Putting Obama’s China Trip in historical context

There has been no shortage of news coverage on President Obama’s recent trip to China. Journalists, bloggers and pundits have been eager to comment on the significance (or lack thereof) of this first trip. So what does this trip mean for US-China relations? Before we can answer that question, we have to look at the trip within the context of history. The second edition of the World Savvy Monitor, published in June 2008, provides a useful analysis of China’s pre-Obama relationship with the US, including insights into the many opposing viewpoints on this relationship from “Those Who Believe China’s Rise Is a Result of US Weakness” to “Those That Believe China’s Rise Can Be Managed by the United States”.

When discussing Obama’s recent trip to China with students and US policy towards the world’s most populous nation, check out the Choices Program curriculum unit: China on the World Stage: Weighing the U.S. Response. This resource provides background information to familiarize students with changes in China over the last few decades, as well as the history of the U.S. – China relationship, and then asks students to analyze options for what they believe U.S. policy toward China should be.

For more lesson plans and resource, check out the Classroom Companion to the China edition of the Monitor.

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