America has two choices: we can pursue conflict, or we can pursue collaboration with China. A collaborative framework of engagement toward China would not have to be conciliatory or require that the United States turn a blind eye toward China’s many failings; rather, it would seek out common ground on economic and foreign policy matters. Collaboration would force America to identify where both countries have shared interests, then make an even deeper commitment to bilaterally binding trade, environment, and military agreements. But for this to happen, America will need to avoid blaming China for structural problems that have taken decades to take root. China is not the reason Middle America is struggling; the inability of American society to recognize and proactively address how global changes would impact this part of the country are. A chronic lack of vision by our political leaders, an unwillingness to sacrifice rigid political orthodoxy at the altar of pragmatic policies and to take political risks deliberately designed to attempt new ways to help average Americans pivot to this new world, and exceptionally poor decisions on where to spend limited human and financial capital are all why Middle America is struggling.