reasons—a marked contrast from the 1970s and 1980s when the foreign policy issues themselves seemed to be the prime drivers in the US domestic debate. But the overall impact of such partisanship on China policy was episodic and weak. Clinton and his allies in Congress used the China issue to attack the record of the Bush administration, only to reverse course in the face of China’s harsh military response to the Taiwan president’s US visit, returning to the engagement policy of the previous president. The strident rhetoric coming from Republican congressional leaders critical of the Clinton administration’s new engagement policy in its second term seemed to have similarly partisan motives, ending with the election in November 2000 of Republican President George W. Bush. 

The next two US administrations, George W. Bush (2001-2009) and Barack Obama (2009-2017), belied predictions at the turn of the century that congressional pressure for a hard policy toward China seen in the 1990s would continue to influence US China policy in the early 21st century. In fact, various Bush administration decisions and actions in China policy were undertaken independent of Congress. Congressional and other domestic criticism of US policy toward China declined sharply with the election of President Bush and Republican majorities in the Congress and with the American preoccupation with the war on terrorism. Bush’s initially tougher posture toward China was in accord with views of the vocal congressional critics of Clinton administration engagement policies, and the president benefited from strong Republican leadership and discipline that kept Congress in line with the president’s foreign policies. Meanwhile, American politicians and interest groups seeking prominence and support in attacking Chinese policies and practices as they did in the 1990s were overwhelmed with the shift in the country’s foreign policy emphasis after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Another key determinant at this time that served to weaken the importance of Congress in influencing administration China policy was a notable decline in overall congressional assertiveness over foreign policy. Expert commentators and scholars showed the Congress to have lost interest in the efforts since the Vietnam War to curb the power of the executive in foreign affairs.6 In effect, the pattern of Congress asserting its rights in foreign affairs seen in the Taiwan Relations Act and other congressional practices after the end of Vietnam War was no more.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama was unusual in recent US presidential campaign politics in not making an issue of his predecessor’s China policy. Like outgoing President Bush, candidate Obama seemed to reflect less domestic American division over China policy than in the recent past. Over time, Chinese practices adverse to US interests regarding Chinese expansion at others’ expense in the East and South China Seas and Taiwan, rapid military buildup targeting American forces along China’s rim, and massive cyber theft of intellectual property and other economic actions grossly out of line with international norms prompted some hardening in the administration’s policy toward China.

Republicans in Congress came to depict Obama as weak in dealing with international opponents, including China. The Republican controlled Congress and the 2016 Republican Party platform going into the 2016 presidential elections laid out much tougher positions in countering Chinese policies and practices. Yet candidate Trump took the campaign spotlight in Asia away from China. He focused instead on his dramatic endorsement of a US presidential summit with North Korea’s leader and his demands that Japan and South Korea pay much more for US forces based in the countries or Trump would withdraw US forces.

Recent Resolve and Leadership to Defend America against Chinese Challenges

Congressional-executive relations over China policy since the start of the Trump administration have seen Congress playing a leading role very different from past reactive resistance to administration leadership and demonstrating with each major accomplishment a more important position in the making of US China policy than ever before. The pattern since the Nixon-Mao opening of Congress resisting administration advances in relations with China at the expense of other US interests valued by Congress appears ended. The pattern of Congress competing with the administration for control of American foreign policy commonly discussed in academic literature since the Vietnam War did not appear very relevant in this recent period of close symbiosis between bipartisan majorities of the Congress and two otherwise very different Republican and Democratic presidents in creating and implementing policy toward China.

The often-acute partisanship on many domestic and foreign issues during this six-year period seemed secondary as bipartisan congressional policy makers worked with these administrations in creating and advancing China policy ending engagement seen seriously detrimental to US interests and taking measures to defend America and its interests from multifaceted serious challenges posed by the behavior of the Chinese government. Unlike the periods of historical congressional-administration cooperation in dealing with Chinese immigration and US isolationism, the Congress was not reacting to pressures from public opinion, media, or domestic politics in undertaking its recent leadership role.

Rather, the Congress was driven in the recent period by the calculations of the individual congressional members on how to deal with the growing danger posed by Chinese behavior. Such determinants—the personal calculations and convictions of individual members–were also seen in the resolve of congressional members resisting the Carter administration’s advances in relations with China seen coming at the expense of US interests valued by Congress. The determination and resolve of the Congress showed then. Its impact on policy nonetheless remained secondary because the congressional critics were in the midst of a broader competition for control of American foreign policy, working against a highly motivated president and administration leaders using the many powers of the executive branch in seeking advantage in engagement with China as a top priority in American foreign policy.

