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China Goes Global: The Partial Power [Hardcover]

David Shambaugh
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Mar 2013
Most global citizens are well aware of the explosive growth of the Chinese economy. Indeed, China has famously become the "workshop of the world." Yet, while China watchers have shed much light on the country's internal dynamics—China's politics, its vast social changes, and its economic development—few have focused on how this increasingly powerful nation has become more active and assertive throughout the world.

In China Goes Global, eminent China scholar David Shambaugh delivers the book that the world has been waiting for—a sweeping account of China's growing prominence on the international stage. Thirty years ago, China's role in global affairs beyond its immediate East Asian periphery was decidedly minor and it had little geostrategic power. As Shambaugh charts, though, China's expanding economic power has allowed it to extend its reach virtually everywhere—from mineral mines in Africa, to currency markets in the West, to oilfields in the Middle East, to agribusiness in Latin America, to the factories of East Asia. Shambaugh offers an enlightening look into the manifestations of China's global ambitions: its extensive commercial footprint, its growing military power, its increasing cultural influence or "soft power," its diplomatic activity, and its new prominence in global governance institutions.

But Shambaugh is no alarmist. In this balanced and well-researched volume, he argues that China's global presence is more broad than deep and that China still lacks the influence befitting a major world power—what he terms a "partial power." He draws on his decades of China-watching and his deep knowledge of the subject, and exploits a wide variety of previously untapped sources, to shed valuable light on China's current and future roles in world affairs.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (7 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199860149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199860142
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.3 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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a fascinating and scholarly challenge to the received wisdom about China's rise, and an important critique of the accepted narrative of Chinese expansionism. (The Economist)

About the Author

David Shambaugh is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and Director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University. He is also Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. Professor Shambaugh is a recognized international authority and author on China. His most recent books include Charting China's Future: Domestic & International Challenges; China's Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation; International Politics of Asia; and Power Shift: China and Asia's New Dynamics. He also previously served as Editor of The China Quarterly (the world's leading journal of contemporary Chinese studies).

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must have guide to today's China 14 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For anybody deeply interested in China's rise this is an important book to have. Written by one of the world's foremost experts on China's internal politics and international relations, it is packed with detailed research into every aspect of the emerging civilization-state.

As a scholar of Chinese politics, I particularly appreciated the analysis of Chinese academia's view of things, which gives us the view from the other side of the fence, rarely to be found in standard Western literature. Also very useful was the frequent use of Chinese terminology (including characters) for familiar IR concepts such as soft power, peaceful rise, and so on.

Highly recommended to Sinophiles, Sinologists, and anybody simply interested in the most important real-life story of our age.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars diappointing 8 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
On the plus side: lots of fascinating data, lots of detailed, deep information and facts about the political and economic developments in China.
On the minus side, an almost total lack of explanations, conclusions.
Reads more like a recipe than a gastronomical review.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super 21 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Super quick delivery and looks like a great read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A realistic appraisal of China's success by someone who knows 2 Aug 2013
By dr johnson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In 1990 I moved to Pudong, a farming area on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River, the river which divides East from West Shanghai. This was a year before Pudong was declared a Special Economic Zone and I was one of only three foreigners living there at the time. 23 years later Pudong is China's financial capital, boasts several of the world's tallest buildings and it is home to many global companies. According to a 2011 China census there are now about 50,000 foreign residents in Pudong. So nowadays when people talk up China I am inclined to agree because I have seen the change first hand

In his book China Goes Global, the Partial Power, David Shambaugh, a China expert at George Washington University, acknowledges China's epochal metamorphosis from one of the poorest and, some would argue, insignificant countries in the world to one of the wealthiest. He calls this transformation, as many have before him, the "big story of our time." Yet Shambaugh does not subscribe to the hype about China's global dominance, either present or forthcoming. He writes: "Some observers have already proclaimed that China will rule the world, This prospective is profoundly overstated and incorrect in my view. ......China has a long way to go before it becomes, if it ever becomes a true Global power. And it will never rule the world."

