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The Coming Conflict with China Hardcover – February 25, 1997

3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro have pooled their extensive experience observing China to produce a shocking account of what they believe will be the "the major global rivalry in the first decades of the twenty-first century, the rivalry that will force other countries to take sides." The authors describe an inevitable conflict between an aggressive and expansionist China that sees itself as the rightful arbiter of power in Asia and a naive and unprepared United States that has already entered three wars in the last half century to prevent any single country's domination of Asia. In previously unpublished reports of Chinese news sources, Bernstein and Munro thoroughly document how the Chinese press portrays the United States as the "Enemy" in no uncertain terms.

Like Alastair Iain Johnston's superb study of Chinese military culture, Cultural Realism, Bernstein and Munro do not stoop to unfair characterization of the Chinese culture or the Chinese people. The grounds for their thesis--that the United States and China are on a collision course over strategic national goals--are well documented in their book. Their argument is particularly strong in its consideration of how China can use its economic influence to curb other nations such as Japan and South Korea. Certain to be the most controversial book published on the subject of Sino-American relations for some time, The Coming Conflict with China makes for a thrilling, troubling read.

From Library Journal

The alarming sound of this book's title rings the second coming of the Cold War. Bernstein and Munro, both seasoned journalists, predict an inevitable conflict with China, which has become the world's second most powerful nation since the Soviet Union's collapse. With detailed documentation and analysis of Chinese foreign and domestic policies as well as the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1996, the authors argue that China is no longer a strategic friend of the United States but a formidable enemy. China's intention to play a more active role in Asian affairs is presented here as a threat to U.S. political and economic interests. The book raises important concerns about the direction of China's rapid development and America's lack of a clear and consistent policy toward Sino-American relations. Recommended for academic libraries.?Mark Meng, St. John's Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (February 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679454632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679454632
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,212,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
_The Coming Conflict with China_ by Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro is a relatively brief (at 221 pages) but thorough assessment of the possible threat of and (to a lesser extent) the possible solutions to an emerging China in the early years of the 21st century. While not condemning China in any manner I would describe as hateful or racist and indeed acknowledging that there is a distinct possibility China may one day grow more democratic and develop close ties to the United States in the future, the authors contended that American policy makers need to be aware of the real threat to American vital interests posed by the Chinese, the disparity between stated Chinese goals and actual Chinese policy, and the ineffectiveness if not downright naivety of past American policy dating from the late 1980s, when China and the United States no longer had the Soviet Union as a common enemy and thus no longer had much in the way of common ground on strategic issues. Chinese policy has changed markedly since then thanks to events beginning in the late 1980s, notably with the brutal crackdown of the Tiananmen Square student occupation in 1989 (the Chinese saw this and other actions as a real threat to their Communist Party), the consequences of Mikhail Gorbachev's political reforms (which the Chinese interpreted as diluting the Soviet Communist Party's power and leading to their ousting), and the 1991 Gulf War (a display of very advanced military technology and planning that stunned the Chinese, showing to them how far behind the Americans they were and technology they would have to begin to master in order to achieve territorial goals in the South China Sea and any possible future military actions against Taiwan).Read more ›
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By A Customer on November 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The authors claim that China is an aggressive country seeking hegemony and is going to dominate Asia. Their argument is based on the two biases: 1. ``what is good for America is good for the World", needless to say, it is as absurd as ``what is good for General Motor is good for America". 2. Stealthy change of concept.
The authors make the conclusion that China's promise that ``we will never seek hegemony" is suspicious by the following three ``good" reasons (page 53), ``One is that China is now beginning the passage into a new phase of its history what might be called an era of restored national greatness. Two, China is so big and so naturally powerful that it will tend to dominate its region even if it does not intend to do so as a matter of national policy. Three, and most important, China has pursued initiatives and framed strategic goals that belie its claims of modest Third World status."
The first two reasons have nothing to do with hegemony unless you substitute ``hegemony" by ``developing and modernization", but has China claimed that ``we will never seek developing and modernization"?
Examine the authors' argument we will see that almost all actions taken by China which are set to substantiate the last and the ``mostimportant" reason, turn out to be only normal actions of a ``normal" nation which ``has the sovereign right to determine its security needs and to build the armed forces required to meet those needs." The quoted words and sentences are the authors', see page 171, where the authors accuse that China denies Japan those rights. But the whole book is based on denying China such rights.
What is the authors' logic?
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Format: Paperback
The majority of this book concerns China's internal discussion in the 1990s about how to break free of America. In the past decade, though, China has increasingly focused on dominating her Asian neighbors. The only part of the book that's still relevant today is the discussion of "technology transfer" which has only been growing, along with our trade deficit, with every year. But the geopolitical discussion is outdated. If you want to learn about America's role in the East Asian political system, you should instead read this much more recent book: In the Jaws of the Dragon: America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Dominance
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Format: Paperback
This is not the most scholarly book you will ever read. Let that be said right away. Also, as has been mentioned before, this book takes all of its cues from Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations." However, for any devotees of Huntington's theories (of which I am one) this is an interesting investigation of the one area of the world where the U.S. has the greatest potential for conflict in the near future.
Bernstein and Munro write each chapter about what they feel is a potentially important issue concerning U.S.-China relations. However the best, most interesting ones are those regarding Taiwan and the "New China Lobby." Most of you have probabaly never heard of the New China Lobby before and they are undoubtedly happy to hear that. The New China Lobby is in effect an organization of American and Chinese businesses which use their money and power to influence political decisions in the United States and to a much lesser extent in China. The number of despicable actions which have been instigated by this lobby is staggering and you will inevitably shake your head in disgust as you read how spineless many of our politicians are, and how ruthless businesses in both countries are. Many of the actions taken by the U.S. government were done in order to protect American business in China, the best example given by the authors is in regards to the Boeing/Airbus struggle for the Chinese market. Yet there are numerous others which simply smack of greed. If you are interested in reading more evidence of how big business has hijacked American politics the New China Lobby chapter of this book will be of particular interest.
The rest of the book is well informed and clearly written.
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