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Accommodating China
Amitai Etzioni
To cite this article: Amitai Etzioni (2013): Accommodating China, Survival: Global Politics and
Strategy, 55:2, 45-60
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There are increasing signs that the United States and China are on a collision
course. Some scholars see this course as following the historical paern by
which a declining power refuses to yield to a rising power, and war ensues.
Yet the collision is by no means inevitable. The United States should be able
to accommodate China’s rise without compromising its core interests or
its values. Freed from his pre-election necessity to appear tough, President
Barack Obama now has the opportunity to re-examine the pivot to Asia he
announced in 2011 to choose between a quest for a regional accommodation
and a military confrontation.
Accommodation should not be misconstrued as appeasement or unilat-
eral concession. It should be conceived, rather, as action in the interests of
both sides that contributes to global stability. It proceeds from the assump-
tion that relations between international powers can benet from signicant
complementary interests, even if other interests conict. Washington and
Beijing share interests in nuclear non-proliferation, securing global com-
merce, stabilising oil markets and preserving the environment, as well as
preventing terrorism, piracy and the spread of pandemics. To these ends,
China signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1992, joined the UN
Security Council in unanimously condemning North Korea’s 2012 ballistic-
missile test and January 2013 nuclear test, and conducted its rst bilateral
anti-piracy operation with the US Navy in the Horn of Africa at the end
Accommodating China
Amitai Etzioni
Amitai Etzioni is University Professor and Professor of International Relations at The George Washington
University, Washington DC.
Survival | vol. 55 no. 2 | April–May 2013 | pp. 45–60 DOI 10.1080/00396338.2013.784466
Downloaded by [George Washington University] at 12:08 09 April 2013
46 | Amitai Etzioni
of last year. China is also a member of the World Trade Organisation and
the Financial Action Task Force, and its increased contributions to the
International Monetary Fund in 2012 were of great benet to failing econo-
mies in Europe. Although they have the potential for greater cooperation,
the United States and China already work together on many issues.
Strategic assumptions
China is rising as a regional, rather than global, power. It has neither the
capability nor evident desire to establish a new world order and appears
uninterested in exporting its version of authoritarian capitalism to other
nations. China views its key geopolitical interests in a regional context,
focusing on Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea, and its military is largely
designed to enhance its power in East Asia, as shown by the deployment of
its most advanced weapons systems near Taiwan and its concentration on
anti-access and area-denial capabilities. China’s explicit foreign-policy doc-
trine has been one of ‘peaceful rise’, more recently evolving into ‘peaceful
Accordingly, in recent decades China has often reached compromises in
conicts with its neighbours, seling them via negotiations or other peace-
ful mechanisms.1 Between 1949 and 2005, Beijing seled 17 of 23 territorial
disputes with other governments, in most cases receiving less than half the
land in question.2 It has, to be sure, become more assertive in recent years,
but this has been almost exclusively in regional maers. China shows lile
interest in promoting its ideology of state capitalism globally. Economic
growth is slowing and China faces a range of environmental, demographic,
social and political challenges. It is likely that Beijing will remain preoc-
cupied with domestic maers (although some of these have international
implications, as it will need to ensure access to foreign energy and raw
materials to secure economic growth and political stability). It has very few
allies in East Asia, as most of its neighbours fear and oppose its aempts to
establish regional superiority.
The United States and its allies therefore have lile reason to replay
the Cold War by seeking to contain China. Instead, the West could readily
tolerate some expansion of China’s regional inuence by allowing it to
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Accommodating China | 47
secure access to vital resources as long as it abides by international law.3
Accommodating such expansion is more likely to lead to a peaceful, limited
rebalancing of power than seeking to block China on all fronts by establish-
ing counter-alliances. Crucially, China does not pose an immediate threat to
US interests in the same way as Iran or Pakistan. It is still in the early stages
of building-up and modernising its military. Rather than rushing to pre-
empt China as a military threat with a more aggressive defence policy, the
United States has time to help bring about a peaceful coexistence.
Easing tensions
Nations can often be caught in a vicious circle in which acts considered
hostile by one state trigger similar moves by a rival, exacerbating resent-
ment on both sides and prompting further such gestures and responses.4
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter,
is right to argue that the ‘worst outcome for Asia’s long-term stability as
well as for the American–Chinese relationship would be a drift into escalat-
ing reciprocal demonization’.5 Regreably, this appears to be happening.
