#Reviewing Fire on the Water & Meeting China Halfway

Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific. Robert Haddick. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2014.

Meeting China Halfway: How To Defuse Emerging China-U.S. Rivalry. Lyle Goldstein. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2015.

A pall hangs over Asia. At the center of this disquiet lies China, a nation too large and too proud for any power on its borders to long ignore. Ignore it they haven’t—China’s relations with  one neighbor after another worsen. This was not how it was supposed to be.

For years Americans have held the fevered dream that they might entice China to become “a responsible stakeholder” in the existing international system, a system they fondly label “a liberal rules based order.” It was always a desperate hope. The Chinese are not ruled by a liberal regime, and the regime that rules them cannot stomach any order whose rules are designed to force liberalism onto them. Americans were able to accommodate themselves to growing Chinese power because they hoped this would change—as China grew and became entangled with the wider world, the argument went, the wider world would change it.

It was not to be. Instead of opening themselves up to the currents of global culture, the Chinese Communist Party cracked down on every part of Chinese society with connections outside it, from Christian congregations to feminist activists. The Party also thought China might change with the wider world—and decided that the only thing to do was to move first, forcing the wider world to change with China instead.

Where to go from here? The Chinese have made their choice. They do not want our rules-based order. The ball is in our court now. The hard thing is knowing what to do with it.

There is no consensus on the proper response to China’s rising ambitions. Two ambitious military analysts have stepped into the void, each hoping their bold proposals might dispel the Asian pall and secure a peaceful future for the Pacific. They approach this problem from a similar starting point. Robert Haddick asks in the first chapter of Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific if the United States “can safely accommodate China’s rise.” His reply is unequivocal:

There is only one answer to that question: the United States must—it has no choice. China is a great power, with rapidly expanding economic, diplomatic, and military power... Both countries have an obligation, for both practical and moral reasons, to find a way to coexist.[1]

This sentiment also suffuses Lyle Goldstein’s Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging U.S.-China Rivalry. Goldstein states in the introduction to his book that Sino-American relations are “the most critical of bilateral relationships to world order for the current century, and likely the ones that follow as well.”[2] Both authors agree: China must be allowed some place in the international system. Consequently, they both reject  more militant calls for regime change. Their shared goal is to use a blend of American military and diplomatic assets to reach a stable and enduring peace in the Western Pacific.

The extraordinary thing is how two authors so thoroughly committed to the same goals, and working from such similar starting assumptions, can offer policy prescriptions that so sharply contradict each other.                                     

Fire On the Water

Robert Haddick’s book began as a classified report for Special Operations Command on the possible roles U.S. special forces might be expected to play in Asia’s future. Haddick soon realized a much broader review of U.S. forces’ position in the region was needed. Great changes were underway in East Asia, changes in the military balance of which many American leaders were not truly aware. Haddick suggests this is because an absolute disparity between the total size of the two rivals’ military budgets hides the weakness of the American position. What the People’s Liberation Army lacks in wealth, it has gained in focus. American military forces are deployed from one side of the globe to the other. Their doctrine and force structures suffer from the cross-cutting demands of the various theaters in which they may be asked to fight. The Chinese, in contrast, have focused, laser-like, on one objective for three decades: building a war machine that can keep the United States Navy away from its shores.

This intense focus on denying Americans access to the Chinese littoral (a strategy known in military jargon as an “anti-access/area denial” or A2/AD strategy) is ideally suited to the likely shape of a future Sino-American conflict. The operational contours of such a conflict will be determined primarily by geography and technology. The weapons of our day, launched from plane, submarine, ship, truck, or launch pad, are both able to travel extremely long distances and hit carefully selected targets when they arrive at their destinations. The lethality of these technologies will be familiar to anyone who has seen the televised pin-prick strikes of American forces in the Balkans or the Middle East. Their lethality is only increased when the targets chosen are at sea or in the air.  Under a mature precision strike regime there will be areas where ships and aircraft simply cannot go. The wars of Asia’s future will look like the Western Front in the First World War, but at sea. Each side would have a zone of control, protected by an interlocking network of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles designed to keep the other from approaching. In between would lie a vast stretch of no-man’s land (or in this case, water) that could only be entered with great peril. Such a war would be grim, attritional, and enormously expensive. In this crash of steel against steel, victory would favor the side whose forces can shoot farthest, disperse fastest, stay hidden longest, and, in the end, be replenished most easily.[3]

