Nathan (political science, Columbia Univ.) and Ross (political science, Boston Coll.) aim here to define China's strategic motives in its foreign policy. They assert that China's foreign relations are based on realist principles and that U.S. misperceptions of Chinese behavior stem from ignorance about China's security concerns. The authors first deal with China's historic relations with specific countries and blocs, including Russia, the United States, and Japan. They then tackle such issues as military power, economics, territorial integrity (vis--vis Taiwan and Hong Kong), and China's security and the world order. The chapter on territorial integrity focuses mostly on Taiwan and, as a result, the following chapter on the foreign policy of Taiwan is redundant. Nevertheless, this insightful book provides a concise analysis of Chinese foreign policy. As such, it is recommended for all collections.Peggy Spitzer Christoff, Oak Park, Ill.
A cool appraisal of China's place in the world, which discounts the more fevered expectations of Chinese aggression.
Nathan (Political Science/Columbia Univ.) and Ross (Political Science/Boston Coll.), while noting that China can be very aggressive (it has engaged in conflicts with the US, Russia, Japan, India, Vietnam, South Korea, and Taiwan in this century), believe that it is vulnerable and aware of its vulnerability. Its weaknesses are both military"by far the weakest of the four great powers in Asia"and economic, with an economic strategy "that will succeed only through intensified integration into the world economy." China has, in effect, found itself having to catch a ride on the Asian tigers, with all the usual dangers attached to such transportation. Prior to the Nixon visit to Beijing in 1972, Chinese policymakers reckoned that the economy had to grow 6 to 10 percent a year to improve living standards enough to prevent economic and social breakdown. This has meant that China, potentially one of the most self-sufficient countries in the world, has become increasingly dependent not just on world trade but on the attitude of institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. This has led to immense improvements in the nation's living standards but has come at the cost of opening up the country to the very kinds of social and cultural forces that topple repressive regimes. Despite the substantial differences between the US and Chinathe trade deficit, human rights, TaiwanNathan and Ross conclude that the fundamental interests of the two countries "pull them together more than they drive them apart."
A thoughtful, dispassionate, and persuasive look at a great power during a time of great challenge and change.
The rise of China is the most important international trend of our time, and this superb book is the best guide to it that I've seen. Broad, deep, and wise, it is simply an indispensable introduction to all aspects of China's ongoing encounter with the world at large. Any politician or pundit who wants to say anything at all about this subject should have to pass a test on Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell's tour de force before doing so.
For the scholar, student, and general reader, China's Search for Security is a source of value. Nathan and Scobell successfully view the world through Chinese eyes and provide just the right mix of interpretation and narrative. Nuggets of insight glitter on every page.
Nathan and Scobell are extremely well qualified to assess China's foreign policy. As their book makes clear, understanding that policy is essential to the consideration of virtually every issue of international concern. I strongly recommend
China's Search for Security to all those with an interest in global public policy.
Even though China's foreign policy has become more practical and confident, China's rise has generated regional and international anxiety. Nathan and Scobell probe the mix of forces reshaping Chinese strategic deliberations, providing the deepest insight yet into how Chinese decision-makers perceive their geostrategic predicaments and security challenges.
[Nathan & Scobell] skillfully and fairly explore this complex and contradictory American-Chinese competition without themselves being complex or contradictory.
New York Review of Books - Jonathan Mirsky
China's Search for Security is a good introductory text for students and policymakers without expertise in the area. It highlights and summarizes most of the critical issues associated with Chinese security policy
Comprehensive, persuasive, and empathetic,
China's Search for Security offers a fresh look.
e-International Relations - Kendrick Kuo
This is a superb book, richly detailed, and will be required reading for anyone wishing to understand how China views its own situation.
Journal of Asian Studies - David C. Kang