Of thought leaders surveyed across all sectors, 81% believe the emphasis in U.S. national security strategy toward China should be on prioritizing cooperation with allies and partners even if it harms relations with China.

CSIS | Thought Leaders Q3

By the Numbers

  • 81%

    of U.S. thought leaders believe the United States should prioritize cooperation with allies and partners even if it harms relations with China.

  • 4%

    of U.S. thought leaders want to prioritize cooperation with China.

Working with allies and partners beat out the alternative options of pursuing unilateral military hedges, prioritizing cooperation with China, or avoiding involvement in security issues involving China.

Seven years ago, Beijing proposed a "New Model of Great Power Relations" to resolve disputes between the United States and China bilaterally, with an implicit downgrading of the role of U.S. allies. At the time, the Obama administration considered engaging along those lines (ultimately rejecting Beijing’s proposal), but this result suggests that any prospect of reviving that kind of bipolar condominium is close to zero for the foreseeable future on a bipartisan basis.

The nearly unanimous support among congressional staff and local officials for working with allies instead of seeking cooperation with China on issues is a strong indicator of the political solidity of this view on Capitol Hill, which is also reflected in bipartisan legislation such as the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act and the Pacific Deterrence Initiative that heavily emphasizes working with allies and partners.

In focus groups with leaders in business, civil society, national security, and labor/progressive economic thinkers, there was a broad consensus that these numbers reflect the tone of those groups on the importance of democratic allies and partners in Asia.