Shambaugh argues convincingly that China's global presence nowadays is in his words "shallow." Not only does China not have strong international alliances, say the way US and other western Countries do ( Chinese strongest alliances are often with closed failed states like North Korea, and Russia), but China ranks very low on many surveys which measure a country's global standing and effectiveness. Where other nations are committed to international humanitarian causes, the sole purpose of China's global undertakings Shambaugh argues is to bolster its own economy and it seldom if ever takes initiative in solving global problems e.g. environmental problems.

And the Chinese economy is not what it seems according to Shambaugh. China's global dominance in exports is largely owing to Chinese Government policies which have artificially given Chinese makers an advantage over manufacturers in other countries e.g. currency manipulation that keeps the RMB undervalued and subsidies of SOE ( state owned enterprises). Shambaugh also argues that China;s main exports are low-value consumer goods and that China lags far behind real global powers like the US and Japan in terms of exporting financial services and high value products. All of these are valid criticisms.

One reason that China has failed to export its financial services sector to other countries is that management in Chinese companies is often mired in inefficiency and lacks a true global mindset. And this explains why so many of China's international Mergers and Acquisitions - a lot in recent years - are failing. I would have to say that I think Shambaugh is onto something here. Although I have seen China vendor performance improve over the last 20 years e.g. vendors are more upfront about their capabilities than they used to be, working with China vendors is half of the time an exercise in frustration. Vendors still refuse to take responsibility for a mistake, think nothing about misleading customers and if they do not like the project you are offering them they will simply not reply. In my own dealings with vendors in China I often feel that I am dealing with the same people I was dealing with 20 years ago. Progress can be very slow.

As I near the end of China Goes Global I find myself thinking back to a visit to Guangzhou a couple of years ago. I was standing at my hotel window one morning admiring the Guangzhou cityscape which seems to grow taller with each visit of mine to that city. On the expressway below me I spotted a car backing up on the shoulder of the road, an inherently dangerous maneuver. Obviously the driver had gotten off at the wrong exit and rather than get off at the next exit and go back, they had decided it was easier to back up on the expressway. I saw this vignette as being very emblematic of modern China: Progress all around but prevailing attitudes and customs which belie that progress. And this is Shambaugh's point. China changes but it remains the same.

Still, in the end I am not sure that Shambaugh is not being a little reckless with his claim that China will never `rule the world.' When he writes this I cannot help but think back that day in 1990 when I stood on the main road in Pudong and waited for over an hour for a bus that was not dangerously overcrowded (seven busses in all). If someone had told me as I waited on the dusty road where bicycles outnumbered cars 500-1 that in a space of 20 years Pudong would be one of the financial capitals of Asia ( where cars probably now outnumber bicycles 500-1) I would not have believed them. But it happened. So if China one day "rules the world" or does not, only time will tell.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Globalizing China in Search of both an Identity and Place around the World 12 May 2013
By Serge J. Van Steenkiste - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
David Shambaugh challenges with much dexterity the conventional wisdom that China already has all the tools to be a global great power. China comes out as a confused and conflicted rising power. Although the country has become prosperous, it feels at the same time that its national security is at risk and that the world has not shown the international respect that it craves.

Mr. Shambaugh explores the diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military footprints of China around the world to prove to his readers that China is only a partial power in each of these four dimensions.

1) Diplomatically, China comes out as risk-averse and narrowly self-absorbed. The country is primarily concerned with domestic economic development and the image and longevity of the ruling Communist Party. China has shown both little interest in global governance and discomfort with the liberal international order set by the West after WWII.
2) Economically, China increasingly has a decisive influence on global trade and the imports of energy and raw materials through its mercantilism. However, Chinese outbound investments and multinationals have not yet had much impact on the rest of the world. Similarly, China's aid programs reflect both a lack of size commensurate with its status of world's second-largest economy and a frequent non-compliance with international donor standards.
3) Culturally, China is not generating emulation because of the sui generis nature of its culture and the lack of a transferrable economic experience. Nonetheless, the country has a clear impact on tourism and art purchasing around the world.
4) Militarily, China does not come even close to the U.S. in conventional global power-projection capacities. However, China qualifies as a global power in the areas of missile forces, space-based capabilities, and cyber forces. Furthermore, China has not been good at cultivating allies as the U.S. has done due to its erratic, inconsistent foreign policies over time.