A study by senior American and Chinese analysts Kenneth Lieberthal and
Wang Jisi shows that such a cycle of distrust has deep roots in Sino-American
history and has been intensifying since 2008.6 Given such feelings, it is, as
Australian strategist Hugh White puts it, ‘very dicult to accept an outcome
to any contest, however minor, that can be portrayed as a defeat for one side
or a win for the other’, and thus ‘it becomes almost impossible for either side
to step o the escalator and start compromising’.7
Various measures have been suggested to reverse this trend. Brzezinski
proposes an informal ‘G2’, envisioning ‘a comprehensive partnership,
paralleling our relations with Europe and Japan’ that would involve ‘per-
sonal in-depth discussions not just about our bilateral relations but about
the world in general’.8 Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger calls for
‘coevolution’, a relationship in which the countries pursue vital domestic
interests, cooperate where interests are shared and adjust policy to avoid
White suggests accommodating China’s regional inuence by forming
an Asian ‘concert of powers’ comparable to the power-sharing arrangement
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48 | Amitai Etzioni
in post-Napoleonic Europe. He argues that the United States, China, India
and Japan should negotiate ‘a new order on which China’s authority and
inuence grow enough to satisfy the Chinese, and America’s role remains
large enough to ensure that China’s power is not misused’.10 This would
require China to acknowledge the legitimacy of the US presence in the
Western Pacic, and the United States to allow its rival a sphere of inuence
that reects regional realities. White acknowledges that reaching such a
compromise would be politically dicult for leaders on both sides but may
be possible given that the alternative could be a catastrophic war between
nuclear powers.
Economic and diplomatic accommodation
One may wonder what economic accommodations the United States
could possibly make for China, given the widely held perception that the
laer has the upper hand nancially. China’s economic success has led to
demands that it allow its currency to freely adjust to market forces, lib-
eralise access to its markets, show higher regard for intellectual property
rights and curb industrial espionage. Nevertheless, the United States could
respond to China’s concern that its companies are often denied access to
Western markets (an issue rarely discussed in the West). While some of
these limitations stem from legitimate security concerns, the Chinese argue
that their businesses routinely face a welter of federal, state and local regu-
lations that hobble their eorts to invest or market products in the United
States.11 Helping these businesses negotiate such regulations would be a
step towards accommodating China. Washington should also stop obstruct-
ing Chinese energy deals, as it did when the state-owned China National
Oshore Oil Company made takeover bids for American rm Unocal in
200512 and Canadian rm Nexen in 2012. (While the Nexen bid was eventu-
ally approved, the ‘process for the deal [was] more dicult than initially
expected’ due in part to concerns raised by an inuential US lawmaker.)13
China is eager for the United States to put its scal and monetary house
in order. Washington does need to make adjustments to its nancial policy
but will do so in line with its internal needs, dynamics and timetable. Doing
so will make the United States less dependent on Chinese nancing of its
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Accommodating China | 49
debt and reduce concern about the trade imbalance between the countries.
Washington can help Beijing secure the huge imports of energy and raw
materials on which it relies by, rstly, reversing pressure on other nations
to refrain from dealing with China bilaterally rather than through multilat-
eral channels or groupings such as ASEAN. The United States should also
continue to strongly support the resolution of territorial disputes in the East
and South China Seas (largely driven by natural resources) through nego-
tiation, arbitration, legal proceedings and other non-violent means, and
discouraging all parties from escalating such disputes through acts such
as the unilateral occupation of contested islands and features. Washington
should welcome China’s construction of transnational roads, railways and
pipelines, as well as ports, in other countries. Despite claims by, among
others, the Pentagon’s Oce of Net Assessment and Robert Kaplan, there is
every sign that ports such as Gwadar in Pakistan are intended as commer-
cial hubs and are not currently congured for military use.14
Such accommodations would consolidate the United States’ credibility
as a global power by puing it on a more sustainable course. This is crucial
at a time when other nations have reason to doubt Washington’s commit-
ment to international security (let alone the feasibility of it building major
new weapons systems15) in the shadow of urgent domestic issues, such as
deteriorating infrastructure and schools, and concern about excessive mili-
tary spending.
Military strategy
Careful military positioning is a crucial aspect of accommodating China, and
involves combining strategic and symbolic changes in policy. Washington
would be wise in the rst instance to stop the frequent surveillance patrols
of Chinese coastlines by US planes and ships, as suggested by Bonnie Glaser
of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.16 Such patrols are as
provocative to Beijing as regular Chinese patrols close to the US coast would
be to Washington. Moreover, they produce lile strategic added value
above the intelligence gathered by satellite, cyber operations and human
agents; their main utility would be tactical in the event of imminent hostili-
ties. At best, they hint that the United States views itself as the guardian of
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50 | Amitai Etzioni
the world’s oceans and, at worst, reect an assertive and provocative ai-
tude on the part of the US Navy, observable in o-the-record discussions.
They also increase the risk of accidents that compound tensions between the
countries, such as the April 2001 collision of a US EP-3 reconnaissance plane
with a Chinese F-8 ghter, which left the laer’s pilot dead and caused the
11-day detention of 24 US crew members.17
More crucially, the United States should stop the forward positioning of
military assets in the region, the formation of military alliances with China’s
neighbours and the conduct of joint exercises with nations
such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan,
the Philippines, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and
India. These military commitments have been extended
since the Obama administration’s announcement in
2011 of a ‘pivot’ or rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacic,
which included the deployment of up to 2,500 marines to
Australia (initially redeployed from Okinawa), an increase
in the proportion of the US eet stationed in the Pacic
to 60%18 and the deployment of four of its new Lioral
Combat Ships to Singapore beginning in 2013.19 China perceives such acts
as hostile encirclement.
