The Trump administration effectively pushed China enough that the question in Congress is no longer whether to push, but just how hard, according to a pair of think tank experts.
"Under Donald Trump, the beltway's view of China shifted from one of relative complacency to one verging on alarmism," Quincy Institute's East Asia program director Michael Swaine and Advocacy Director Marcus Stanley co-wrote for Business Insider on Sunday, promoting a gentler approach to China as proposed in the House versus the Senate.
"The bipartisan consensus on the need for a significant response to the rise of Chinese power has now driven major new China legislation in both the Senate and House. While both bills are forceful responses to China's increasing power, they present critical choices as to how extreme the turn in America's China policy will be."
They claim the Senate's Strategic Competition Act or SCA recently passed "contains changes in policy that would significantly increase the chances of a conflict with Beijing," particularly as it relates to supporting Taiwan's sovereignty from China.
The bill calls for "unprecedented" joint U.S. military exercises with Taiwan, "which would directly escalate tensions in the Taiwan strait," they wrote.
The Quincy experts were far more supportive of a softer approach to China in the EAGLE Act (H.R.3524).
"Predictably the common sense balance struck in the EAGLE Act has already led some to attack it as being 'soft,'" they wrote.
"The United States is at an inflection point regarding our relationship with China. There is widespread consensus that significant changes are needed. But those changes can happen in extreme ways that will endanger our Pacific allies and regional peace and development by triggering a cycle of escalation with China, or they can occur in a way that signals that the US is willing to pursue a moderate course if China does.
"While it is being conducted behind closed doors and has received little public attention, the current conflict between House and Senate over how far to go in our Taiwan policies is one of the key places this choice will be made."
The Quincy Institute is a Washington, D.C., think tank established in 2019 between contributions by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and the Charles Koch Institute and is named after America's sixth president John Quincy Adams, who famously said the U.S. "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy," Stars and Stripes reported.
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