Therefore, Mr. Shambaugh invites his audience to rethink the rise of China. He agrees with Joseph Nye that the greatest danger is that China overestimates itself and the U.S. overestimates China, especially in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Finally, Mr. Shambaugh succinctly explains to his readers that the realist, liberal, and constructivist mainstream international relations schools seek to condition and shape China's rise. He calls for fine-tuning the efficacy, logic, and strategy of integrating China into the institutions, rules, laws, and norms of the international community. Therefore, Mr. Shambaugh emphasizes training schemes for Chinese professionals more carefully focused on the key areas of civil society, media, rule of law, government transparency, human rights, and global governance.

In summary, Mr. Shambaugh convincingly demonstrates that China is only a partial power diplomatically, economically, culturally, and militarily whose integration into the international community is a work in progress.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars China Goes Global very readable, filled with insight 17 Mar 2013
By Roland Barker - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
David Shambaugh has visited or lived in China every year since 1979, which has given him a unique opportunity to watch China rise from the end of the Cultural Revolution to its place in the world today. His books on China's Communist Party, its military and its leaders are required reading among his peers. China Goes Global will fit the same bill but it also is very readable for amateur China watchers, which we all should be. China's economic might has spread its financial infrastructure around the world. But Shambaugh says without influence, soft power, its economic power is limited.
28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but Somewhat Biased 7 Feb 2013
By Loyd E. Eskildson - Published on
Author Shambaugh believes that the rise of China is the big story of our era. He undertook the research for this book as a reaction to most academics viewing China through an increasingly miniscule area of focus, missing the forest for the trees; another problem he saw is that too many simply evaluated China's actions in light of various theories (predominately traditional economics and liberal political science). Overall, Shambaugh believes that the elements of China's power are weak and uneven, less influential than thought. This assertion, however, is based on the assumption that America's approach of pursuing a broad base of influence continues to be effective, even after the Great Recession, our weakened economy (high unemployment, large and growing deficits), stalemated government, and the growth of asymmetric warfare capabilities by China, Iran, and Russia that now can largely neutralize America's vaunted Blue Water Navy.

Shambaugh sees a strong reluctance by the Chinese to get involved in foreign entanglements, seeing them as diversions that can sap its economic and military strength. A special Chinese concern has been avoiding conflict with major established powers. It prefers to be seen as conducting 'peaceful development,' rather than seen as 'rising' or 'reviving.' When Deng Xiaoping took command in 1978 the national policy agenda, foreign and military policy included, was focused on economic development - ergo the West and Asia's advanced economies. Subsequently its appetite for energy and raw materials has broadened its foreign policy interests to include natural resource supplier states.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power staking its legitimacy on overturn the old order in which Western imperialists and Japanese 'devils' plundered, killed, and humiliated it. The CCP's claim to political legitimacy also includes pursuing claim to Taiwan and maximizing the grandeur in which its leaders are received abroad while minimizing embarrassment by public protests or openly aired disputes with foreign leaders. After China's recent territorial disputes with a number of nearby nations, no Asian nation, except possibly North Korea and Pakistan, fully trusts it; even small but independent neighboring Mongolia, Myanmar, and Nepal all fear being swallowed by Chinese capital and immigration - they have taken steps to distance themselves from its influence. Russia has also imposed limits on Chinese immigration, thereby also shielding Europe.

China's 2012 budget for internal security ($111 billion) exceeded that of the military for external security ($107 billion). Chinese leaders see that the best way to maintain order is to be benevolent and unified; leadership divisions are viewed as an invitation for internal and external forces to take advantage.

One senior CCP Central Committee member estimated that only 10-15% of its top leaders' time is spent on international affairs. The CCP's International Department claims to maintain ties with over 400 political parties in 140 nations and receives about 200 delegations/year - their purpose being to monitor the outside world, absorb lessons for its own use, and provide positive first impressions for rising foreign leaders. Each day bout 9,000 travel between the U.S. and China; during the 2011-12 academic year nearly 160,000 Chinese studied in American universities and about 20,000 Americans in China. There are 300 million Chinese learning English and about 200,000 Americans learning Chinese. Dialogues between the two nations are generally consultative, where each side informs the other of its preferences and policies rather than forging real cooperation and coordination. The sphere of cooperation appears to be shrinking - possibly because the two nations are frequently bumping into each other in new areas of the world and now even in space; others believe this is a result of growing Chinese self-confidence after the 2008 Great Recession in the U.S. American ongoing surveillance along China's coastline, strengthening U.S. alliances (Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand) and ties (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Vietnam) don't help relationships, nor do our continued arms sales to Taiwan and the European/American arms embargo vs. China. U.S. concerns include Chinese currency manipulation, theft of intellectual property rights, espionage and hacking, and barriers to outside investment.

