China’s International Behavior: Activism, Opportunism, and Diversification

Without plunging too deeply into the byzantine intricacies of the making of Chinese foreign policy, in China’s International Behavior (RAND, 2009) Evan Medeiros has written an excellent primer covering how China’s worldview is evolving in light of its own rise and international events. Based in Washington, DC with the RAND Corporation, Dr. Medeiros is particularly sensitive to the gap between how China is perceived within the Beltway and the reality in China itself, and he writes to attempt to bridge that gap.

His book is thus interesting to China hands new and old because even as he encapsulates China’s diplomatic Weltanschauung and its resulting approach to global affairs, he provides a twixt-the-lines look at the vast gaps in the appreciation American policymakers have of their new competitor/partner/rival in Asia.

Highly recommended and topical reading for this Chinese New Year holiday, whether you have time off or not.

BTW, if you are a subscriber to Foreign Affairs, Medeiros co-authored this superb essay, “China’s New Diplomacy” in 2003. Very, very worth the read, underscoring that the hints of China’s new global assertiveness were evident eight years ago. So, one wonders, why are any of us surprised?

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