This study dispels the common view that the Trump administration has fundamentally reoriented the United States’ China policy by emphasizing strategic competition. Instead, the study argues that the Obama administration’s pivot initiative began the shift of the United States’ China policy from a defensive realist posture toward an offensive realist posture. The Biden administration’s China policy inherits the strategic competition approach. This study suggests that the competitive logic of the anarchic international system underlies all three administrations’ competition-oriented China policies. Therefore, while there are differences in the China policies of the three administrations, their commonalities and continuities are salient. Structural realism, especially offensive realism and dynamic neorealism, thus offers important insights into the future direction of Sino-US relations.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.