Strategic Reassurance and Resolve: U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century

James Steinberg, Author, Michael E Ohanlon, Author
James Steinberg and Michael E. O’Hanlon. Princeton Univ, $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-691-15951-5
Reviewed on: 03/24/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
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Syracuse University law professor Steinberg and Brookings Institution senior fellow O’Hanlon (coauthors of Protecting the American Homeland) stress the advantages of relative cooperation between the United States and China in spite of continual threats of an arms race and military confrontation. The authors review sources of U.S.–China conflict, rooted in familiar rivalries between established and rising powers, before even-handedly analyzing the two countries’ differing “strategic cultures” and regimes, and conjecturing what could go wrong in Taiwan and how relations could worsen on related issues, potentially leading to war. According to the authors, if skirmishes were to escalate, it would not be automatic and easy for the U.S. to prevail in any maritime engagement. Examining nuclear, space, and cyber domains succinctly, Steinberg and O’Hanlon reject “structural pessimism” and conclude with specific recommendations on defense budgets, nuclear coexistence, space wars, and spying. The book’s bland title will likely consign this well-reasoned, important book to a limited readership. However, the points Steinberg and O’Hanlon make deserve the attention of all readers interested in the connection between U.S. and China going forward. (June)
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