China is pushing to weaken the power and influence of the West via phasing out the dollar as the world's reserve currency. (Even the world Bank expects the dollar to lose world dominance by 2025.) From 2005-11 the RMB appreciated about 25% vs. the dollar. China sees itself as not trying to overturn the international system, just reforming it to recognize China's growing power, encourage multi-polarization and empowerment of developing nations. Experts see China as more concerned with its own interests than contributing to a collective good. Some Chinese rationalize this on the basis that 'responsibility theory' is but another way to get China to accede to U.S. wishes, others that China has too many internal problems to afford the luxury of contributing to global issues.

China has learned to milk the international aid system - by the end of 2009 the World Bank had cumulatively committed $46 billion in loans to it, involving 309 projects, more than for any other nation; it also has received $19.25 billion from the Asian Development Bank.

Between 1996-2007 it voted with the U.S. only 11% of the time, though 93% in agreement in Security Council votes. BY the end of 2008, China was signatory to over 300 treaties. It has been among the least frequent users of veto power among the P-5 members of the U.N. Security Council - 21 from 1971 to 1996, and only 5 from 1996 to 2011; instead, it often expresses 'principled opposition' via abstention - in over half the Council votes cast. It seems sanctions as a last resort. Supports Interpol, public health issues, environmental improvement (its own record being largely the opposite), and nuclear non-proliferation.

China has had the highest average GDP growth of any nation over the past two decades, averaging 10.2%/year. It has four of the world's top ten banks (measured by capitalization), the largest foreign exchange reserves ($3.2 trillion), the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt ($1.6 trillion), and is the world's largest exporter. Its best chip factories are 2 - 3 generations behind the leaders. Huawei has 120,000 employees (half in R&D), and now offers foreign government access to its source code and security checks. China is the largest global manufacturer in 28 of 32 household appliance categories - mostly for domestic consumption; its Haier is best known for refrigerators, with 10% of the world market. Lenovo is #2 seller of PCs (about half in China), and China also owns Volvo.

China spends $7 - $10 billion/year on overseas publicity - eg. training in Chinese language, sponsoring cultural events; it is now buying into U.S. movie firms. China has no foreign bases or stationing, except under U.N. sponsorship. Its defense spending is 1.4% of GDP (reportedly understated - should be about 1.6%) - their analysis showed that excessive defense spending was one of the reasons the U.S.S.R. collapsed. Defense spending in China has risen from $15 billion in 2000 to $105 billion in 2012. It is still unable to land hundreds of thousands on Taiwan or enforce a total blockade around it. Its Navy has made the greatest advances, helped by buying Russian technology. China is now giving priority to silent submarines and 'carrier-killer' missiles. Its ICBMs are mobile (hard to track) and solid-fueled (faster launch). Its the third nation to put a man into space (2003), and set up a space station in 2011. China is also known for strong cyber forces - DOD reported nearly 90,000 attacks in 2009.

China is not significantly influencing world affairs, per Shambaugh - and that is his measure of true global power. Two exceptions - its contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations and anti piracy naval operations in the Gulf of Aden.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars splendid analysis 2 Mar 2013
By Ward A. Fredericks - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
David Shambaugh provides a splendid analysis of the growth of international power and
presence of China. He has a perspective informed by wide study of the culture and the economy,
and provides a beautifully written tour of the topic. Recognizing Chinas decisions to focus
on limited aspects of world power projection, he details the background and evidence of
confusion as well as wisdom.
An open writing style makes this an enjoyable read. The level of detail demonstrates the scholarship
and level of knowlege Shambaugh brings to this work.
This is a must read for any serious student of current China.
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