Wang (The United States and China Since World War II, 2013, etc.) offers an analysis of Obama’s China policy and the continuing points of contention in the Chinese-American relationship.
A number of recent economic trends in both the United States and China brought about a new era in the historically wary relationship between the two nations. As Wang outlines early in his book, “China has become more assertive of its ‘core interests’ but has been slow to adopt what America views as its international obligations. Meanwhile, America’s vulnerability after the financial crisis, coupled with the specter of an ambitious China, has made U.S. policymakers eager to stake out America’s position vis-à-vis China.” While the fraught security relationship between the nations is, in some ways, reminiscent of that between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the U.S. and China have highly connected economies that make for a state of codependence. Wang outlines the way President Obama has navigated this simultaneously antagonistic and symbiotic relationship. While Obama’s strategy is believed to be one of both deterrence and reassurance, Wang feels that the balance has shifted toward deterrence and that this, in turn, has put China on the defensive. After a brief history of the evolving relationship, Wang breaks down the major Chinese-U.S. happenings since Obama took office, followed by an analysis of the major Chinese-U.S. issues. Wang also offers a look into how U.S. policies are perceived in China, a perspective that isn’t often considered in the Western media. Wang’s highly accessible prose is geared toward readers with little background in Chinese-U.S. diplomacy. His focus on the Obama administration offers a manageable entry into the situation and reveals a policy that may surprise those who haven’t been paying attention. Wang includes a deep bibliography of interviews, studies, and statements by the Obama administration; readers interested in the repercussions of an emergent China and the way it’s shaping American policy will come away with a solid understanding of the players, issues, and stakes.
An informative, persuasive look at the current state of Chinese-American relations.