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China Goes Global: The Partial Power 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199860142
ISBN-10: 0199860149
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Editorial Reviews


Selected as a Best Book of 2013 by The Economist
Selected as a Best Book of 2013 by Foreign Affairs
Selected as a Best Book of 2013 by Bloomberg News

"[A] masterful survey." --Foreign Affairs

"China Goes Global is a fascinating and scholarly challenge to the received wisdom about China's rise, and an important critique of the accepted narrative of Chinese expansionism." --The Economist

"David Shambaugh provides a thoughtful look at the nature and consequences of China's rise in this carefully researched and well-written volume." --Henry A. Kissinger

"The argument of China Goes Global is made forcefully, systematically and with plenty of evidence. It marshals information and research in a way that is valuable -- and often fascinating." --Financial Times

"This is a must read for those interested in China's foreign affairs particularly and international relations generally." --Library Journal

"[A] lucid, highly readable overview of China's government policy-making apparatus, media, military ambitions and capabilities, trade and investment patterns, and strained relations with almost every region of the world . . . Drawing on interviews with Chinese policymakers and his own perceptive observations of their conflicting impulses, Shambaugh pointedly corrects the usual hysterical exaggerations of Chinese power. His is an illuminating profile of a colossus that does not-yet-bestride the world." --Publishers Weekly

"Here's a book that has its title right -- a statement worth making because so many stretch or bend them for marketing purposes. And that's only the beginning of the elegant distillation George Washington University political scientist David Shambaugh provides in this useful volume, which offers a detailed yet concise portrait of a nation widely perceived as on the cusp of what the Chinese government often ascribes to its American rival: hegemony." --History News Network

"[T]imely and highly readable . . . With copious data and not a few anecdotes of his own experience, Shambaugh lays out systematically the case that China's reach, while undeniably global, is almost universally shallow." --Global Policy Journal

"[Shambaugh's] meticulous exploration of the multiple ways in which China does not live up to its current reputation brings a breath of fresh and cooling air to an overheated topic. It's about time." --Christian Science Monitor

"One of the most-prominent sinologists in the United States has written an important book on the global impact of China's rise." -- Andrew Scobell, Political Science Quarterly

About the Author

David Shambaugh is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and Director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University, as well as a nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. His most recent books include Tangled Titans: The United States and China; Charting China's Future: Domestic & International Challenges; and China's Communist Party: Atrophy & Adaptation.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199860149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199860142
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1990 I moved to Pudong, a farming area on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River, the river which divides East from West Shanghai. This was a year before Pudong was declared a Special Economic Zone and I was one of only three foreigners living there at the time. 23 years later Pudong is China's financial capital, boasts several of the world's tallest buildings and it is home to many global companies. According to a 2011 China census there are now about 50,000 foreign residents in Pudong. So nowadays when people talk up China I am inclined to agree because I have seen the change first hand

In his book China Goes Global, the Partial Power, David Shambaugh, a China expert at George Washington University, acknowledges China's epochal metamorphosis from one of the poorest and, some would argue, insignificant countries in the world to one of the wealthiest. He calls this transformation, as many have before him, the "big story of our time." Yet Shambaugh does not subscribe to the hype about China's global dominance, either present or forthcoming. He writes: "Some observers have already proclaimed that China will rule the world, This prospective is profoundly overstated and incorrect in my view. ......China has a long way to go before it becomes, if it ever becomes a true Global power. And it will never rule the world."

Shambaugh argues convincingly that China's global presence nowadays is in his words "shallow." Not only does China not have strong international alliances, say the way US and other western Countries do ( Chinese strongest alliances are often with closed failed states like North Korea, and Russia), but China ranks very low on many surveys which measure a country's global standing and effectiveness.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Shambaugh challenges with much dexterity the conventional wisdom that China already has all the tools to be a global great power. China comes out as a confused and conflicted rising power. Although the country has become prosperous, it feels at the same time that its national security is at risk and that the world has not shown the international respect that it craves.

Mr. Shambaugh explores the diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military footprints of China around the world to prove to his readers that China is only a partial power in each of these four dimensions.

1) Diplomatically, China comes out as risk-averse and narrowly self-absorbed. The country is primarily concerned with domestic economic development and the image and longevity of the ruling Communist Party. China has shown both little interest in global governance and discomfort with the liberal international order set by the West after WWII.
2) Economically, China increasingly has a decisive influence on global trade and the imports of energy and raw materials through its mercantilism. However, Chinese outbound investments and multinationals have not yet had much impact on the rest of the world. Similarly, China's aid programs reflect both a lack of size commensurate with its status of world's second-largest economy and a frequent non-compliance with international donor standards.
3) Culturally, China is not generating emulation because of the sui generis nature of its culture and the lack of a transferrable economic experience. Nonetheless, the country has a clear impact on tourism and art purchasing around the world.
4) Militarily, China does not come even close to the U.S. in conventional global power-projection capacities.
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Format: Hardcover
There is a Chinese proverb that says, "When the sage points out to the moon, the fool looks at the finger." In true Maoist fashion, we should reverse the saying, and swap the roles between the fool and the sage. It is the fool who is pointing at the moon, and his pointed finger needs close examination. The moon, in this example, represents global power status, and the fool's finger stands for David Shambaugh's botched attempt to assess China's growing international footprint.

In China Goes Global, Shambaugh expounds on the idea that China is not significantly influencing world affairs and that it remains a partial power - as opposed to a true global superpower like the United States, which sets the norm of what nascent powers like China should aspire to become. In field after field of global activity, China is compared to the standard set by the US, and fails the test by a wide margin. In multilateral diplomacy, contribution to global public goods, global business and investment, ODA policy, culture and soft power, security and military affairs, the conclusion remains the same: China "punches below its weight", is "not carrying proportionate international responsibility", and remains "a partial power". Even economically - the one area where one would expect China to be a global trendsetter - we find that China's impact is much more shallow than anticipated. Shambaugh concedes that "only in some sectors does China actually exercise global influence: global trade patterns, global energy and commodity markets, the global tourism industry, global sales of luxury goods, global real estate purchases, and cyber hacking."

Throughout the book, China's outward performance is evaluated on a scale and according to criteria dictated by the dominant power.
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