In contrast, in these past six years the bipartisan majorities of Congress have been remarkably effective in working together with like-minded leaders in both Republican and Democratic-led administrations in driving forward US government efforts to defend American from very serious challenges posed by the Chinese government policies and practices.

Highlights of congressional activism and achievement in this period include The National Defense Authorization Act FY-2019, passed and signed into law in August 2018. It was the most important foreign policy legislation in 2018. Underlining hardening toward China, the law directed a whole-of-government US strategy targeting Chinese challenges. Provisions focused on greater support for Taiwan. It strengthened US restrictions on Chinese investments in high technology enterprises in the United States and on US high technology exports to China.

US resolve in countering Chinese challenges came into question in 2019. As trade negotiations dragged on in 2019, administration spokespersons were publicly more restrained in criticizing China. Other evidence that the US government might be moderating its approach to China included the following pieces of evidence.7 First, President Trump remained ambivalent, and was usually more positive toward China than any other senior administration official. Second, the phase one trade deal with China announced in January 2020 was a cause of public celebration for the administration. Third, the administration kept postponing the imposition of proposed export controls regarding advanced US computer chips going to the controversial Chinese company Huawei, despite the US government’s strong rhetoric against the firm. Fourth, while public opinion in 2020 registered increased disapproval for China than seen in the ratings in 2019, there was little evidence that the US public shared the urgency to counter China’s behavior seen in the administration’s strategies strongly backed by bipartisan congressional leaders. Fifth, more than 100 China and foreign policy experts signed a letter disagreeing with administration policy, calling for greater moderation toward China. And last but not least, Democratic candidates for president gave little priority to China and were much more moderate than the debate in Washington. Joseph Biden averred that the United States was notably more powerful than China and could handle challenges coming from Beijing.

Nevertheless, Congress sustained an anti-China drumbeat with legislation, hearings, letters, and other public bipartisan demonstrations to reassure Asia of US support in the face of China’s advances, to criticize China-Russia cooperation, to condemn acute suppression in China’s Xinjiang, and to spotlight dangers posed by Confucius Institutes. The record of congressional accomplishments showed ever stronger resolve as the bipartisan majorities continued their efforts, despite the lack of strong support and understanding of the need for such dramatic change from American public opinion and media until 2020, and despite continued resistance from strong domestic political interests, notably the many US businesses and investors deeply involved with China. And as noted, the bipartisan majorities in Congress also were notably more resolved than Trump and aspiring Democratic Party candidates in 2019 and early 2020, including Joseph Biden, in sustaining and building support for the new policy countering China’s challenges. 

Trump adopted a strident anti-China position in the presidential election campaign as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States with a vengeance beginning in March 2020.  This period saw the Trump campaign attack for partisan advantage Biden’s involvement with past failed US China policies. The concurrent explosion of anti-China measures undertaken by the administration fundamentally challenged earlier assumptions supporting US engagement with China as the administration endeavored to assure there would be no reversal of the anti-China direction of US policy if Trump was not reelected. These major initiatives required Biden to shift and notably harden his position on China while Congress basically agreed as most members sponsored new legislation as the Congress considered almost 400 anti-China bills targeting Chinese challenges at the end of the year.

The bipartisan majorities seeking to defend America against multifaceted Chinese challenge saw Biden and his administration leaders bring their earlier more moderate views of Chinese dangers into line with views in Congress. Notably, Biden supported a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, warning of China’s ambitions to dominate the fourth industrial revolution and advising “we can’t let them win.” The warning meshed well with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s concurrent extraordinary legislation to advance American technology to counter China.

The infrastructure bill and another bill curbing US imports of products coming from “forced labor” in concentration camps in Xinjiang had bipartisan congressional support. Many provisions targeting China in the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Consolidated Appropriation Act for FY 2022 added momentum.

The overall effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the Chinese reaction criticizing the United States and denouncing US sanctions was to strengthen US resolve to counter China and to markedly increase the resolve of European and Asian allies and partners to work closely with the US government in countering dangers from China as well as Russia.

