The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China's Search for Security

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The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China's Search for Security

By Andrew J. Nathan and Robert S. Ross
W. W. Norton, 1997
288 pp. $29.95

This volume argues that in its ability to project power, China remains by far the weakest of the four great powers in Asia. Also, the PRC's security remains hostage to the behavior of potential adversaries and unreliable neighbors, such as the two Koreas and Vietnam. These considerations give China a strong stake in maintaining regional stability and developing cooperative relations with its great power rivals. The book concludes with three recommendations. First, America needs to maintain current deployments in Asia in order to prevent destabilizing changes in the regional balance of power. Second, China's integration into the international order requires an effective management of conflicts of interest. Third, China should be brought into a variety of multilateral institutions. Its final words are worth repeating: Western policymakers can accommodate China when they should, persuade China when they can, and resist China when they must. The book should be widely used in courses on international relations, American foreign policy, and Asian security.

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