Deterrence Theory and Chinese Behavior

By Abram N. Shulsky | Go to book overview

SUMMARY

Managing the rise of China constitutes one of the most important challenges facing the United States in the early 21st century.

—Swaine and Tellis (2000), p. 1.1

China's reforms since 1978 have given rise to unprecedented economic growth; if this course of development is sustained, China will be able to turn its great potential power, derived from its huge population, large territory, and significant natural resources, into actual power. The result could be, in the very long term, the rise of China as a rival to the United States as the world's predominant power.2 However, long before that point is reached, if it ever is, China could become a significant rival in the East Asian region, one that might attempt to reduce and, ultimately, to expel U.S. forces and influence from that region.

In this context, the issue for U.S. policy is how to handle a rising power, a problem that predominant powers have faced many times throughout history. The current U.S. policy of engagement seeks to change the nature of, and, hence, the goals and objectives sought by, the Chinese regime: It seeks to make the Chinese regime more

____________________
1
See this work for a discussion of the factors that will affect China's grand strategy as it seeks to develop its “comprehensive national power.”
2
Thompson (1988) discusses in detail the phenomenon of the rise and fall of predominant powers and the possibility that large-scale war will accompany the process.

-vii-

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Deterrence Theory and Chinese Behavior
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Summary vii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - The Role of Deterrence in U.S. China Policy 3
  • Chapter Three - The Historical Record 7
  • Chapter Four - Deterrence in the Context of Sino-U.S. Relations 17
  • Chapter Five - Deterrence and Its Discontents 23
  • Chapter Six - Deterring China in the Future 35
  • Appendix - Chinese “Deterrence” Attempts: Failures and Successes 55
  • Bibliography 81
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