Having achieved little and lost much in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House and Pentagon in 2012 are turning their focus to the Asia-Pacific region. Top U.S. leaders seem to believe that the world’s oldest major democracy must confront the world’s oldest civilization and most populous country. Washington orphans engagement and upgrades containment. A tough line toward China may buttress President Barack Obama’s prospects in this November elections, but could also jeopardize long-term U.S. and world security. Washington risks becoming trapped in a self-fulfilling policy. Expecting and preparing for a confrontation with China, U.S. policies may push China to the very behaviors Washington would like to prevent, and toward a collision that no sane person could welcome.