A new strategic concept, AirSea Bale, included in the 2010 Quadrennial
Defense Review, represents an intellectual pivot in the priority of US strate-
gic thinking from land-based operations and strategies to air- and sea-based
ones.20 This doctrine appears to mark a shift from a focus on combating
insurgents and terrorist groups in the Near East to more conventional
warfare in the Far East. While it is not ostensibly aimed at any particular
country, it is clearly a response to an ascendant China.21 American strate-
gists argue about whether the shift in strategy could lead the United States
to impose a debilitating blockade on China or strike the mainland.22 One
scenario would involve US forces launching long-range strikes against
Chinese area-denial assets, prompting China to respond with every option
available and leading inevitably to full-scale, even nuclear, war.23 Making
preparations for an air-sea bale might make sense if the US government
believes it cannot resolve its dierences with China peacefully. But there is
such acts
as hostile
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Accommodating China | 51
no evidence that such a conclusion is the product of careful strategic review.
Only the failure of aempts to accommodate China could provide reason-
able justication for such preparations for war.
The departure of US forces from Iraq in 2011 and the impending draw-
down in Afghanistan have left many East Asian states concerned that US
commitments to defend them may not be honoured.24 They doubt the
United States would engage in a war with China to prevent the integra-
tion of Taiwan with the mainland, or come to the aid of Japan in the event
of a Sino-Japanese conict over control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.
Washington’s treaties with many nations in the region are ambiguous, and
agreements with countries such as Singapore and Indonesia provide no
defence guarantees but simply promote strategic cooperation.25
The United States should re-examine the reasoning behind such commit-
ments and its engagement in joint military exercises. If Washington in fact
does not expect to be called on to honour its commitments, or to honour
them if called, they may well be counterproductive. If they are not strategi-
cally useful (many of them, made in a dierent time, may now be obsolete),
scaling them back could go some way to accommodate a China that per-
ceives it is being deliberately encircled.
Washington has also encouraged Japan to take on an increasing share of
the costs of its defence, including increasing its military forces. This could,
to be sure, help ease the burden on the Pentagon budget. But such encour-
agement is highly provocative, given Chinese memories of its treatment by
Imperial Japanese forces in the Second World War and rising nationalism in
Japan. If Washington were to abandon this policy, it would signal that the
United States is commied to peaceful accommodation.
The imminent threats to US security lie not in the Asia-Pacic but in
the greater Middle East, and include the possibility of terrorist access to
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons; Iranian aggression towards Saudi Arabia and
Israel; the Taliban’s eorts to regain power in Afghanistan; and the resur-
gence of al-Qaeda and its aliates in North Africa.26 Dealing with such
threats calls for a dierent force structure than AirSea Bale, including
greater roles for drones, special forces and covert operations. The United
States should not re-pivot to this region because it would accommodate
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52 | Amitai Etzioni
China, but if such a move is justied by US and allied security interests
anyway, the opportunity to test a policy of accommodation would be a
bonus. Abandoning its focus on the Pacic in favour of these more pressing
concerns might allow the United States to test the accommodation of China
as viable policy. (This need not to be formally announced. Budget cuts will
justify reducing the number of US troops in Asia, which exceed 300,000,
and, considering the situation in Syria and Iran, few would object to relocat-
ing naval vessels from Singapore to Naples.)
New domains
Current US–China tensions extend to outer space and cyberspace. Cyber
capabilities are becoming dangerous on a strategic level. In 2012 US
Secretary of Defense Leon Panea warned that the ‘next Pearl Harbor we
confront could very well be a cyber aack’.27 Such military options are par-
ticularly alarming in that they greatly favour the nation that strikes rst – a
dangerous and destabilising condition. It follows that the United States and
its allies ought to seek ways to limit their proliferation.
