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How Was Value-Based Foreign Policy Exchanged For a Trade-Based Foreign Policy

U.S.-China relations have fundamentally changed since Nixon reached out to China in the ‘70s. At the time, the U.S. wanted to use China to counter the Soviet Union’s threat. The Carter administration based its foreign policy on human rights. Reagan based his on anti-communism. Despite differences, their ideologies were still based on Democratic principles.

This changed during the Clinton administration. Clinton helped China join the World Trade Organization. Value-based foreign policy was exchanged for a trade-based foreign policy. Many hoped this would help China move towards democracy. It could also help the U.S. economically by selling U.S.-made goods to China.

A couple decades later, it’s U.S. jobs, not goods, that were shipped to China. Now China’s the 2nd largest economy in the world. Yet it’s still an authoritarian regime. Meanwhile, its economic power enables it to influence the U.S. in various ways. Its investment and purchase of American businesses and infiltration in media and government has caused America to compromise its fundamental values.