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Best International Relations Books of 2013


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China Goes Global: The Partial Power

In This Review

China Goes Global: The Partial Power
By David Shambaugh
Oxford University Press, USA, 2013
432 pp. $29.95

Shambaugh’s masterful survey of China’s presence on the world scene shows that in every field -- diplomatic, economic, military, and cultural -- Beijing’s influence, although growing, remains limited. China has global economic interests without dominating any market; it has a large military without being able to project force very far beyond its borders; its sizable propaganda apparatus promotes cultural products and ideological values that few admire. Traveling in Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere, Shambaugh encounters officials who see Beijing as self-interested, risk averse, and reactive. China has engaged grudgingly with institutions of global governance, neither challenging them nor contributing to them in significant ways. At home, intellectuals are divided over what posture the country should take, and numerous poorly coordinated agencies pursue narrow policies that win China few friends abroad. Shambaugh dubs China a “lonely” and “partial” power that is “not ready for global leadership.” He concludes that the West can afford to stay the course in its decades-long strategy of integrating China into the international system.

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