The U.S.-China relationship is still full of challenges. We are two large, complex nations with profoundly different histories, political systems, and outlooks, whose economies and futures have become deeply entwined. This isn't a relationship that fits neatly into categories like friend or rival, and it may never. We are sailing in uncharted waters. Staying on course and avoiding the shoals and whirlpools requires both a true compass and the flexibility to make frequent course corrections, including sometimes painful trade-offs. If we push too hard on one front, we may jeopardize another. By the same token, if we are too quick to compromise or accommodate, we may invite aggression. With all these elements to consider, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that, across the divide, our counterparts have their own pressures and imperatives.