Some of China’s emerging anti-access and area-denial capabilities
involve these domains and are perceived in the United States as threats
to the global commons.28 China, for its part, sees them as responses to US
aggression. Under such circumstances, as Li Yan of the China Institute of
Contemporary International Relations put it, ‘any potential investment by
one side is probably viewed as new threats by the other side’.29 In 2007 the
Chinese successfully launched a direct ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons
test, an action the White House described as ‘inconsistent with the spirit
of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area’.30 To be
sure, both Washington and Beijing have acknowledged the need for co-
operative frameworks in both cyber and outer space. In May 2012, Panea
said that ‘because the United States and China have developed technological
capabilities in [cyberspace], it’s extremely important that we work together
to develop ways to avoid any miscalculation or misperception that could
lead to crisis’.31 Working alongside Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, in
September 2011 China proposed an international code for the regulation of
cyberspace.32 Washington, however, rejected the proposed code because it
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Accommodating China | 53
would limit the free ow of information on the World Wide Web and benet
authoritarian regimes seeking to stamp out dissent.33 In 2008 the United
States rejected a draft UN treaty co-sponsored by China and Russia that
would ban weapons in space. The White House said the treaty would be
impossible to verify or enforce, and while Washington was open to ‘discus-
sions aimed at promoting transparency and condence-building measures’,
it opposed eorts ‘to prohibit or limit [its] access to or use of space’.34 After
the accidental collision of a defunct Russian satellite with a US communi-
cations satellite in 2009, the Pentagon stated that new rules are needed in
space to ‘enhance U.S. national security by encouraging responsible space
behavior by reducing the risk of mishaps, misperceptions and mistrust’.35
Observers such as David C. Gompert and Phillip C. Saunders argue that,
since disarmament in outer space or cyberspace is ‘impractical and unveri-
able’, the way forward is for Washington and Beijing to exercise ‘mutual
restraint in the use of strategic oensive capabilities’.36 In other words, both
countries should pledge not to be the rst to launch aacks against assets in
outer space or cyber aacks against critical infrastructure. Such an under-
standing may be dicult to achieve, but it has a beer chance in the context
of a general policy of accommodation.
International law and the South China Sea
Accommodating a rising regional power should never entail tolerating vio-
lations of international laws and norms. China should be expected to adhere
to World Trade Organisation agreements and the United States should con-
tinue, as it has already done over tyre and steel disputes, to take appropriate
action when it violates them. Washington should also continue to pressure
Beijing to respect intellectual property rights. Above all, aempts to expand
territorial control by military means should be considered gross violations
of international law and beyond the limits of what can be accommodated.
(It is too late, to be sure, to apply this rule to Tibet or, arguably, Taiwan, in
light of the United States’ One China policy.37)
Beijing’s claims to islands and features in the South China Sea are not
an inherent violation of international order; such positioning is a common
bargaining tactic. Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway, for example, have
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54 | Amitai Etzioni
made overlapping claims to the North Pole and parts of the Arctic Ocean,
and have conducted exploratory expeditions and military exercises in the
region to strengthen their positions.38 Despite aggressive rhetoric from both
China and its regional rivals, Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea may
yet be resolved in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the
China has, moreover, recently exhibited a generally positive aitude
towards international organisations and law. This is a marked improve-
ment on past decades, when, as legal scholars Jerome A. Cohen and Jon
M. Van Dyke put it, Beijing ‘rejected what it called the “bourgeois” rules
and institutions that dominated the world community’ and
silenced its international law experts.39 They note that China
plays a responsible role in international maritime organisa-
tions, aempting to resolve its many disputes in accordance
with ‘at least its own understanding of international law’.
China also participated in the drafting of UNCLOS, ratify-
ing it in 1996 (in contrast to the United States, which has yet
to do so), and has joined regional organisations protecting
maritime environments in East Asia. Other cooperative initiatives Beijing
has participated in include an agreement with Vietnam over their maritime
boundary in the Gulf of Tonkin, dividing the disputed territory equally, and
the development of a joint hydrocarbon project in waterways disputed with
Japan (though this enterprise did not make it past the initial stages).40 China
also peacefully seled a decades-old border dispute with Russia in 2004,
renouncing its claim to large swathes of Siberia that had been annexed by
the tsars in the nineteenth century.41
But there is a possibility that China will aempt to sele its territorial
disputes by force, as it did when the PLA ejected Vietnamese forces from
the Paracel Islands in 1974.42 Acts such as the dispatch of patrol ships to the
Senkakus/Diaoyus (in the wake of the Japanese government’s purchase of
three of the islands from their private owner) to show its ‘undisputable sov-
ereignty’ over them come close to crossing a dangerous line.43 Is the territory
Beijing disputes in the East and South China Seas worth the risk of creating
a conict that could wreak havoc on the global economy and even involve
is in a
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Accommodating China | 55
nuclear weapons? While Senkakus/Diaoyus are currently controlled by
the Japanese and their protection seems to be covered by Japan’s defence
treaty with the United States, there is historical evidence supporting China’s
claim. This ambiguity puts Washington in a perilous position, and it needs
to either nd a way to clarify the legal status of the islands or facilitate a
long-term negotiated solution between the two sides. If it cannot, it may
have to choose between ignoring military action that outs international
law (and damaging the credibility of its defence commitments) or going to
war over a handful of small, uninhabited islands.
* * *
For many, the idea of cooperating with a regime that routinely violates
human rights runs, as White puts it, ‘counter to their deeply held convictions
about the ways values should underpin foreign policy’.44 Such commenta-
tors should note that accommodation does not preclude the promotion of
human rights and democracy through education and cultural exchange pro-
grammes. It does, to be sure, militate against the notion of aempting to
instigate regime change in China. Even were the United States to succeed in
such an aempt, there is no guarantee that a liberal democracy would rise
out of the ashes, as shown by recent interventions in the Middle East. But
the promotion of liberal democracy through non-violent means would not
be hindered by a policy of accommodation.
