A Strategic View on China

Chessmaster or Pawn: Now, It's China's Turn - James Fallows - The Atlantic

Invoking chess planning in determining a country’s foreign policy grand strategy is a common approach as evidenced by numerous textbook covers.  James Fallows of the Atlantic uses it once again to argue that China’s maneuvers in the ADIZ are not the result of some hundred year strategy, but rather, derives from other reasons:

Others note that foreign policy is usually the lowest-priority item on the Chinese leadership’s (collective) mind. What really matters in Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party’s command center, is domestic security, stability, and growth, with anything beyond that as an afterthought. By this logic, China’s foreign-policy and defense moves, far from fitting into a decades-long master plan, often seem ad-hoc at best and self-defeating at worst.

via Chessmaster or Pawn: Now, It’s China’s Turn – James Fallows – The Atlantic.

Quoting Francesco Sisci, he makes the point that “if the United States wanted to make trouble for China, it would–paradoxically–greatly pull back its military presence in Asia…” thus resulting in more erratic, aggressive, and unpredictable responses from regional nation states.

3 thoughts on “A Strategic View on China”

  1. James Fallows’ opinion on China is definitely one I respect. He is has a lot of expertise on the subject. It is an interesting opinion that, having studied China, I can definitely agree with the CMC not being good at calculating foreign policy decisions and the MFA being left out of affairs and decisions. China needs to change this. However, the one thing I disagree with is that leaders don’t know about reaction because they can only read slanted news. Yes, this may be true to an extent but the system is so opaque that we can’t know for sure. Also, in the high up levels, the leaders have full internet access, no restrictions. Otherwise, I find his article very interesting.

  2. This is an interesting view on China’s foreign policy. I am most struck by the final comment, in which the author declares that if the U.S. were to pull out of the Asian area, China would most likely beat itself up all on its own. While I’d love to test that theory, I’m sure the countries that surround China wouldn’t like the “more erratic, aggressive, and upredictable” behavior.

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