In “A U.S.-China Grand Bargain?” Charles Glaser identifies a mismatch between Chinese security goals and the status quo in Asia.1 Concerned that the probability of war will increase with divergence between the distribution of power and benefits under the existing regional order, Glaser proposes accommodating China in areas “that do not compromise vital U.S. interests” (p. 50). He recommends a “grand bargain” wherein the United States abandons Taiwan in exchange for China's peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas and acceptance of an enduring U.S. military presence in East Asia.

Glaser's motivation—to avoid U.S.-China conflict—is laudable, and his article is a detailed assault on policy orthodoxy. Yet, it is essentially a policy recommendation framed as a desirability study, which ultimately does not demonstrate desirability or feasibility. Below...

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