The United States is entering a new phase in the era of great power competition with the People’s Republic of China. The stakes remain high as the Biden administration has taken the reins from the outgoing Trump administration. Some speculate that the prospect of war between Washington and Beijing is “frighteningly real” at any moment. Beijing may lunge for geopolitical gain in Taiwan while ultranationalists within the Chinese Communist Party seek a more aggressive and pointed foreign policy. Despite the previous National Security Strategy’s prioritization of China, it is unknown what role China will play in the next national strategy currently under draft. China looms large so it is critical to fully appreciate what assumptions guide that new document's strategic formulation, especially if it is premised on conventional wisdom. In that case, those assumptions may need to be reevaluated.