Avoiding the use of force across borders is one of the major foundations of
global order (with the noted exceptions of breaching territorial sovereignty
to prevent genocide or, arguably, the spread of nuclear arms).45 Abiding
by this principle should be considered the litmus test of a state’s conduct.
But it is unreasonable to deny a nation the status of responsible member of
the international community for insuciently contributing to peacekeeping
forces or humanitarian aid eorts, or for seeking to secure favourable terms
of trade.46 One should distinguish between law-abiding members of the
international community and those who voluntarily do more than required.
Countries that otherwise abide by international law should not be coerced
by other states, though nations that voluntarily take on such roles should
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56 | Amitai Etzioni
be applauded. As a primarily regional power, China’s adherence to inter-
national law – to the extent it exists – should be basis enough for a policy of
A considerable array of options are available to the United States and
its allies to avoid a collision with China. But the West must rst acknowl-
edge that there is currently no reason to contain or balance China, as it
has few, if any, global ambitions or capabilities. The West should also
allow China to gain regional inuence commensurate with its growing
power, as long as such expansion does not violate the precepts of global
order. The West should follow what might be called, lacking a beer term,
a multi-track approach. A red light that warns against the use of force by
China to change the status quo; a yellow light for tolerating its increased
inuence in the region, and a green light for China’s drive to secure the
ow of energy and raw materials it needs. Such an approach may provide
substantive content to the ‘new type of great power relationship’47 China
says it seeks.
The author would like to thank Ashley McKinless for providing research assistance for
this essay, and Weiming Tu, Charles Glaser and the participants of the Beijing Forum for
valuable discussions on US–China relations.
1 Zheng Bijian, ‘China’s “Peaceful Rise”
to Great-Power Status’, Foreign Aairs,
vol. 84, no. 5, September–October
2005, pp. 18–24.
2 M. Taylor Fravel, ‘Regime Insecurity
and International Cooperation:
Explaining China’s Compromises
in Territorial Disputes’, International
Security, vol. 30, no. 2, Fall 2005,
p. 46; Malcolm Turnbull, ‘Power
Shift: High White’s “The China
Choice”’, The Monthly, August 2012,
3 See John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan:
The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation
of the American World Order
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press, 2012).
4 Charles E. Osgood, An Alternative to
War or Surrender (Champaign-Urbana,
IL: University of Illinois Press, 1962)
and Amitai Eioni, The Hard Way
to Peace: A New Strategy (New York:
Collier Books, 1962).
Downloaded by [George Washington University] at 12:08 09 April 2013
Accommodating China | 57
5 Zbigniew Brzezinski, ‘How To Stay
Friends With China’, New York Times,
2 January 2011, hp://www.nytimes.
6 Kenneth Lieberthal and Wang Jisi,
Addressing U.S.–China Strategic
Distrust, John L. Thornton China
Center Monograph Series, no. 4
(Washington DC: Brookings, March
2012), hp://
us china lieberthal/0330_china_lieber-
7 Hugh White, The China Choice:
Why America Should Share Power
(Melbourne: Black Inc., 2012), pp.
8 Zbigniew Brzezinski, ‘The Group of
Two that could Change the World’,
Financial Times, 13 January 2009, hp://
9 Henry Kissinger, On China (New
York: Penguin Group, 2011); Michiko
Kakutani, ‘An Insider Views China,
Past and Future’, New York Times,
9 May 2011, hp://www.nytimes.
10 White, The China Choice.
11 Shahien Nasiripour and Paul Taylor,
‘Huawei and ZTE face Congressional
Grilling’, Financial Times, 14
September 2012, hp://
12 David Barboza, ‘China Backs
Away from Unocal Bid’, New York
Times, 3 August 2005, hp://www.
13 ‘Senator Urges U.S. To Block China’s
Nexen Deal’, CBC News, 27 July 2012,
html; David Ljuggren, ‘SIS Warning
on China Security Threat dogged
CNOOC–Nexen Debate in Canada’,
Financial Post, 24 December 2012,
14 See ‘China Builds Up Strategic Sea
Lanes’, Washington Times, 17 January
2005, hp://www.washingtontimes.
115550-1929r/; Robert D. Kaplan,
‘China’s Port in Pakistan?’, Foreign
Policy, 27 May 2011, hp://www.
chinas_port_in_pakistan; Robert D.
Kaplan, ‘Center Stage for the 21st
Century’, Foreign Aairs, March–April
2009, hp://www.foreignaairs.
