Living With China This is a book Summary I did for an International Polictics Course. I do not wish to have my name published, because if the teacher found out I submitted it I would be expelled. I attend SUNY in NY, USA. I recieved an A on this paper. The only comments she made was that I needed to replace the Whichs with thats & I needed to have a page for siting.
Book Summary : Living With China Living With China: U.S. -China Relations in the Twenty-First Century is a book edited by Ezra F. Vogel which assess the political, economic, and human rights issues which the U.S. must consider in developing a consistent and mutually beneficial foreign relations policy toward China in the twenty-first century. Tension between U.S.- China relations date back to World War Two.
Additionally, the Tienanmen Square incident in 1989, further aggravated U.S.-China relations. Since the end of the Cold War, and especially since 1991, the United States has had no consistent foreign policy in regards to China. This book is a compilation of background papers, from numerous authors, which were written for the November 1996, American Assembly meeting whose purpose was to discuss and work to reach a consensus on U.S.-China relations. The essays deal with the issues that will mold future relations with China. The book consists of an Introduction, eight chapters and an Address to The American Assembly given by Senator Sam Nunn. The introduction gives a brief overview of political events and history which have led to the then current (1997) state of relations between the United Sates and China.
In addition, it gives a concise, clear summary of what issues China and the U.S. agree upon and which issues they do not. The most notable disagreements between U.S. and China are over Taiwan and Tibet, and human rights. The introduction further goes on to include a summary of each chapter in the book. The eight chapters include topics on issues over Tawain, Tibet, Hong Kong, the Tiananmen Square incident, international commerce, Chinese economics, environmental concerns, and commercial diplomacy. The first chapter, written by Michelle Oksenberg, evaluates the distinctive problems that U.S.-China relations face in regards to Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Oksenberg explains the conflicting perceptions that the U.S.
and China have on these issues. The United States is worried about what effect Chinese control over Hong Kong may have on global economy, interested in maintaining acceptable treatment of Tibetans, and wishes to guard Taiwan from possible Chinese threat or Force. China sees these as “unwarranted intrusions into its domain,” [pg. 94] and a strategy to keep China weak. Oskenberg opines that the United states and China must have more talks to remedy these differences while having more empathy and understanding of the other’s view.
Chapter two is written by Douglas H. Paal and examines China’s increasing economic and military influence and how it is likely to affect the entire East Asian region. There is a delicate balance between the U.S.’s protection of other Asian countries and not provoking China. Again, the need for increased, consistent communications between the U.S. and China are emphasized.
Paal advises that China is willing to work with the U.S. as long as it comes from a rational base, rather than whims and emotional reactions. In his conclusion, Paal opines that “to some degree tensions and perceived provocation will be necessary and inevitable component of a policy intended to dissuade China and others from counterproductive paths.” Chapter 3 is written by David Lampton, and discusses the undoubted need for China’s, and especially Beijing’s, involvement in world organizations. He makes clear the U.S. and the world organizations should avoid alienating China. This is because China is one of the rising global powers and it’s strong sense of nationalism cannot be injured without suffering a negative effect on the rest of the world.
Chapter 4 is written by Dwight Perkins, and as its title states, analyzes “How China’s Economic Transformation Shapes Its Future.” [Pg. 141] The author goes into long discussion about the changing economics and increasing wealth in China and what effects this may have globally and the United States. It is concluded that, even though, the United States has little control over how China chooses to grow into becoming a global power, it is in the U.S.’s best interest to encourage China to do so within the global economic system and join the World Trade Organization. Chapter 5 is written by Harry Harding and focuses on the major issue of human rights. The major conflict is in that the American public views China’s treatment of rebel, labor unions, child labor, and illegality of religion are innately wrong and most believe, via the press and Tiananmen Square, that human rights in China have diminished.
China on the other hand, sees that it has made great progress in this area including giving more power to the legislative bodies, and popularizing the local elections, and feels slighted by America’s inability to recognize this. It sees America’s pressures through sanctions and removing its priority nation status as nothing more than to keep China weak. The basics are that the two country’s innate political values and ideology conflict and make resolving this issue quite difficult. The author’s conclusion is to mange the issue by China taking on a program of gradual political reform and understand the rest of the world’s concerns about its human rights activities and the United State’s creating an open-minded definition of human rights and that the two should learn to cooperate with each other to resolve this issue. Chapter 6 is written by Julia Chang Bloch and focus on business and economic relations between the U.S.
and China. This is one of the areas where the U.S. and China get along quite well, but is often dynamically affected by other issues such as human rights. To keep these relations from being negatively affected the author believes that the U.S. must recognize China as an emerging world power, involve China in the global community and coax China to follow the political and economical rules set in place, encourage China to be involved in global decision making including joining the WTO, and promote trade and investment between China, to bind and build ties with China. Chapter 7 is written by Michael McElroy and Chris Neilson and centers around the challenges China faces in regards to air pollution and their climate.
The Chinese government realizes how important these are to their future, but faces many economic restraints in doing so. Having the largest population of all the countries, causes it to consume a large amount of energy, and hence almost two thirds of its energy needs are satisfied through the burning of coal, despite the environmental consequences. Working with China in developing long term solutions to these problems will politically and economically benefit both countries. Chapter 8 is written by Kenneth Lieberthal and reviews what has affected the policies of China and the U.S. from 1989 to 1996, which have consequently resulted in the current state of foreign relations between the two.
The ongoing theme of the chapter is that by the two countries misunderstanding each others policies a vicious web of increasing distrust has been formed. Again, the need for more communication to work out the misunderstanding is stressed. One of the things that gleams at me after reading this book, is how similar China and the U.S. are to Germany and Eastern Europe prior to World War 2, and the U.S. and Russia during the Cold War.
China is a proud country which is eager to become a global power. The united Sates, recognizing this, wishes to guide China into a place which will be beneficial and non threatening to the U.S., but China sees this as interference and angered by it. In addition, the U.S. wants to see China become a more democratic nation, and by attempting to force its views, has caused China to believe that the U.S. wishes to weaken them. Although the current state of relations, in regards to Taiwan, is not at the degree it once was it does mimic some cold war politics.
I chose this book because of my interest of the United State’s future foreign relations with China. I did not have a clear understanding of the dynamics of the foreign polices of the two until I read this book. I am now able to fully understand the complicated web of issues which affect the foreign policy making decisions for the United States in regards to China. Furthermore, I was unaware of the U.S. involvement with Taiwan, so I learned something there too. My only complaint is that at times it is often redundant, due to the numerous authors. The same information could have easily been given in 100 fewer pages.
Overall I found Living With China, to be very informative. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to better understand U.S.-China relations.