Category: Uncategorized

China Views India’s Rise

In this chapter for Strategic Asia 2011-12, I examine how Chinese foreign policy elites view the rise of India.  I make two main arguments:

  • Contrary to the conventional wisdom, China views India’s rise as a positive development that promotes China’s own core interests and strategic objectives more than it threatens or challenges them. Enhanced cooperation with a rising India allows Beijing to avoid a potentially costly confrontation that would harm the growth of both countries, block the formation of a close U.S.-India relationship, and reduce the overall influence of the U.S. over China.
  • China’s strategy toward a rising India combines engagement with deterrence. China pursues comprehensive political, economic, and international engagement with India to advance its broader strategic objectives. China also seeks to deter India from undermining Chinese interests by withholding cooperation or maintaining its policies on specific issues, such as its ties with Pakistan.

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China’s Search for Assured Retaliation

After exploding its first nuclear device in 1964, China did not develop sufficient forces or doctrine to overcome its vulnerability to a first strike by the United States or the Soviet Union for more than three decades. Two factors explain this puzzling willingness to live with nuclear vulnerability: (1) the views and beliefs of senior leaders about the utility of nuclear weapons and the requirements of deterrence, and (2) internal organizational and political constraints on doctrinal innovation. Even as China’s technical expertise grew and financial resources for modernization became available after the early 1980s, leadership beliefs have continued to shape China’s approach to nuclear strategy, reflecting the idea of assured retaliation (i.e., using the fewest number of weapons to threaten an opponent with a credible second strike). The enduring effect of these leadership ideas has important implications for the trajectory of China’s current efforts to modernize its nuclear force.

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The Limits of Diversion

In this article in Security Studies, I challenge the diversionary theory of war. The diversionary hypothesis offers a powerful alternative to rationalist explanations of war based on the state as a unitary actor. Most recently, it has been used to explain why democratizing states are more likely to initiate the use of force. In the past two decades, however, quantitative tests have produced mixed and often contradictory empirical results regarding the relationship between domestic unrest and external conflict. This article uses a modified “most likely” case study research design to test the hypothesis. Examination of Argentina’s seizure of the Falkland Islands and Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, two cases that should be easy for diversion to explain, provide surprisingly little empirical support for the hypothesis, raising doubts about its wider validity as well as the relationship between democratization and war.

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