Debating China: The U.S.-China Relationship in Ten Conversations. Edited by Nina Hachigian. Oxford University Press, 2014, 272 pp. $21.95.
It has become one of the most obvious clichés in international politics: the United States and China have the most important bilateral relationship in the world. What is not so obvious is the nature of that relationship. Until recently, most observers were willing to settle for an accurate but inelegant description: that the countries are neither friends nor foes.
At first glance, this designation seems reasonable. The United States and China are clearly not allies. They share no overriding security interests or political values, and their conceptions of world order fundamentally clash. Whereas Beijing looks forward to a post-American, multipolar world, Washington is trying to preserve the liberal order it leads even as its relative power wanes. Meanwhile, numerous issues in East Asia, such as tensions over Taiwan and disputes between
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