Congress and China Policy: Past Episodic, Recent Enduring Influence supports findings that bipartisan majorities in Congress have been instrumental in driving the fundamental shift in American policy toward China carried out during the past six years. Filling major gaps in the inadequate treatment of Congress in assessments of US policy toward China, this book compares recent Congressional influence with the episodes of Congressional activism in China policy over the past 200 years, showing Congress recently has been more important than ever. The findings also show that partisan politics, Congressional-executive competition for policy control, swings in public and media opinion, and influences by special interests—longstanding drivers of past Congressional involvement in China policy—have been of secondary or lesser importance as the Congressional members have grappled with the acute dangers posed by Chinese economic, security and governance challenges. Steady and determined efforts by this cohort of bipartisan Congressional majorities to defend America from Chinese challenges have proven more resolute than the erratic practices of President Trump and previously dismissive Joseph Biden who came late to a tougher policy. This volume forecasts that US policy will remain heavily influenced by these members as they serve out their terms in the years ahead.
Robert G. Sutter is professor of international affairs in the Elliott School of International Affairs (ESIA) at George Washington University.
Chapter 1. Congressional Activism in China Policy Before the Nixon-Mao Opening
Chapter 2. Congress and the Nixon-Mao Opening and Rapprochement
Chapter 3. Congress Resists as Carter Advances Engagement
Chapter 4. Congress and Reagan Administration China Policy
Chapter 5. Congress and China Policy with George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton
Chapter 6. Congress and China Policy with George W. Bush and Barack Obama
Chapter 7. Congress and America’s Negative Turn against China, 2017-2023
Conclusion: The Importance of Congress in China Policy
Robert G. Sutter brings to this impressive study a half-century of first-hand experience as a respected scholar of US-China relations and a former Congressional staff member and US government official. He has written the definitive study of this highly important, but neglected, aspect of the Sino-American relationship. It should be read by every member of Congress, their staff, and all those who seek to understand the dynamics of US policies towards China.
No one is in a better position than Robert G. Sutter to write about the evolving role of the US Congress in America’s China policy since the beginning of engagement with China in the 1970s. This authoritative book draws from Sutter’s personal experiences as a research staff in Congress and his thorough research as a scholar. Anyone interested in the US-China relation, US foreign policy, Chinese foreign policy, and great power dynamics cannot afford to miss this unique and fascinating book.
Robert G. Sutter, a former National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and the Pacific, presents a clear-eyed, dispassionate view of U.S. China policy since the Nixon-Mao era. This book argues that congress has never been more important in policymaking than in the past five-plus years of America’s hardening against Chinese challenges and predicts that its influence will endure for the foreseeable future.