In This Review

China as a Polar Great Power
China as a Polar Great Power
By Anne-Marie Brady
290 pp, Cambridge University Press, 2017

In this study of China’s efforts to become the only nation other than the United States capable of operating comprehensively in both the Arctic and Antarctica, Brady opens up a new frontier of insight into an area of international relations all but ignored by Western scholarship. She draws on a wide range of Chinese sources to offer eye-opening revelations about China’s burgeoning polar activities. Beijing regards the polar regions as vital domains for fishing and shipping and hopes to exploit their rich reserves of energy and minerals. It also plans to use its activities there to grow China’s global influence, something that Washington has encouraged by largely ignoring the issue. Beijing talks little about its polar activities and is deliberately ambiguous when it does, meaning that these moves have drawn little notice outside specialized professional communities. Yet as a component of an ambitious grand strategy laid out by President Xi Jinping, China’s development as a polar great power will shape how the changing global order is governed. Brady’s book provides the best place to start for understanding the genesis, motivations, and dynamics of China’s exploits in the ice.