Lampton has written a thoughtful, vividly detailed analysis of post-1989 relations between America and China that does not belittle the problems separating the two countries. In particular, he spells out the differing perspectives and basic orientations that make for misunderstandings. Most insightful is his investigation of how the myths and ideals of the two societies complicate the relationship. He introduces a strong human dimension with his in-depth profiles of the principal actors, while seven guidelines for the policymakers of both countries conclude the book.
The Johnson-Ross edited volume, in contrast, is premised on the proposition that any emerging great power is likely to cause trouble in world politics, and that China is one such power. Asia will therefore have to figure out how best to engage Beijing. In the introductory essay, Randall Schweller provides a sophisticated review of the history of the problems posed by emerging new powers. Separate authors then examine the ways in which the Koreas, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, the United States, and major international institutions have each separately sought to engage China. The editors conclude the study by analyzing the differences in these various approaches, searching for the best ways to manage relations with China. Although the authors acknowledge that Chinese domestic developments will be a large factor, they generally imply that the chance of a peaceful emergence of China depends on the wisdom and skills of the United States and of China's neighbors.