The mission of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations is to advance U.S.-China relations in ways that reflect the ethos, spirit and values of President George H. W. Bush. While in the Oval Office and throughout his long post-presidency, President Bush regarded China as a vital partner of the United States and the U.S.-China relationship as the single most important bilateral relationship in the world. President Bush advocated an approach to China that was clear-eyed and focused on long-term U.S. interests rather than the political winds of the moment. He sought a relationship with China that was functional, substantive, results-oriented, mutually beneficial and politically sustainable. Though President Bush loved the Chinese people, he didn’t shy away from calling out, sometimes in blunt terms, Chinese policies and actions that he felt were misguided or inimical to the interests of the United States.
The Bush China Foundation was founded in May 2017 with the blessing and support of President George H. W. Bush; it began full operations on September 1, 2019. The Foundation’s work is guided by President Bush’s vision. We believe that virtually no major global challenge today can be resolved in any enduring sense in the absence of effective communication and cooperation between the United States and China. We emphatically reject the notion that China is the enemy of the United States, even as we view China as the most formidable overall national competitor the United States will face in the lifetime of every American alive today. Like President Bush, Foundation staff members have for many years expressed disagreement with, and leveled direct public criticism of, Chinese policies and actions on issues ranging from China’s approach to Taiwan and Hong Kong, to China’s human rights record and its handling of the Tiananmen protests in 1989, to China’s trade and investment practices and, most recently, China’s early response to COVID-19, among others.
Over the years, numerous former U.S. secretaries of state and national security advisors from both sides of the partisan aisle, along with multiple former members of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and other notable Cabinet-level observers, have lauded the thought leadership of individuals who are now members of the Bush China Foundation staff team.
Though the terms of the U.S. debate on China have shifted dramatically over the last several years, the Bush China Foundation remains committed to its positioning in the “sensible center” of U.S.-China discourse and faithful to the vision of its namesake.
David J. Firestein, President & CEO