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Reviewed by:
  • Power Shift: China and Asia's New Dynamics
  • Lawrence T. Woods (bio)
David Shambaugh , editor. Power Shift: China and Asia's New Dynamics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. xix, 383 pp. Paperback, ISBN 0–520–24570–9.

Power Shift is an important book for all China watchers. Designed as a festschrift for Wang Gangwu, this volume could also be used as the central text in an upper-division undergraduate course on Asia-Pacific political economy. Courses on the place of China and India will be increasing in number and professors would be wise to choose this well-written, well-ordered, well-documented study (perhaps alongside works such as John Ravenhill's APEC and the Construction of Pacific Rim Regionalism and/or Mel Gurtov's Pacific Asia: Prospects for Security and Cooperation in East Asia). Editor David Shambaugh is to be complimented for overseeing what he admits is this team project and for his two excellent overview essays.

The main conclusion drawn by this curiously all-male team of senior American, Chinese, Japanese, British, and Korean scholars is that China's power early in the twenty-first century is much more formidable when it comes to economics as opposed to politics or diplomacy. Overall, China is significant, but not yet dominant. Her impact and influence on her immediate neighbors is limited, with her most problematic relationship being with Japan. A power shift is underway, but—although the momentum is moving China's way—that shift is by no means complete and, if anything, is gradual, uneven, and ambiguous. Traditional Asia Pacific powers such as Japan and the United States will be especially uncertain of their place amid this shift and forced to watch closely.

The different sections of this volume cover economics (with contributions by Hideo Ohashi and Robert Ash), politics and diplomacy (Mike Mochizuki, Jae Ho Chung, Robert Bush, Wang Gangwu, John Garver, and Yu Bin), security (Bates Gill and Michael Swaine), relations with the United States (Robert Sutter and David Lampton), and regional context (Zhang Yunling, Tang Shiping, and Jonathan Pollack). Indeed, regionalism is a concept, concern, and perspective running throughout the collection, thereby enhancing the book's value in a course on regional affairs or Chinese foreign relations. Michael Yahuda does an exemplary job of setting the scene for the next portions of this timeline in his closing chapter, "The Evolving Asian Order," in which he stresses that the United States will remain the guarantor of regional security for as long as China and Japan fail to recognize each other's security needs. China's rise to a political status commensurate with its economic status will depend on her relations with Japan and the subsequent impact on the role of the United States in regional and global affairs.

This volume, replete with the observations of some of the world's top China hands, marks a contribution to that process of monitoring, learning, understanding, [End Page 534] and responding. This collection is like a detailed snapshot in time that gives an excellent view of China's internal dynamics and external relations as of 2003, when the conference on which the volume is based took place. Its value will be in allowing future scholars to review and understand the timeline over which China emerged as the dominant power of the latter twenty-first century, supplanting the United States as the regional and possibly even global hegemon. This book will help provide a piece of the puzzle for students and scholars of China, the Asia Pacific, and international affairs more broadly. It will provide only a piece of that puzzle, but it will be a valuable one.

This said, it is hoped that future volumes will display a better gender balance when it comes to contributors. There is no longer a shortage of female scholars focusing on China, Asia, and international affairs, making the lineup of authors here one of the few problem areas in Power Shift. This shortcoming is significant, however, as it can often skew the analysis provided. In this collection, for instance, there are no references to women's issues, environmental issues, or poverty, and human rights gets but two fleeting mentions. Masculine values are...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 534-535
Launched on MUSE
2008-11-28
Open Access
No
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