Conclusion and Recommendations1
The previous U.S. Department of Defense restrictions on military-tomilitary relations with China stirred a debate about the proper role of those relations in overall U.S.-China relations and the wisdom of certain types of military-to-military activities. Under the restrictions, all official military-to-military activities, even U.S. military officers attending events hosted by third parties in which the PLA would be present, were approved by OSD on a case-by-case basis. The restrictions on military-to-military activities with the PLA were viewed as draconian by many, but in one sense they were valuable, reflecting the sensible approach of establishing a foundation for a policy before that policy was enacted.
As argued in previous chapters, not only is there value in conducting some military-to-military activities with the PLA, but not doing so may actually increase chances of miscalculation and misperception that could lead to conflict. To illustrate with an extreme example, cutting off all military-to-military ties with the PLA would send a signal to the Chinese leadership that, at a minimum, the United____________________