Ashley S. Townshend, ‘Unraveling
China’s “String of Pearls”’, YaleGlobal
Online, 16 September 2011, hp://
15 Tim Huxley, ‘Response to PacNet #35
– US 1, China 0’, Center for Strategic
and International Studies: Pacic Forum,
12 June 2012, hp://les/publi-
16 Bonnie S. Glaser, Armed Clash in the
South China Sea, Council on Foreign
Relations Contingency Planning Memo-
randum, no. 14 (New York: CFR, April
2012), hp://
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58 | Amitai Etzioni
17 Shirley A. Kan, China–U.S. Aircraft
Collision Incident of April 2001:
Assessments and Policy Implications,
CRS Report RL30946, (Washington
DC: Congressional Research Service,
10 October 2001), available at hp://
18 Ma Siegel, ‘As Part of Pact, U.S.
Marines Arrive in Australia, in China’s
Strategic Backyard’, New York Times,
4 April 2012, hp://www.nytimes.
19 Agreement Calls for 4 U.S. Lioral
Combat Ships to Rotate Through
Singapore’, Defense News, 2 June 2012,
20 ‘The China Syndrome’, Economist, 9
June 2012, hp://www.economist.
21 US Department of Defense,
‘Background Brieng on Air-
Sea Bale by Defense Ocials
from the Pentagon’, transcript,
9 November 2011, hp://www.
22 Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes,
Asymmetric Warfare, American Style’,
Proceeding Magazine, vol. 138, no. 4,
April 2012, hp://
metric-warfare-american-style; Geo
Dyer, ‘US Strategic Bale Guidelines
under Aack’, Financial Times, 31
May 2012, hp://
23 Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr, Barry
Was and Robert Work, Meeting the
Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge
(Washington DC: Center for Strategic
and Budgetary Assessment, 2003);
White, The China Choice, p. 74.
24 Tim Huxley, executive director of the
International Institute for Strategic
Studies–Asia, told a Taiwanese news-
paper that ‘I don’t think countries in
the region will ever be convinced [by
the pivot] because everybody knows
the US is a declining power in relative
terms’. Quoted in Ralph A. Cossa, ‘US
1, China 0’, PacNet Newsleer, no. 35, 6
June 2012.
25 Bruce Vaughn, U.S. Strategic and
Defense Relationships in the Asia-Pacic
Region, CRS Report no. RL33821
(Washington DC: Congressional
Research Service, 22 January 2007),
available at hp://
26 Amitai Eioni, Hot Spots: American
Foreign Policy in a Post-Human
Rights World (New Brunswick, NJ:
Transaction Publishers, 2012).
27 David E. Sanger, ‘Mutually Assured
Cyberdestruction?’, New York Times,
2 June 2012, hp://www.nytimes.
28 ‘The Dragon’s New Teeth: A Rare
Look inside the World’s Biggest
Military Expansion’, Economist, 7 April
2012, hp://
29 Li Yan, ‘Securing the Global
Commons, a New Foundation for
the Sino-US Relationship’, China–US
Focus, 19 March 2012, hp://www.
Downloaded by [George Washington University] at 12:08 09 April 2013
Accommodating China | 59
30 Shirley Kan, China’s Anti-Satellite
Weapon Test, CRS Report no. RS22652
(Washington DC: Congressional
Research Service, 23 April 2007), avail-
able at hp://
31 Cheryl Pellerin, ‘U.S., China Must
Work Together on Cyber, Panea
Says’, American Forces Press Service,
7 May 2012, hp://
32 ‘China, Russia and Other Countries
Submit the Document of International
Code of Conduct for Information
Security to the United Nations’,
Ministry of Foreign Aairs of the
People’s Republic of China, 13
September 2011, hp://www.fmprc.
33 Adam Segal, ‘China and Information
vs. Cyber Security’, Asia Unbound,
CFR blog, 15 September 2012, hp://
34 Nick Cumming-Bruce, ‘U.N. Weighs
a Ban on Weapons in Space, but U.S.
Still Objects’, New York Times, 13
February 2008, hp://www.nytimes.
35 Lisa Daniel, ‘Defense, State Agree
to Pursue Conduct Code for Outer
Space’, US Department of Defense,
18 January 2012, hp://www.defense.
36 David C. Gompert and Phillip C.
Saunders, The Paradox of Power: Sino
American Strategic Restraint in an Age
of Vulnerability (Washington DC:
National Defense University Press,
37 US Department of State, ‘U.S.
Relations With Taiwan’, updated 20
August 2012, hp://
38 In 2010, Russia and Norway were
able to peacefully sele their 40-year
maritime border dispute, spliing the
contested area equally and allowing
for new gas and oil exploration. The
Kremlin told a Russian news agency
‘this is a practical illustration of the
principle that all disputes in the Arctic
must be tackled by the Arctic nations
themselves by way of talks and on
the basis of international law’. Luke
Harding, ‘Russia and Norway Resolve
Arctic Border Dispute’, Guardian,
15 September 2010, hp://www.
39 Jerome A. Cohen and Jon M. Van
Dyke, ‘Finding its Sea Legs’, South
China Morning Post, 22 October 2010.
