How to avoid foreign policy disaster in a changing world

A mixture of decision-making models that relies on 'chosen ones', bureaucrats, small group experts and collaboration can help countries navigate a world of intense superpower rivalry

US President Donald Trump (above, right) meeting China's Vice-Premier Liu He in the Oval Office last month. With the US and China at odds, South-east Asia must adopt new approaches to foreign policy in order to manage its relations with both sides.
US President Donald Trump (above, right) meeting China's Vice-Premier Liu He in the Oval Office last month. With the US and China at odds, South-east Asia must adopt new approaches to foreign policy in order to manage its relations with both sides.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The escalating and unprecedented superpower rivalry between the United States and China is putting pressure on countries seeking to manage relations with both sides.

Governments around the world need to make difficult choices that expand beyond the traditional security domain to areas such as trade and technology. They have to get used to dealing with China, a state with a vastly different political structure and history from the US which is still evolving its way of engaging the world.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2019, with the headline 'How to avoid foreign policy disaster in a changing world'. Print Edition | Subscribe