New Assessment of U.S.-China Relations

By Atkeson, Edward B. | Army, September 2007 | Go to article overview

New Assessment of U.S.-China Relations


Atkeson, Edward B., Army


New Assessment Of U.S.-China Relations

Rising Star: China's New Security Diplomacy. Bates Gill. Brookings Institution Press. 267 pages; index; $28.95.

Bates Gill opens his book Rising Star: China's Neiv Security Diplomacy with two thematic points: China is pursuing regional and global security matters that are far more consistent with broad international norms and practice than in the past; and China may eclipse Japan as the predominant Asian power in the western Pacific. Further, he maintains that China has set out three recognizable goals: it seeks to maintain a stable international environment; its security diplomacy is designed to augment its wealth and influence; and it seeks to circumvent American influence around its periphery while avoiding overt confrontation.

Gill implies that the attitude of the Chinese government toward Taiwan is somewhat like that of a parent towards a troublesome offspring: In due time Taiwan will return to mainland control, but it is not necessary to press the matter for settlement-unless someone makes an issue of it.

Beijing recognizes and worries about the prominence of the United States in world security affairs. It understands, however, that the world is undergoing remarkable changes. It is aware that international alliances are changing-not only those of the United States, but those of Asian nations as well. Further- more, the Chinese leadership understands the global drift toward proliferation of nuclear weapons, as it does the norms of national sovereignty and foreign intervention, such as in the case of Iraq today.

Rising Star is organized into seven chapters, the first two of which deal with security diplomacy and regional security mechanisms. Gill points to the Chinese exercise of skillful diplomatic preemption, such as being the first to have their head of state send a message of sympathy to the U.S. President in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The surprise in Washington, D.C. - because of the call from Beijing - was sufficient to prompt an unusually comprehensive American reassessment of Sino-American policy. Unfortunately, in Gill's view, the action in Washington was insufficient, considering the opportunities that were opened. …

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