China’s Quest For Great Power: Ships, Oil, And Foreign Policy, by Bernard D. Cole
As someone who likes to read about and think about matters of geopolitics and the tension between China and the United States over matters of economic and military hegemony from time to time, as it’s the closest to horror that I like to indulge in my reading tastes , I decided to take the opportunity to read this book when it was available from the Naval Historical Institute, which I haven’t read as many books from recently as I would prefer largely because I have been a bit slow on the draw requesting books before someone else gets them. Anyway, I received this book recently and thought that it was a case where the title was fairly self-explanatory, as a look at the grand strategy of China as it relates to military, economic, and diplomatic efforts at increasing China’s status as a rulemaker (and rulebreaker) in the international scene. Flipping through the book, the author has a lot to say about China’s preference for bilateral relations where it can flex its weight rather than multilateral negotiations.
I find this to be of great interest myself, for although diplomatic history is not the most common genre of writing for me to read, it is something I find deeply interesting. China’s unwillingness to pursue multilateral diplomacy and its dislike of the Westphalian diplomatic order seems somewhat puzzling, given the possibilities for multilateral diplomacy to ensure the best interests and security of all parties involved and, at least theoretically, allows for solutions to be solved in the most effective way by getting everyone on board. Yet China’s strategy, for all of its complexities and tensions, is certainly a rational and coherent one, if not necessarily one that is interested in the well-being of all parties involved. Considering the immense importance of China to the world economically and its desire to rise to a high status militarily and diplomatically as well, it is a worthwhile and practical task to read about and seek to understand China, even it can be a horrifying matter sometimes. This is one book I expect to provide a great deal of thoughtful analysis.
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