40 Ibid. See also David Shambaugh,
‘Return to the Middle Kingdom? China
and Asia in the Early Twenty-rst
Century’, in David Shambaugh (ed.),
Power Shift (Berkeley, CA: University of
California Press, 2005), p. 24.
41 Malcolm Turnbull, ‘Power Shift:
Hugh White’s ‘The China Choice’’,
The Monthly, August 2012, hp://
42 ‘The Bully of the South China Sea’,
Wall Street Journal, 10 August 2012,
43 Chico Harlan and Jia Lynn Yang,
‘China Sends Patrol Ships to
Contested Islands after Japan Buys
Downloaded by [George Washington University] at 12:08 09 April 2013
60 | Amitai Etzioni
Them’, Washington Post, 11 September
2011, hp://www.washingtonpost.
html. The Japanese move was in fact
intended to pre-empt the intentionally
provocative purchase of the islands by
the far-right governor of Tokyo.
44 White, The China Choice, p. 166.
45 Amitai Eioni, ‘Point of
Order’, Foreign Aairs, vol. 90,
no. 6, November–December
2011, hp://www.foreignaf-
46 See Robert Zoellick, ‘Whither China:
From Membership to Responsibility?’,
Remarks to National Commiee
on US–China Relations, New York
City, 21 September 2005, available
at hp://
former/zoellick/rem/53682.htm. For
response, see Amitai Eioni, ‘Is
China a Responsible Stakeholder?’,
International Aairs, vol. 87, no. 3, May
2011, pp. 539–93.
47 Michael S. Chase, ‘China’s Search
for a “New Type of Great Power
Relationship”’, China Brief, vol. 12,
no. 17, 7 September 2012, avail-
able at hp://
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... 41 Instead, US policy makers need to consider how to accommodate the rise of China without compromising US core interests or values. 42 Our research endorses this cautious view of US policy in Asia because Chinese policy makers, through the eyes of China's America watchers, hold negative perceptions regarding US policy in Asia. Negative perceptions are more likely to be transformed into negative policy outcomes in the future. ...
Full-text available
Based on an original survey conducted in the summer of 2012 in Beijing, we examine how China's America watchers—IR scholars who work on US-China relations—have viewed China's power status in the international system, US-China relations and some specific US policies in Asia. Our survey shows that almost half of the survey participants thought that America would remain the global hegemon in the next ten years. Meanwhile, a large majority was also optimistic that China is a rising great power, especially in the economic sense, in the world. More than half of the respondents saw Asian military issues, such as the South China Sea issue, as the most difficult problem between China and the US.
The degradation of commons, as non-terrestrial spaces accessible to all and owned by none, is a very well known tragedy explored by political theory and IR. But such a tragedy extends environmental issues. Nowadays, their militarization and even their weaponization shows a new interest for these commons, beyond the indifference that explains many behaviors towards them. The United States and the emerging powers tend to appropriate these global commons from high sea to extra-atmospheric space and of course cyber. A new front line arises between freedom of navigation in these spaces and the will of balkanization for protecting sovereignty by several States that adopt access denial grand strategies. A global state of war results from this opposition. It suggests new types of warfare (more opaque and clandestine). This context nourishes a contestation of american domination but also an unprecedented concern: global commons do not embody an object of disinterest but a source of confrontations per se beyond the quarrels of territories which punctuated the history of international relations in modernity.
The article analyzes the features of Sino-Vietnamese asymmetric relations with a powerful destructive potential. The focus is on the elements of the confrontation between China and Vietnam, which prevent the acceleration and expansion of the scope of strategic cooperation. It has been found that bilateral relations between China and Vietnam, although they are developing in the format of "comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnership", did not avoid a confrontation caused by territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Vietnam is experiencing serious discomfort from the strengthening of China’s aggressive regional policy, acquiring a systemic and clearly structured character. The key configurations and trajectories of Vietnam’s basic strategies aimed at containing China, which is trying to gradually reformat the space around it is borders, are explored. It has been established that Sino-Vietnamese relations are a combination of political, ideological and cultural contacts with a complex of contradictions. Despite the weakening of the role of ideological tenets, the Communist Parties of China and Vietnam are too close and control the most important vectors of development of bilateral relations. It was noted that despite the intensification of contradictions, Sino-Vietnamese relations are dynamically developing and evolving and their cooperation to a certain extent is based on the search for compromises, common points of contact between positions and mutually acceptable solutions.
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O artigo defende a tese de que a China está ciente de que seu processo de modernização ainda é recente e precisa de mais crescimento, maturidade e consolidação para assumir o papel e a responsabilidade de um líder regional ou até mesmo global. Este texto desenvolve uma compreensão sobre a postura da China em relação às negociações para as redefinições da Ordem Internacional e do Sistema Internacional (e, portanto, da Governança Global) e, por outro, procura perceber as reações dos países não desenvolvidos e em desenvolvimento em relação às estratégias chinesas.
