In This Review

Rising Star: China's New Security Diplomacy
Rising Star: China's New Security Diplomacy
By Bates Gill
Brookings Institution Press, 2007, 267 pp

Most current writing on China concentrates on its economic achievements, but this study focuses on Beijing's strategic thinking. Gill is convinced that China has fundamentally changed its global and regional security diplomacy, abandoning ideology and revolution in an effort to gain acceptance as a responsible member of the international system. He takes seriously Beijing's statements that it is time to discard the Cold War mentality and build a new international system, based on mutual trust, shared benefits, and equality; he also examines in some detail Beijing's record of working with its neighbors in various security arrangements and in various United Nations peacekeeping missions. If the United States takes a sympathetic approach, Gill argues, it can win over China; after all, both countries have a strong interest in avoiding war and expanding trade. Such optimism about the possibilities for constructive U.S.-Chinese relations will prompt some to denounce Gill as a "panda hugger," but that would be grossly unfair. His analysis is based on solid research and deep knowledge of Chinese thought and behavior, and when the Chinese fail to meet his standards for constructive behavior, he does not hesitate to take them to task for it.