China's Search for Security

Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell

Columbia University Press

China's Search for Security

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Pub Date: December 2014

ISBN: 9780231140515

432 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $28.00£24.00

Pub Date: November 2012

ISBN: 9780231140508

432 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $32.95£28.00

Pub Date: November 2012

ISBN: 9780231511643

432 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $27.99£24.00

China's Search for Security

Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell

Columbia University Press

Despite its impressive size and population, economic vitality, and drive to upgrade its military, China remains a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful rivals and potential foes. Understanding China's foreign policy means fully appreciating these geostrategic challenges, which persist even as the country gains increasing influence over its neighbors. Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell analyze China's security concerns on four fronts: at home, with its immediate neighbors, in surrounding regional systems, and in the world beyond Asia. By illuminating the issues driving Chinese policy, they offer a new perspective on the country's rise and a strategy for balancing Chinese and American interests in Asia.

Though rooted in the present, Nathan and Scobell's study makes ample use of the past, reaching back into history to illuminate the people and institutions shaping Chinese strategy today. They also examine Chinese views of the United States; explain why China is so concerned about Japan; and uncover China's interests in such problematic countries as North Korea, Iran, and the Sudan. The authors probe recent troubles in Tibet and Xinjiang and explore their links to forces beyond China's borders. They consider the tactics deployed by mainland China and Taiwan, as Taiwan seeks to maintain autonomy in the face of Chinese advances toward unification. They evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of China's three main power resources—economic power, military power, and soft power.

The authors conclude with recommendations for the United States as it seeks to manage China's rise. Chinese policymakers understand that their nation's prosperity, stability, and security depend on cooperation with the United States. If handled wisely, the authors believe, relations between the two countries can produce mutually beneficial outcomes for both Asia and the world.

A fresh and new approach and beyond doubt the best book available on China's foreign policy.

Michael Yahuda, George Washington University

The rise of China is the most important international trend of our time, and this superb book is the best guide to it that I've seen. Broad, deep, and wise, it is simply an indispensable introduction to all aspects of China's ongoing encounter with the world at large. Any politician or pundit who wants to say anything at all about this subject should have to pass a test on Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell's tour de force before doing so.

Gideon Rose, editor, Foreign Affairs

For the scholar, student, and general reader, China's Search for Security is a source of value. Nathan and Scobell successfully view the world through Chinese eyes and provide just the right mix of interpretation and narrative. Nuggets of insight glitter on every page.

Richard Bush, Brookings Institution

Nathan and Scobell are extremely well qualified to assess China's foreign policy. As their book makes clear, understanding that policy is essential to the consideration of virtually every issue of international concern. I strongly recommend China's Search for Security to all those with an interest in global public policy.

Aryeh Neier, president emeritus, Open Society Foundations

Even though China's foreign policy has become more practical and confident, China's rise has generated regional and international anxiety. Nathan and Scobell probe the mix of forces reshaping Chinese strategic deliberations, providing the deepest insight yet into how Chinese decision-makers perceive their geostrategic predicaments and security challenges.

Zhe Sun, Center for U.S.–China Relations, Tsinghua University

[Nathan & Scobell] skillfully and fairly explore this complex and contradictory American-Chinese competition—without themselves being complex or contradictory.

Jonathan Mirsky, New York Review of Books

China's Search for Security is a good introductory text for students and policymakers without expertise in the area. It highlights and summarizes most of the critical issues associated with Chinese security policy

Robert Farley, H-Diplo

Comprehensive, persuasive, and empathetic, China's Search for Security offers a fresh look.

Kendrick Kuo, e-International Relations

This is a superb book, richly detailed, and will be required reading for anyone wishing to understand how China views its own situation.

David C. Kang, Journal of Asian Studies

A valuable survey of the foreign policy and national security behavior of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the many factors that bear upon it.

Christopher A. Ford, China Review International

Nathan and Scobell are senior scholars who know their subject matter well... Their analysis is thorough and generally judicious. China's Search for Security is useful in its systematic deflation of common fears about the rise of China.

Denny Roy, Contemporary Southeast Asia
Part I. Interest and Identity in Chinese Foreign Policy
1. What Drives Chinese Foreign Policy?
2. Who Runs Chinese Foreign Policy?
Part II. Security Challenges and Strategies
3. Life on the Hinge: China's Russia Policy During the Cold War and After
4. Deciphering the U.S. Threat
5. The Northeast Asia Regional System: Japan and the Two Koreas
6. China's Other Neighbors: The Asia-Pacific
7. China in the Fourth Ring
Part III. Holding Together: Territorial Integrity and Foreign Policy
8. Problems of Stateness: Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
9. Taiwan's Democratic Transition and China's Response
Part IV. Instruments of Power
10. Dilemmas of Opening: Power and Vulnerability in the Global Economy
11. Military Modernization: From People's War to Power Projection
12. Soft Power and Human Rights in Chinese Foreign Policy
Part V. Conclusion
13. Threat or Equilibrium?

Read an excerpt from chapter 1, "What Drives Chinese Foreign Policy" (to view in full screen, click on icon in bottom right-hand corner)

Web Features:

Andrew Nathan discusses the book with Human Rights in China

Andrew Nathan at the Carnegie Council's Thought Leaders Forum

Finalist – 2013 Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award

About the Author

Andrew J. Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. His books include Chinese Democracy; The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress; The Tiananmen Papers; China's New Rulers: The Secret Files; and How East Asians View Democracy.

Andrew Scobell is senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He is the author of China's Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March and the editor of more than a dozen books on the Chinese military and Asian security.