Combating a Collective Threat: Prospects for Sino-American Cooperation Against Avian Influenza

Andrew Erickson

This essay seeks to increase awareness among Western scholars, analysts, and policy makers concerning both the potential danger posed by an outbreak of avian influenza, and Sino-American efforts thus far to militate against such a contingency. Given the importance of cooperation between countries in combating a pandemic, the essay also explores the challenges and opportunities inherent in Sino-American cooperation to combat avian influenza. This may be a particularly productive area of cooperation for the U.S. and Chinese militaries, which possess significant resources and expertise, yet have historically had difficulty cooperating because of differences in political systems and national interests. The global threat of avian influenza may be one area in which Sino-American collective security interests are so great as to outweigh these competing concerns.