In This Review

China: The Balance Sheet; What the World Needs to Know Now About the Emerging Superpower
China: The Balance Sheet; What the World Needs to Know Now About the Emerging Superpower
By the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the I
PublicAffairs, 2006, 256 pp

This is an excellent study of the outlook for Chinese national development and the likely future configurations of East Asian relations. The contributors have at their command the resources of two of Washington's leading think tanks, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Institute for International Economics. The result is a systematic review of both the positive and the negative features of Chinese development -- and thus an objective balance sheet of China's prospects. They anchor their study more in the realm of economics than politics, and some of their facts and figures are startling. For example, they report that "today's China has over 390 million mobile phone subscribers, 111 million Internet users, 285,000 officially registered nongovernmental organizations and some 140 million migrants on the move in search of economic opportunity." The main thrust of the analysis is that diversity has replaced the monolithic system that Mao Zedong created. There are, therefore, many Chinas -- rural and urban, wealthy and poor, educated and illiterate, international and isolated. The contributors expect that U.S. influence is likely to decline in the years ahead as Asian states become more assertive. They offer thoughtful suggestions for how Washington should deal with an emerging China. They make a convincing case that prudent U.S. policies can make the arrival of a new Asian superpower a peaceful development -- and reduce the threat of conflict.