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.
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.
David Shambaugh provides a comprehensive, and highly academic account of both China's foreign policy and it's impact on the world stage, with the overall thesis that China is in many respects, a partial power, as opposed to a global power like the United States. Although China's impact is widely felt in many areas, not least of which is the economic realm, Shambaugh provides various case studies throughout the book that show that China's impact is not yet on a par with the United States, and that proclamations like "rule the world" (a counterargument to Martin Jacques's best seller) are at this stage, premature. China has an ambivalent, and in some ways, half-hearted approach to global governance, and it's impact is rarely felt in areas that do not coincide with it's core interests. This in many ways aligns with it's comparatively slow awakening on the global scene, with the early years of the PRC being insular and inward looking, followed by Deng Xiaoping's dictum of keeping a low profile. While many differing voices exist, and are examined within this book, many of which call for a more strident, aggressive posture on the world stage, Chinese foreign policy remains largely a purely realist school of thought, with a general ambivalence toward involvement in areas far beyond it's orbit, although this is gradually changing. China's economic impact, and the power prediction of it's military are examined in detail, and this also shows that China is still a partial power. The military lacks the means for extensive power prediction, as opposed to the US, and China still lacks a full Blue Water Navy. Shambaugh's overall conclusions are that China's ascendancy has been largely overestimated, and that great power conflict, such as a scenario wherein China and US stumble into conflict due to a declining power being unable to give way to a rising power, are largely exaggerated. While some may not share the author's views, China Goes Global is still an excellent account of both China's foreign policy and it's global impact, and is an essential read for understanding both Chinese foreign policy, and China's impact on the world stage.