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Chinese President Xi Jinping with U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Nov. 9, 2017. Photo: Xinhua / Lan Hongguang via Getty Images

If translated into sustained action, the Trump administration's National Security Strategy will mark a departure from decades of U.S. policy, reframing China as a great power competitor that challenges American military, diplomatic and economic interests.

Every president since Nixon has presupposed that American engagement would transform China before it could upend the global order. Trump's NSS jettisons this assumption, rightly recognizing that China has gamed international institutions, failed to liberalize its political system, pursued a mercantilist economic policy and undertaken a military build-up directly aimed at undermining U.S. military advantage.

To succeed, a more competitive U.S. strategy must upgrade American military capabilities, deepen relations with Asia-Pacific allies and partners, advance a positive regional economic agenda, push back against China's unfair trade and investment practices, and defend core values of democracy and human rights.

What's next: The NSS pays lip service to these elements, but leveraging them all may prove challenging given Trump's focus on military strength. To get tough on Beijing, the administration will have to take economic actions that threaten the larger bilateral relationship. Watch out for moves to punish China for its theft of U.S. intellectual property.

Daniel Kliman is a senior fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

Go deeper

42 mins ago - Health

First known U.S. case of the Omicron variant identified in California

PhotoL Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.

Supreme Court appears likely to roll back abortion rights

Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed likely to weaken abortion rights and perhaps to let states ban the procedure altogether.

The intrigue: The court seemed likely to throw out the framework established in Roe v. Wade, but it wasn't clear whether a majority of the justices were inclined to overturn the court's precedents entirely.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

How to meme a painting

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

How can a physical artwork become an NFT? One new company has just spent $12.9 million on a Banksy in an attempt to try out a new way of converting the real into the virtual.

Why it matters: The art market globally sees volume of about $60 billion per year, almost all of which is trade in physical objects. Art-world insiders including former Christie's c0-chair Loïc Gouzer are on the lookout for ways to monetize physical paintings without necessarily giving up physical ownership of them.

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