The most significant US public debate on the hardening of US policy toward China came in the lead-up and aftermath of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on August 2 followed by over four days of live fire Chinese military exercises surrounding Taiwan. Yet Congress and the administration remained resolved and the debate subsided with no discernable impact on policy.8 Congressional and administration resolve to counter Chinese challenges advanced most substantially with the passage in August of two massive bills calling for over half a trillion dollars of spending to compete with China on high technology and climate change. Arguably even more important in countering China’s high technology ambitions, the administration with strong congressional support in October imposed a ban on the exports of US advanced computer chip technology to China. The move was widely viewed as the most substantial US measure to counter China’s economic rise, by targeting Beijing’s continued dependence on imports of high technology computer chips.9

The Republican control of the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress (2023-2024) added to US government resolve to counter serious challenges coming from Chinese practices. A bipartisan special committee along with many other now Republican controlled House standing committees set to work to strengthen US and allied capacities targeting China and to ensure enforcement of existing restrictions on US interaction with China. Their efforts ranged widely from advancing military support for Taiwan, cutting US financing for Chinese industries, banning or restricting social media companies having access to US personal information, restricting Chinese firms purchasing US land, and investigating and discovering new elements among the often hidden and disguised tools used by the Chinese government to expand its international influence and control.10

Whether or not the Republican controlled House would resort to partisan measures in criticizing Biden administration policies and undermine the recent strongly bipartisan congressional effort on China policy remained to be determined. On the one hand, reflecting continued bipartisan resolve countering China in the Democratic controlled Senate, Majority leader Schumer in May announced a massive legislative package covering many of the issues highlighted in the House deliberations on China.11 On the other hand, the Republican majority in the House was fractious and hard to control, with individual members voicing criticisms of Biden administration policy. Most significant, Mike Gallagher, the chairman of the House special committee on China, seemed to go beyond his repeatedly stated emphasis that the committee would seek bipartisan measures in dealing with China when he published an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on June 14. There, he was sharply critical of efforts by the Biden government to seek talks with Chinese leaders to set guard rails that would assure that rising US tensions with China would not lead to military conflict.12

Washington’s Dire View of Chinese Challenges

The so-called consensus in Washington on China policy has hardened and is here to stay. The consensus represents the alignment of views by the administration and bipartisan majorities in Congress on the priority of countering the multifaceted challenges posed by Chinese government practices. And the hardened view has garnered increasing support in mainstream US media while American public disapproval of Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Chinese government practices has remained at all time highs, with 80 percent of Americans polled having an unfavorable view of China.13

The record since 2018 showed bipartisan majorities in Congress enacting a wide range of legislation and other actions taken against Chinese practices which usually dealt with only parts of the challenges posed by China. Overall, those challenges, as noted above, can be grouped in three categories.14

First is the challenge posed by the over three-decades of rapid development of Chinese modern military power tipping the balance in the Indo-Pacific, supporting Chinese territorial expansionism and undermining US alliances and partnerships in seeking dominance in the region. The American strategic presence in the Asia-Pacific region has been based since World War II on preventing the region falling under the control of a power hostile to the United States. If that were to happen, that power would pose a direct threat to the United States, comparable to the threat the US faced from Imperial Japan’s dominance in Asia and Nazi Germany’s dominance in Europe in the dark days at the start of World War II.

Second is the challenge posed by China’s similarly longstanding efforts using state-directed development polices to plunder foreign intellectual property rights and undermine international competitors having increasingly profound negative impacts on US and Western interests. Beijing does so with hidden and overt state-directed economic coercion, egregious government subsidies, import protection, and export promotion using highly protected and state-supported products to weaken and often destroy foreign competition in key industries. In this way, it recently seeks dominance in major world high technology industries and related military power to displace the United States and secure China’s primacy in Asia and world leadership.

Third is China’s challenge to global governance. More than any other major power, Beijing leverages economic dependence, influence operations including elite capture, and control of important infrastructure to compel deference to its preferences. In the Indo-Pacific region, these practices are backed by intimidating Chinese military power.  China’s preferences include legitimating the above predatory Chinese economic practices and territorial expansionism; opposition to efforts promoting accountable governance, human rights and democracy; opposition to US alliances seen impeding China’s rise; and support for the forceful foreign advances of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the rule of other authoritarian and often corrupt world leaders unaccountable to their citizens. 

Two challenges have been seen as particularly dangerous, existential threats to fundamental American national security and well being. The first is the Chinese effort to undermine US power and influence in and dominate Asia. The second is the Chinese effort to seek dominance in the high technology industries of the future; such dominance will make America subservient to Chinese economic power, and because such technology is essential to modern national security, subservient to Chinese military power.

Seeking to avoid Chinese dominance has remained a strong overall driver of the efforts of bipartisan majorities in Congress and administration partners to defend America against China’s challenges.

