Cover image for Interpreting China's grand strategy : past, present, and future
Interpreting China's grand strategy : past, present, and future
Swaine, Michael D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Monica, CA : Rand, [2000]

Physical Description:
xx, 283 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Geographic Term:
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
UA835 .S82 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



China's continuing rapid economic growth and expanding involvement in global affairs pose major implications for the power structure of the international system. To more accurately and fully assess the significance of China's emergence for the United States and the global community, it is necessary to gain a more complete understanding of Chinese security thought and behavior. This study addresses such questions as: What are China's most fundamental national security objectives? How has the Chinese state employed force and diplomacy in the pursuit of these objectives over the centuries? What security strategy does China pursue today and how will it evolve in the future? The study asserts that Chinese history, the behavior of earlier rising powers, and the basic structure and logic of international power relations all suggest that, although a strong China will likely become more assertive globally, this possibility is unlikely to emerge before 2015-2020 at the earliest. To handle this situation, the study argues that the United States should adopt a policy of realistic engagement with China that combines efforts to pursue cooperation whenever possible; to prevent, if necessary, the acquisition by China of capabilities that would threaten America's core national security interests; and to remain prepared to cope with the consequences of a more assertive China.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. iii
Mapsp. vii
Figuresp. vii
Tablep. vii
Summaryp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Acronymsp. xvii
Chronology of Chinese Historyp. xix
Chapter 1 China as a National Security Concernp. 1
Chapter 2 China's Security Problemp. 9
Chapter 3 The Historical Contextp. 21
Border Defense and Periphery Controlp. 22
Fluctuations in Periphery Control and Regime Boundariesp. 33
The Use of Forcep. 45
The Use of Noncoercive Security Strategiesp. 65
The Influence of Domestic Leadership Politicsp. 79
Chapter 4 China's Current Security Strategy: Features and Implicationsp. 97
Factors Shaping China's Calculative Security Strategyp. 98
The Benefits and Challenges of Economic and Technological Reformp. 98
Changing Capabilities and Orientations of Periphery Powersp. 100
Exponential Growth in the Capabilities of Industrial Powersp. 102
Growing Domestic Social and Political Challengesp. 104
The Emergence of a More Pragmatic Program of Military Modernizationp. 105
The Rise of More Institutionalized, Pragmatic Forms of Authority and Governancep. 107
Lowered External Threatsp. 110
The Major Guiding Tenets and Policies of China's Calculative Security Strategyp. 112
Policies Toward the United States and Other Major Powersp. 114
Policies Toward Military Modernizationp. 121
Policies Toward Territorial Claims and the Recourse to Forcep. 129
Policies Toward International Regimesp. 133
Benefits and Risksp. 141
Chapter 5 China Faces the Future: the Far Termp. 151
Assessing the "Natural" Longevity of the Calculative Strategyp. 152
Beyond the Calculative Strategyp. 182
The Irony of Success: A Chaotic China?p. 183
The Triumph of Reason: A Cooperative China?p. 187
The Tyranny of Power: An Assertive China?p. 197
Chapter 6 Conclusionsp. 231
Bibliographyp. 243
Indexp. 273