A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia

Overview

“Sober and well-informed. . . . A careful and compelling examination of the U.S.-Chinese relationship from a number of angles.”—Financial Times
There may be no denying China's growing economic strength, but its impact on the global balance of power remains hotly contested. Political scientist Aaron L. Friedberg argues that our nation's leaders are failing to act expeditiously enough to counter China's growing strength. He explains how the United States and China define their goals and reveals the strategies each ...

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A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia

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Overview

“Sober and well-informed. . . . A careful and compelling examination of the U.S.-Chinese relationship from a number of angles.”—Financial Times
There may be no denying China's growing economic strength, but its impact on the global balance of power remains hotly contested. Political scientist Aaron L. Friedberg argues that our nation's leaders are failing to act expeditiously enough to counter China's growing strength. He explains how the United States and China define their goals and reveals the strategies each is now employing to achieve its ends. Friedberg demonstrates in this provocative book that the ultimate aim of Chinese policymakers is to "win without fighting," displacing the United States as the leading power in Asia while avoiding direct confrontation. The United States, on the other hand, sends misleading signals about our commitments and resolve, putting us at risk for a war that might otherwise have been avoided. A much-needed wake-up call to U.S. leaders and policymakers, A Contest for Supremacy is a compelling interpretation of a rivalry that will go far to determine the shape of the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

Financial Times
“His book is tough-minded and sometimes pessimistic but there is nothing hysterical about it. On the contrary, it is sober and well-informed… A Contest for Supremacy offers a careful and compelling examination of the US-Chinese relationship from a number of angles.”
Weekly Standard
“A Contest for Supremacy is a rigorous and comprehensive account of the state of U.S.-China strategic relations, and by far, the most thoughtful and serious book to date on the topic.”
Andrew J. Nathan - Foreign Affairs
“[Friedberg’s] is the most thoughtful and informative of a stream of China-threat books that have come out since the mid-1990s.”
John R. Bolton - Hong Kong Economic Journal
“Friedberg has in fact written a judicious, measured assessment of the stakes between China and the United States over the next several decades…. He accurately characterizes the ‘willful, blinkered optimism’ about the direction of Sino-American relations ‘in the academic and business communities and across significant portions of the U.S. government.'
….[Friedberg] has relentlessly exposed the intellectual and strategic weaknesses and errors of the prevailing mindset in Washington. For this, in fact, he deserves great credit.”
New York Times Book Review
“Considered, balanced, informative, and restrained.”
Foreign Affairs
“[Friedberg’s] is the most thoughtful and informative of a stream of China-threat books that have come out since the mid-1990s.”— Andrew J. Nathan
Hong Kong Economic Journal
“Friedberg has in fact written a judicious, measured assessment of the stakes between China and the United States over the next several decades…. He accurately characterizes the ‘willful, blinkered optimism’ about the direction of Sino-American relations ‘in the academic and business communities and across significant portions of the U.S. government.'

….[Friedberg] has relentlessly exposed the intellectual and strategic weaknesses and errors of the prevailing mindset in Washington. For this, in fact, he deserves great credit.”— John R. Bolton

Foreign Affairs - Andrew J. Nathan
“[Friedberg’s] is the most thoughtful and informative of a stream of China-threat books that have come out since the mid-1990s.”
Hong Kong Economic Journal - John R. Bolton
“Friedberg has in fact written a judicious, measured assessment of the stakes between China and the United States over the next several decades…. He accurately characterizes the ‘willful, blinkered optimism’ about the direction of Sino-American relations ‘in the academic and business communities and across significant portions of the U.S. government.' ….[Friedberg] has relentlessly exposed the intellectual and strategic weaknesses and errors of the prevailing mindset in Washington. For this, in fact, he deserves great credit.”
Alan Moores - Booklist
“…Friedberg’s alarm soundings have authority. China’s new wealth allows it to apply ‘soft power’ in East Asia and elsewhere, its deployment of modern technology has counteracted American influence in the region, and its economy continues to thrive even as America bogs down in two wars. Friedberg’s responses…help keep this important issue front and center.”
Booklist
…Friedberg’s alarm soundings have authority. China’s new wealth allows it to apply ‘soft power’ in East Asia and elsewhere, its deployment of modern technology has counteracted American influence in the region, and its economy continues to thrive even as America bogs down in two wars. Friedberg’s responses…help keep this important issue front and center.— Alan Moores
Kirkus Reviews

A stern, carefully worded warning about why the United States should be more wary of China's meteoric rise.

Friedberg (Politics and International Affairs/Princeton Univ.;In the Shadow of the Garrison State, 2000, etc.) is a forward thinker versed in the "fast-changing politics of post–Cold War Asia," and he sets forth his argument, amplified from an essay he wrote forCommentary,that a growing Sino-American rivalry is forthcoming and inevitable. China's economic strength in terms of opening markets has historically been encouraged by the West, and a stable, cooperative exchange of commercial interests has kept the U.S. and China on amicable footing since President Nixon and Henry Kissinger opened the diplomatic door in the early '70s. The U.S. policy over the past 60 years has passed through phases of containment, alignment and the current uneasy mix of the two, "congagement," which has been severely challenged since Tiananmen Square and China's lobbing of dummy missile warheads into the Taiwan Straight during Taiwan's first democratic presidential election of 1996. With its newfound economic muscle, China willmost likelyfollow the historic precedent of previous hegemons in the throes of intense expansion—e.g., Britain, Germany, Japan—and seek to dominate "its neighbors, its regions, and, if it can, the world." In a meticulously organized study that often repeats and summarizes its assertions in the fashion of a tutorial, Friedberg lays out the various ongoing arguments for containment or alignment, as well as what he extrapolates Chinese intentions to be—avoid confrontation, build comprehensive national power and advance incrementally. On the other hand, he writes, China isdue for a similar bubble burst recently visited on other expanding nations, and he offers numerous intriguing scenarios.

An important cry to heed: China's peaceful rise cannot disguise its aim to become "world number one."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393343892
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 598,527
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron L. Friedberg is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School and a former deputy assistant for national security affairs in the Office of the Vice President. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Preface xiii

Introduction A Contest for Supremacy 1

1 Means of Ascent 9

2 Roots of Rivalry 36

3 From Containment to Alignment 58

4 "Congagement" 88

5 "The Propensity of Things" 120

6 "Hide Our Capabilities and Bide Our Time" 142

7 "To Win without Fighting" 156

8 The Balance of Influence 182

9 The Balance of Power 215

10 Alternative Strategies 245

11 Can America Keep Its Balance? 264

Appendix Sources and Methods 285

Notes 295

Index 343

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 15, 2011

    If you are doing business in China - a great read

    Helps with a better sense of underlying feelings of key business and political/military (often the same) players in the Asian markets. Great to have the history behind their point-of-view.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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