It is republished here via Creative Commons license. Robert S.
Ithaca Cornell University Press, Strategic Adjustment and the Rise of China: Power and Politics in East Asia is a welcome addition to the scholarly literature on how the ascendency of China has been shaping the regional security order in East Asia. Edited by Robert S. The temporal framing of the volume is contemporary and engaging; most of the developments covered are since the financial crisis.
The chapters center on China, in particular, its relations with the United States, its northeast Asian neighbors, and countries along the South China Sea. While the book describes the multiple sources of authority informing inter-state relations, the authors acknowledge the underlying influence of domestic politics. This is a timely volume; the rise of China is a result of thirty-five years of economic and military modernization.
Although China has yet to catch up to the United States economically and militarily, as the editors note in the introduction, modernization since the reform era has resulted in "greater economic activism and greater defense of its sovereignty claims and resistance to adverse regional security trends" p. Although China's growing economic and strategic abilities are by now widely accepted as fact, Strategic Adjustment and the Rise of China presents systematic analyses outlining the careful deliberations and foreign policy calibrations in inter-state relations in East Asia; put differently, although inter-state rivalry in East Asia has periodically escalated in the last decade, the chapters in this volume also indicate how the same states have showed restraint, frequently opting for a measured expression of power.
The nine chapters in addition to an introduction and conclusion --over three parts--are well integrated. The first four chapters--which make up the first part--describe themes that recur throughout the volume: the centrality of domestic politics in foreign policy, the principle of hedging in inter-state relations, the role of China's economy, and the interplay between a China driven by economic concerns and a China motivated by strategic considerations.
Given how these themes run throughout the volume, I devote more space to discussing these first chapters, followed by a briefer discussion of later chapters. Instead of a chapter-by-chapter critique, I conclude with observations on the volume as a whole. The first chapter, on domestic politics and nationalism in East Asian security by Randall L.
Schweller, begins with the assumption that domestic politics play a significant role in shaping foreign policy, and, as an extension, contour East Asian dynamics. With respect to China, nationalism creates an assertive foreign policy; mobilization of public support has allowed for military buildups. Hence, the struggle among nations is in no small part a consequence of nationalism. This nationalism, as Schweller notes, allows for the embellishment of "state power" and the formation of "public opinion" toward the end of an assertive foreign policy p.
The result is a China that is being viewed with caution from neighboring India and Japan and where the discussion of a "quiet rise" has been replaced by an increasingly assertive state. According to Schweller, the end result is likely to be a "cold peace" of simmering conflict p. Hedging reconciles "conciliation and confrontation" in order for a state to be positioned for a range of future outcomes p. Besides China, the United States, too, hedged in its engagement with East Asia, and in particular, in its relations with China.
Hedging strategies change with time, but with the dawning of China-US bipolarity, the practice of hedging strategies is called into question. The United States has found itself taking sides in East Asian disputes, just as China has been assertive in maritime disputes; one consequence of change is that regional states have been increasingly forced to choose sides. China's rise was enabled by economic growth.
Consider, for example, how in , the World Bank declared China to be the largest economy in the world. Foreign exchange reserves trillion dollars in had increased to 3. Hence, as China was becoming more self-assured in its regional engagement, it was simultaneously in a position to be more assertive economically, and that too at a time when the United States and Europe were in the midst of the financial crisis. One consequence of China's economic stability, as Daniel W. As Drezner notes, between and Chinese loans to developing countries and companies exceeded that of the World Bank.
China's tacit assumption of economic leadership that had begun with the Asian financial crisis caped a decade in which Asian states were increasingly disenchanted with the so-called Washington consensus.
Pye went on to serve as president of the American Political Science Association from to When we think about this region, we often think about gold, oil, or other mining industries. Surely there are conflict interests in the bilateral relationship, but it is hard to imagine that the two powers would go to war for a solution. Pye it was amazing 5. Dr John Edwards Senior Fellow. The interdisciplinary research represented in this volume includes nine authoritative papers.
The discrediting of the Washington consensus in favor of an alleged China model was predicated on state control of key strategic sectors in the latter. Nevertheless, despite China's economic ascendency, it has remained restricted by global trade regulations and hemmed in by international pressure on the renminbi; in addition, despite new mechanisms, such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the various new Silk Road investment bodies, China has stopped short of claiming global economic leadership.
According to Drezner, the Chinese have been reluctant to proselytize their own model of economic governance in part because of an unwillingness to assume global economic leadership, and in part, because Beijing's alternative economic policy does not present as a uniform consensus. In the next chapter, Wang Dong describes the interplay between an "Economic Asia" led by China and a "Security Asia" in which the United States plays a vital role in assuring security in the region.
Wang argues that instead of trying to push the United States out of the region, China has pursued a hedging strategy to create a favorable environment for freedom of action beneficial to itself. For China, hedging has served as a de facto insurance strategy.
Like other contributors in this volume, Wang sees China as not seeking to disrupt the status quo. In addition, the United States retains deep economic leverage in the region. According to Wang, as China rises, it need not be on a collision course with the United States. The region is drawing growing attention as a showcase of diversity, in terms of both culture and patterns of development, and as an intersection of international interests.
Several major powers have shifted their focus to East Asia and the Pacific resulting in both co-operation and competition. In the meantime, East Asia continues to be troubled by complex and sensitive issues from the past, and unsettled historical problems and current disagreements intertwine. This book surely fills some major gaps in strategy studies, and can serve either as a reference for policy makers and Asian specialists, or as a supplementary text for teachers and college students.
The interdisciplinary research represented in this volume includes nine authoritative papers. Political uncertainties in China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and North Korea have all contributed to regional uncertainty and heightened tensions. His study examines the impact of the emerging bipolar US-China structure on East Asian security affairs and strategic adjustment throughout the region.
Daniel Drezner, however, argues in chapter 3 that China has yet to challenge the US as the anchor of the global financial system, even though China has enjoyed rapid economic growth. The renminbi Chinese currency is unable to compete against the US dollar, which continues to play a dominant role in the regional financial market.
James Reilly continues the discussion on changing Sino-Japanese economic relations in chapter 6.
According to Fravel, the US has largely succeeded in reassuring its allies of its defense commitments, while not escalating tensions in the South China Sea. But the rise of China has diminished the effectiveness of third-party coercion in easing tensions in East Asia.
Most of the authors here point to the rise of China as the major destabilizing factor in the region. China must solve its own problems, consisting of, but not limited to, corruption, abuses of power, human rights violations, and government mismanagement.