U.S. News and World Report says Huntsman spoke reently of the challenges and opportunities that the United States will face dealing with China in the near future.
He noted, while there's always a great deal of talk during a presidential campaign about what candidates will "do to China," that talk inevitably shifts post-November to what they will "do with China."
In the longer run, Huntsman warned there is a real danger of a conflict between the United States and China in the coming decades. He warned of what he called the "Peloponnesian complex," referring to the Peloponnesian wars between Athens and Sparta during the fifth century B.C. in response to the rise of Athens. Since 1500 AD, Huntsman said, there have been 15 major global conflicts and 11 of them have stemmed from a rising power bumping up against the existing power in the world. In the coming decades, he said, "You'll have a rising power [in China], it's just inevitable…and we'll bump up against them. ... And we're going to have to make sure that history doesn't repeat itself going all the way back toward Athens and Sparta where there was a 25 or 30 year conflict that wiped out both civilizations." He said that that will require "some very diligent and sensitive management" and that "we're going to have to realize that the trends toward more conflict and more tension when you have a rising power bumping up against an existing power can be very real. And we have to look carefully at what history suggested" the powers do "in those circumstances."