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The bargaining for a new role in world politics presents a rising power with a strategic dilemma, as the new role entails a new power position in the system and a new social status in international society. China’s assertiveness in diplomacy after 2008 can be seen as a ‘role bargaining’ process between China and the outside world, such as China’s bargaining for a new role in the global financial system through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This article aims to examine how a rising power can bargain for the new role in a peaceful way. Based on rational bargaining theory and on role theory, we suggest four strategies whereby a rising power bargains for a new role: costly signalling, self-restraint, role-diversification, and alter-casting. Through focusing on China’s World Trade Organization accession and integration into the global economy after the Cold War, we examine the utilities and limitations of these four role-bargaining strategies for a rising power in the international system. The first two strategies aim to address the information and commitment problems concomitant with rationalism that a rising power faces in negotiating a new power position, and the last two strategies focus on how a rising power can bargain for a new social role by balancing the self’s role conception and the role expectations of others.
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Applying bargaining theory of international conflicts, we examine the successes and challenges of China’s strategic choices in its ascent after the Cold War. We suggest that China needs to alleviate information and commitment problems in order to rise peacefully. Since 2008, China’s “peaceful rise” strategy has faced serious challenges because of its “assertive turn” in diplomacy. We argue that China has not alleviated or settled these two problems successfully because of its ambiguous “core interest” diplomacy and undecided attitude regarding multilateral institutions in resolving the maritime disputes. China should engage in rule-based, institution building, such as a security community between China and ASEAN, to reinforce its peaceful rise commitments.
In Hot Spots (Transaction Publishers, 2012), a former senior advisor to the White House, Amitai Etzioni, criticizes current trends in American and Western foreign policy and the shifting of attention from the Middle East to China. Etzioni argues that the true hot spots continue to be in the Middle East, not the Far East, and that for now, China should be treated by the United States as a potential global partner, not as an adversary.
Despite widespread fears about China's growing economic clout and political stature, Beijing remains committed to a "peaceful rise": bringing its people out of poverty by embracing economic globalization and improving relations with the rest of the world. As it emerges as a great power, China knows that its continued development depends on world peace--a peace that its development will in turn reinforce.
Since the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait crisis, scholars and policymakers have become increasingly concerned about China's territorial ambitions. Yet China has also used peaceful means to manage conficts, settling seventeen of its twenty-three territorial disputes, often with substantial compromises. This article develops a counterintuitive argument about the effects of domestic confict on foreign policy to explain China's behavior. Contrary to the diversionary war hypothesis, this argument posits that state leaders are more likely to compromise in territorial disputes when confronting internal threats to regime security, including rebellions and legitimacy crises. Regime insecurity best explains China's pattern of compromise and delay in its territorial disputes. China's leaders have compromised when faced with internal threats to regime security, including the revolt in Tibet, the instability following the Great Leap Forward, the legitimacy crisis after the Tiananmen upheaval, and separatist violence in Xinjiang.
This report begins with a question. What changes in U.S. strategic and defense relationships in the Asia-Pacific region, if any, are needed to respond to major developments in the region, particularly China's emergence as a major power, the continuing potential for inter-state conflict, and the struggle against militant Islamists? The report addresses this central question by setting it within the larger dynamics of American strategy in both a global and regional context. It discusses the shifting correlates of power in Asia before considering the current strategic debate, force structure, and key American security relationships with regional states. It also considers the United States strategic response to recent developments and provides several policy options.
On January 11, 2007, the People's Republic of China (PRC) conducted its first successful direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test in destroying one of its own satellites in space. The test raised international concerns about more space debris. Longer-term, the test raised questions about China's capability and intention to attack U.S. satellites. The purpose of this CRS Report, based on open sources and interviews, is to discuss that ASAT test by China's military, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and issues about U.S. assessments and policies. This report will not be updated.
Whether China is a responsible stakeholder is evaluated from employing three sets of standards: normative, 'aspirational' standards (i.e. those that make a good community member and an upstanding citizen); rational choice (is China acting in line with shared or complementary self-interest?); and power analysis (whether China is upsetting an established world order or contributing to the formation of a new one?). In the process, this article examines both China and the standards themselves. © 2011 The Author(s). International Affairs
Asymmetric Warfare, American Styleasym- metric-warfare-american-style
  • Toshi Yoshihara
  • James R Holmes
Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes, 'Asymmetric Warfare, American Style', Proceeding Magazine, vol. 138, no. 4, April 2012, magazines/proceedings/2012-04/asym- metric-warfare-american-style; Geoff Dyer, 'US Strategic Battle Guidelines under Attack', Financial Times, 31
China's Anti-Satellite Weapon Test, CRS Report no. RS22652 (Washington DC: Congressional Research Service
  • Shirley Kan
30 Shirley Kan, China's Anti-Satellite Weapon Test, CRS Report no. RS22652 (Washington DC: Congressional Research Service, 23 April 2007), available at row/RS22652.pdf.