Rising to the Challenge: China's Grand Strategy and International Security

Rising to the Challenge: China's Grand Strategy and International Security

Rising to the Challenge: China's Grand Strategy and International Security

Rising to the Challenge: China's Grand Strategy and International Security

Synopsis

China's increasing economic and military capabilities have attracted much attention in recent years. How should the world, especially the United States, respond to this emerging great power? A sensible response requires not only figuring out the speed and extent of China's rise, but also answering a question that has received much less attention: What is China's grand strategy?

This book describes and explains the grand strategy China's leaders have adopted to pursue their country's interests in the international system of the 21st century. The author argues that their strategy is designed to foster favorable conditions for continuing China's modernization while also reducing the risk that others will decide a rising China is a threat that must be countered. Why did China's leaders settle on this grand strategy and what are its key elements? What alternatives were available? Is the current approach yielding the results China anticipated? What does this grand strategy imply for international peace and security in the coming years- and, most critically, what are the prospects for an increasingly prominent China and a dominant United States to rise to the challenge of managing their inevitable disagreements?

Excerpt

At the start of the twenty-first century, China and the United States teetered on the brink of a new Cold War. In early 2001 such an outcome seemed nearly inevitable as the two countries found themselves locked in a bitter dispute about the collision of an American reconnaissance aircraft and a Chinese fighter jet that left the Chinese pilot dead and the U.S. crew in Chinese custody. Within weeks, however, the incident that had touched raw nerves on both sides was defused, and within months Sino-American relations showed clear signs of recovery. U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick visited China and signaled continued American support for China's accession to the World Trade Organization. Secretary of State Colin Powell soon followed to lay the groundwork for a state visit by President Bush that was scheduled for October 2001, coinciding with his participation in the APEC meetings to be held in Shanghai. Although the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, led President Bush to modify his plans so that he met China's leaders only briefly during a short stay at the APEC session, the initiation of the war on terrorism also accelerated the trend toward improving Sino-American relations that had been evident since the early summer.

Yet even as the rhetoric of cooperation replaced that of conflict, both sides in this bilateral relationship clearly remained wary. Unlike the dramatic transformation in an initially cool Russo-American relationship that was begun by meetings between U.S. president Bush and Russia's president Putin during 2001, the tangible changes in Sino-American relations during 2001 were modest, tentative, and provisional. Potentially dangerous disagreements remained unresolved, and mutual suspicion about future capabilities and intentions endured. In short, the prospect of a renewed chill in relations hovered not very far in the background. Though it no longer seemed inevitable, a Sino-American Cold War remained possible.

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