THE US AND CHINA share a relationship that is complex, multilayered and subject to numerous influences at any given time. For various reasons, the first decade of the 21st Century has seen many ups and downs in arguably the most critical bilateral relationship in the world. Henry Paulson’s book, Dealing with China, is a memoir of his various levels of engagement with China, especially in the era marked by hyper-capitalism, the drive for efficiency and the balancing of complex interdependencies. Paulson has the advantage of having worked with three generations of Chinese leaders including Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, and a host of notables, including Wu Yi, Wang Qishan, Zhou Xiaochuan, as well as Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang. His work is based on multiple interactions with Chinese leaders over his more than 100 visits, spanning a quarter of a century. He writes this book from the perspective of being a “businessman with first hand knowledge of China and its corporate and political leaders”.
For instance, Paulson believes that for the US, “the best way is to seek an active engagement with China and aim for a clear-eyed and constructivist cooperation in order to achieve its own national interests”.