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A War Like No Other: The Truth About China's Challenge to America Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 30, 2007

3 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 0471986771 Edition: 1st

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, March 30, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In dense, academic prose, Brookings Institution scholars O'Hanlon and Bush argue that a war with China is neither as implausible as it might appear nor as inevitable as history would suggest. The likely cause for military intervention, they propose, would come not from China's rise as a regional and global power, nor from the growing threat it poses to the U.S.'s economic strength, nor from its curtailment of human rights-all of which could be addressed diplomatically-but rather the political situation of Taiwan, the semi-autonomous island 100 miles from the mainland, whose independence could upset delicate U.S-China relations. The authors present a number of possible conflict scenarios and discuss the sorts of legislative and diplomatic action that could get the U.S. into them, but wisely avoid bombast by noting regularly that war with China remains unlikely. The only passages of general interest here are those on Taiwanese history; the legislative and diplomatic prescriptions that constitute the majority of the book, while comprehensive and reasonable, will fail to excite even interested lay readers. Professors and lawmakers would do well to read this volume, if only for the reminder that, in this time of seemingly insuperable international dilemma, some problems can still be solved with a bit of level-headed diplomatic maneuvering.
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Review

"A supremely thoughtful, sober assessment of what is one of the most dangerous fault lines in the world today. The authors carefully avoid unduly alarmist assessments, yet convincingly demonstrate that miscalculation and misinformation could produce the unthinkable."
James B. Steinberg, Dean, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Clinton

"A modern classic for those who think seriously about the prospective national security challenges confronting the United States in a dangerous world. It is must reading for everyone who recognizes that the Asia-Pacific region is where the real drama of the 21st Century will play out."
Kurt M. Campbell, Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies

"A War Like No Other provides a riveting case study about grand crisis and the key insights for managing one successfully. We have been managing this crisis between China and Taiwan for some years now; we know the actors, we know the issues, and we even know the flashpoints firsthand. China is a deliberate actor; we should be able to anticipate her actions, reactions, signaling, and potential use of force from her most recent interventions in Korea, India, and Vietnam. These patterns give hope that this crisis can be contained, perhaps someday resolved. Yet, China-Taiwan remains a dangerous standoff, mandating that all, who represent any of the actors, read this study."
General Eric K. Shinseki, U.S. Army (Retired)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471986771
  • ASIN: B005FOH3RE
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,972,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on December 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
America's reaction to Tiananmen Square, quick victory in the first Persian Gulf War, and Taiwan have changed China from modest growth in military spending to accelerated military modernization and buildup. Its acquisitions (long-range missiles, aerial refueling capabilities, advanced destroyers and submarines - mostly acquired from Russia) cannot be explained simply as preparations for possible war against Taiwan, a mere 100 miles offshore. In addition, when "push comes to shove," China believes we are more interested in Los Angeles than Taiwan. Meanwhile, the FBI believes China has set up over 3,000 "front" companies to acquire military or industrial technology illegally from the U.S.

On the other hand, China has also achieved some very positive steps - fostering economic growth and a very successful anti-poverty program, reduced oppression of its people, and cessation of fomenting Communist takeovers among its neighbors.

The authors list a number of possible causes of war between the U.S. and China, and heavily discount them all - except for the issue of Taiwan. Not only is this a very serious "face" issue for the Chinese government, it has also become one for the U.S. as well.

Bottom Line: "A War Like No Other" is a reasonably good book; however, I greatly prefer "China: Fragile Superpower" by Susan Shirk for its broader perspective.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael Cole on November 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The thin red line in the Taiwan Strait

War involving Taiwan, China and the US is improbable, but even a small likelihood that it could happen should be enough to keep us awake at night

If the world is to see its first hot war between two nuclear superpowers in the 21st century, its principal cause will likely be a small democracy of 23 million people. Or so argue Richard Bush and Michael O'Hanlon in their timely A War Like No Other.

Bush, a former director at the American Institute in Taiwan and current director of the Center for Northeast Asian Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and O'Hanlon, a senior military analyst at Brookings, use their considerable knowledge in the fields of diplomacy and defense to show how the longstanding political dispute between Taipei and Beijing over Taiwan's sovereignty could escalate to devastating effect and why world leaders should do everything in their power to avoid this contingency from becoming reality.

In commandingly clear prose and avoiding overly technical terminology, the authors explain why the decades-old US policy of mutual deterrence against Beijing's hard-line "one China" stance and Taipei's desire for sovereignty has worked and why future US administrations should continue to abide by this guiding principle. By opposing unilateral moves by Taipei to break the status quo -- such as the declaration of a Taiwan Republic -- while providing assurances, as stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), that the US would help Taiwan defend itself against an unprovoked Chinese military attack, Washington's strategy has been to create space and buy time so that leaders on both sides of the Strait can resolve the conflict peacefully.
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I like this book. It has a in-depth analysis of the strategic relationship with potential challenges and opportunities.
Actually, nobody is willinng to see a war between the two giants with no winner.
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