Outlook—Struggle Ahead

The imperatives of the 20th Chinese Communist Congress for Chinese policies and practice for the next five years represented the consensus of Chinese leaders more united behind a single powerful ruler than at any time since the highpoint of Mao Zedong’s authoritarian rule. They demonstrated that China is determined to continue its headlong quest for dominating wealth and power at the expense of the United States, its allies and partners, many of China’s neighbors, and other countries with a stake in the existing international order. The determination was underlined in Xi Jinping’s remarks and his tight control of leadership selection and setting government policies at the initial meetings of China’s 14th National People’s Congress in March 2023. How long this direction will last depends on many factors, most notably the calculations of the dominant leader Xi Jinping. Xi has spent over ten years solidifying support for the current trajectory, indicating strongly that change would come only in the event of major unanticipated adverse circumstances.

For its part, the US government has a record of increasing and enduring resolve in countering Chinese challenges over the past six years. The United States government is more determined than ever before in efforts to solidify a wide-ranging whole of government enterprise that also involves a variety of increasingly powerful coalitions of like-minded governments in countering the multifaceted and often dangerous challenges China poses to the interests of the United States and many others with stake in the existing international order.

In sum, the most likely short-term development is growing tension in US-China relations. The United States and its partners are increasingly cutting off heretofore easy Chinese access to the economies and polities of the liberal order among the developed nations. And they are more than ever prepared to stand against Chinese often coercive practices that undermine the security, economic and governance in the existing world order. Facing broad ranging pushback and no longer having open access to manipulate and exploit the advanced technology, economies and political structures of advanced countries, the Chinese government has reacted with anger and retaliation. It has shown no sign of compromising its determination to advance its wealth and power at the expense of the United States and many others. As a result, the security situation in disputed regions along China’s border continues to worsen. This deteriorating situation involves a growing danger of military conflict over Taiwan, the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the border with India. And the international economy faces negative consequences of increased disengagement of advanced economies from China.

On the other hand, both Washington and Beijing show interest in discussions to manage rising tensions and avoid war. And the rising tensions do not preclude cooperation over climate change and other common concerns. Such practices would set limits allowing the growing rivalry to advance without major military conflict in the period ahead. Roughly similar behavior came to characterize US-Soviet competition during the Cold War and could prevail once again.

1. Robert Sutter, Congress and China Policy: Episodic Past, Recent Enduring Influence (Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Lexington Books, forthcoming).

2. Office of the Historian, Department of State, “Chinese Immigration and Chinese Exclusion Act, blog, no date, (accessed July 2, 2022).

3. “Isolationism and US Foreign Policy After World War I,” Norwich University blog, (accessed July 2, 2022)

4. Harry Truman Presidential Library, “Truman’s Loyalty Program,” blog, (accessed July 2, 2022).

5. U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Foreign Affairs. Executive-Legislative Consultations over China Policy, 1978-1979 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 1980).

6. Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, “When Congress Checks Out,” Foreign Affairs (November-December 2006), (accessed June 11, 2023).

7. Robert Sutter, “Has US government angst over the China danger diminished?” East-West Center Washington, Asia-Pacific Bulletin No. 497, January 22, 2020, (accessed July 10, 2022); Richard Fontaine, “Great-power competition is Washington’s top priority—but not the public’s,” Foreign Affairs September 9, 2019, (accessed July 10, 2022); Robert Sutter and Satu Limaye, A Hardening US-China Competition: Asia Policy in America’s 2020 Elections and Regional Responses (Honolulu: East-West Center, 2020),

8. Bonnie Glaser, “US-China Relations,” Comparative Connections 24, no. 3 (January 2023),

9. Robert Sutter, “Beyond Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit: How Congress Is Shaping US China Policy,” The Diplomat, August 1, 2022,

10. Briana Reilly, “Chairman Gallagher outlines China Committee’s agenda,” Roll Call, January 24, 2023, (accessed June 12, 2023).

11. Lindsey McPhearson, “Senate Democrats announce sweeping efforts to outcompete China,” Roll Call, May 3, 2023, (accessed June 12, 2023).

12. Mike Gallagher, “Zombie Engagement with Beijing,” Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2023,]

13. Laura Silver, “How American Views of China Changed from 2020 to 2022,” Pew Research Center, September 28, 2022, (accessed June 12, 2023).

14. Robert Sutter, “China’s Challenges and Effective Defense,” PacNet, October 14, 2021,

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