The Perils of Proximity: China-Japan Security Relations

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The Perils of Proximity: China-japan Security Relations
By Richard C. Bush
Brookings Institution Press, 2010
421 pp. $32.95
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The scholar-diplomat Bush argues cogently that China will "widen its Eastern strategic buffer" -- in the East China Sea and on the islands (Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands) located therein. In doing so, it will alter the status quo and increase the likelihood of a clash between the Chinese military and the Japanese forces already there. Through a close analysis of the institutions that govern each nation's military, he documents an even larger problem: that neither country is well equipped to deal with the consequences. He expects sclerotic collective leadership and multiple debilities in the countries' respective political and military systems to conspire with the security dilemma to turn clash into crisis. Along the way, Bush identifies dangers that have largely escaped notice, such as the capabilities of China's "independent cyber militias," which exist beyond state policy, and the uncoordinated command-and-control systems and "dysfunctional intelligence communities" in both countries. His sobering, but not unduly inflated, analysis ends by mapping Washington's frustrations with both countries. Scholars will find leads for further research, analysts will find insights into the moving parts of East Asia's security community, and policymakers will find evenhanded guidance for how to manage the revival of China as a great power.