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Red Star over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy Hardcover – October 15, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Red Star Over the Pacific will be the go-to book on the rise of Chinese sea power. It is spare, yet exhaustive. It is balanced, yet pulls no punches. The clear writing is imbued with the love of subject. Rather than a sterile treatment of naval issues, the book is filled with historical and geographical awareness. Selected by The Atlantic as one of the best books of the year on Foreign Affairs. --Robert D. Kaplan, senior fellow at The Center for a New American Security,

The steady and systematic rise of Chinese sea power will soon present a fundamental challenge to the mastery which the U.S. Navy has maintained in the western Pacific for almost seven decades. In this outstanding book, Yoshihara and Holmes provide us with the definitive analysis of an impending revolution in naval affairs, as China extends its capability to control access over all of its littoral seas and Taiwan, and indeed within the entire Pacific first island chain. ... Every American maritime strategist and naval commander will want to read this vitally important book. --James Kurth, Claude C. Smith Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, Swarthmore College

The shifting strategic balance between the United States and China as Beijing develops the country s seapower will be one of the major issues of the 21st century. While the authors of this thoughtful and expert study show that the motives behind Chinese expansion may not necessarily imply malign intent, and certainly should not automatically be treated that way by Washington, they do show that the United States is bound to be increasingly preoccupied by the consequences of this major challenge. --Geoffrey Till Professor of Maritime Studies, King's College London

About the Author

Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes are associate professors of strategy at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. Both authors hold PhDs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; 1st edition (October 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159114390X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591143901
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
China's maritime capacity, two associate professors of strategy at the US Naval War College argue in an important new work, is close to reaching a point where its theories will be put into practice. What this commanding of the seas "with Chinese characteristics" will look like, and what it will imply for regional stability and the ability of the US to remain involved in the region, is the focus of Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes' Red Star Over the Pacific.

While there is no dearth of studies on the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), efforts to understand it have for the most part been limited to the Order of Battle -- that is, tallying up what China currently deploys, plans to deploy and is developing. Much less effort, however, has been put into understanding China's maritime doctrine, and this is where Yoshihara and Holmes' book, which assesses a variety of Chinese-language sources and pronouncements on the subject, provides helpful illumination.

As "Western apathy toward traditional sea power" manifests itself, the authors write, "Asians bolt together fleets with gusto." Spearheading this effort is China, which has already built power-projection capabilities for what they call a "post-Taiwan" environment. Whether this rise will be benign and focused on non-traditional challenges (such as anti-piracy and protecting sea lanes) rather than "pounding away at enemy fleets" is something that can, if only imperfectly, be extracted from trends in Chinese defense circles.

Although the authors do not predict a cataclysmic clash of navies as seen during World War II between the US and Japan, they nevertheless argue that the "material ingredients for competition and rivalry are certainly present in the tight confines of the East Asian littoral.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To some one living outside Asia, this book may look just an academic debate.
But for those living in the area, it can cause a lot of sleepless nights.
Being a Chinese who lives in Asia, I cannot agree more on the mentality described in the book, especially in the soft-talk approach, very much in the tradition of Sun-tze (If you are capable, show your opponent that you are not; if you are not capable, show your oppoent you can.) The recent admission that the PLA is 20 years behind western military sophistication is more likely to be deliverate deceiving rather than a rare show of humility.
The deployment of long range land based ballistic missile systems is not something to brush aside for the US and if the Chinese (meaning the current one in Beijing)lacks wisdom in good governance, it is never short of resourcefulness in exploiting Achilles heel of its opponents and disguising their intention until they are ready.
Two things were missed out in the book: 1. The Chinese government is far less concerned about casualities inflicted on its military and civilians than the US. Mao has declared that even can China afford to lose half of its population in an all out war, as long as it can achieve final victory and 2. though the book presents frightening scenerios in tactical analysis, it seems the Chinese may not have the resources to execute all of them in restricted span of time, (for example, they cannot tackle the tast of destroying the Japanese destroyers (using 150-200 firt line aircrafts) and achieving surprise to launch an anti-carrrier group assualt). At least, not yet. Also, the critical factor will be the guidance system and hence who can knock out the other's satellites while adequately protecting ones' own as well as cyber-war prowess would determine the outcome.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although quite short, this is a good book covering the rapid rise of the PLAN (People's Liberation Army-Navy) and its strategies to meet the challenges of the USN in Asia-Pacific region. It is a timely read as currently serious disputes are happening in the South China and East China Seas; and accusations of incursions in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan/East Sea. There is no question that China Navy (PLAN) has intentions to replace the USN's domination in these waters (1st Island Chain) within 10 years, and pose a major challenge in the Western Pacific (2nd Island Chain) and the Indian Ocean in about 20 years time. Suggest all serving Naval Officers, researchers and those interested in Asian maritime affairs make it a point to read this book and be kept updated. After all it could not only be "The Red Star over the Pacific", but if care is not taken now, and there is no naval balance of power, Mao's dream of "THE EAST IS RED" could become a reality. Advill
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A more appropriate title for this book is "Red Star Over the Western Pacific". In 9 chapters and 224 pages, Yoshihara and Holmes eloquently demonstrate that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) can conduct anti-access and area denial strategies against the USN to the 2nd island chain. Essentially, China has a "Great Wall at Sea" in the Western Pacific (attributed to NWU's Bernard Cole) and the United States would be wise to consider its diplomatic and military options. Should the U.S. be concerned? The answer depends on whether you consider East Asia vital to America's national security. Please note that if you are looking to get to the heart of the book, read Chapter 7 on China's soft power.
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