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542 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997 Robert G. Sutter, with the assistance of Seong-Eun Choi. Shaping China's Future in World Affairs: The Role ofthe United States. Boulder and Oxford: Westview Press, 1996. vi, 194 pp. Hardcover $39.95, isbn 0-8133-2957-4. The apparent stability in the domestic and foreign policies of the People's Republic of China during the mid-1980s quickly disintegrated in the wake ofthe end of the Cold War and the Tiananmen massacre of 1989. Afterwards, a host of problems and worries underscored the China problem: political succession to Deng Xiaoping, ongoing conflicts over human rights violations, PRC exports of sensitive military equipment, regional territorial disputes over the Diaoyu (or Senkaku) Islands and in die South China Sea, the Taiwan conundrum (exemplified by President Lee Tung-hui's visit to the United States and the PRCs provocative military exercises), and the uncertainty surrounding the restoration of Hong Kong to China. Even China's remarkable economic growth, powered by huge amounts of foreign investment, has strained Sino-American relations because of the bulging American trade deficit and disputes over quota and copyright violations , China's closed markets, and membership in the World Trade Organization. Amid these uncertainties, government leaders, journalists, scholars, businessmen , and professional China watchers are anxiously trying to divine the direction of China's political development and are debating the future course of Sino-foreign relations. The interaction between domestic and foreign policy, common to all nations, is particularly intimate and significant in China's case because of its historical evolution, the radical shifts in direction since the PRC was established in 1949, and its closed, authoritarian society.1 Robert Sutter's latest book, Shaping China's Future in World Affairs: The Role ofthe United States, is part of a growing literature on this general topic. Sutter, a student ofChinese foreign policy for some three decades, is eminently qualified for the task ofwriting this volume. He has served as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and, since 1977, as a specialist in Asian Affairs at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. He is also the author of numerous articles and more than a half-dozen books. Sutter observes that PRC leaders, since the mid-1980s, have been largely united behind Deng's program of economic modernization and international integration . Further, they have generally followed a peaceful, accommodationist, and pragmatic foreign policy, especially after the unexpectedly hostile response to© 1997 by University the Tiananmen incident. To be sure, there have been exceptions, particularly ofHawai'i Presswhen Chinese sovereignty and security have been at stake. He warns, however, that Chinese internal policy and international conduct could very well change in Reviews 543 the post-Deng era. Sutter presents three possible scenarios for China (while acknowledging that there are other possible outcomes): (1) the steady transformation of China into a modern economy, accompanied by political liberalization and decentralization and greater integration into the international community; (2)degeneration into prolonged internal political conflict and regionalization, economic decay and discontent, and withdrawal from active participation in international bodies; and (3) an economically powerful authoritarianism that successfully modernizes China, but at the price ofpolitical repression, human rights abuses, and assertive nationalism. Without committing himself, Sutter seems to lean toward the last scenario. Possessing a reinvigorated military arm, backed by powerful economic growth, united by a militant nationalism, and worried about Japanese military potential and goals, China could adopt a more aggressive and challenging posture in the region and elsewhere. Enter the United States. Whether in relation to its national security, international political leadership, domestic political considerations, vast economic interests , or humanitarian concerns, the United States clearly has an enormous stake in the evolution of China and its role in world affairs. Furthermore, it alone among the world powers has the ability to shape China's foreign policy. Currently , Chinese leaders recognize American power and, except for a still small but shrill group advocating Chinese nationalism and self-reliance, accept the reality of its influence. There is also a consensus within the United States that it should use its leverage to advance American interests, promote desirable changes in China, and insure...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 542-546
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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