This is an extremely useful collection of articles by leading China scholars. Some, such as Thomas Christensen's "Chinese Realpolitik" and Richard Bernstein and Ross Munro's "The Coming Conflict with America," attracted considerable attention when first published. Others, by such distinguished figures as Harry Harding, Alastair Ian Johnston, and Joseph Nye, provide different perspectives on various aspects of China's foreign relations, including bilateral relations, the Korean problem, and the movement toward an Asian community. The authors mostly agree that, contrary to European experiences with the rise of new powers, China can execute a "peaceful rise" to great-power status-in large part because globalization forces developing countries competing for foreign investment to maintain peaceful, stable markets. The one serious danger of war, of course, comes from China's confrontation with Taiwan. (And it is a danger for which no one has a good solution: calls to maintain the status quo are not very useful because both entities are far too dynamic to be frozen in such a static mode.) Ultimately, identifying guiding principles behind Chinese foreign policy proves rather elusive: China has abandoned both its traditional view of the outside world and its revolutionary Marxist-Leninist ideology, and there is still no clear sign of what will come next.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.