The Chinese have devoted three decades to establishing advantages in each of these areas. America is far less prepared for such a struggle. Haddick finds problems just about everywhere, ranging from doctrine to weapon platforms to basing. Many of the themes that dominate Haddick’s work are clearly articulated in his critique of this last issue. America’s bases suffer from a crisis of concentration in that all U.S. forces in the region are located in a few select locations: six air bases for the Air Force, five ports for the Navy, and three locations for the vast majority of American ground forces in the region. In contrast, Chinese air and missile power is widely dispersed, and many of its missile launchers are completely mobile, able to hide and then redeploy miles away after each volley is launched. This is a deadly asymmetry. As Haddick reports, just “thirty to fifty impacts would render even a large [Air Force] base unusable.”[4] China has already invested in thousands of surface-to-surface missiles (SSM) that fit the bill. The only real defense against their attack is anti-missile batteries, and these cost far more to build and repair than the swarm of missiles that will be sent streaking towards them.

Image from Robert Haddick, Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2014), 60.

Haddick reports that by 2020 the missile force will be joined by 400 or so ‘Flanker’ aircraft, originally designed in and purchased from Russia, but now produced indigenously as the Shenyang J-11. Though in many respects the technical inferior to American aircraft such as the F-22 and the F-35, these planes are their superiors in one critical trait: range. Chinese Flankers have an unrefueled combat radius of 1,500 km, putting them well within range of American air and naval bases in Japan and Korea. In contrast, the new F-35, which some analysts estimate comes at the cost of $330 million a copy, cannot travel more than 1,100 km away from its closest refueling point. The Flanker’s range ensures that bases in Korea and Japan “would not be able to safely host the tanker and early warning “enabler” aircraft on which U.S. tactical aircraft depend. U.S. Air Force operations in the Pacific would then depend on Guam, creating a risky single point of failure and a focus for Chinese targeting.”[5] When China’s 5th generation fighter, the J-20, goes into operation in 2018, it’s 2,000 km range threatens to push tanker and targeting aircraft out of the West Pacific altogether.[6]

This story repeats itself again and again. An American DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer costs $1.8 billion to build; the Russian designed SS-N-22 Sunburn supersonic anti-ship cruise missile intended to destroy it only costs $2 million. These missiles also out distance America’s own ship based anti-ship cruise missile, the A/U/RGM-84 Harpoon, by more than 250 kilometers. Even worse, Chinese land-based intermediate range missiles face no competition from the Americans at all, as the United States and Russia banned their development in a cold war treaty meant to reduce tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union. This means the only assets able to pierce the Chinese area of control are America’s long range stealth bombers and submarine force. These are expensive platforms, and they have a limited carrying capacity. For perspective, 864 Tomahawk missiles could be fired by U.S. submarines in the Pacific before needing to return to port to reload—a fraction of the 35,085 munitions used against the Iraqi army, a third rate power, during six weeks of operations during the Gulf war.[7]

Image from Robert Haddick, Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2014), 91.

Haddick proposes a suite of concrete measures to tilt the military balance back in favor of the United States. These range from changes in organizational culture and new international arms treaties to the the development of autonomous autonomous bomber drones.  Haddick has a talent for explaining how otherwise obscure topics of defence analysis, like the technical capabilities of weapon platforms or the quirks of military doctrine, place real pressures on broader issues of policy.  His sharp rebuke to those who hope growing parity between the two powers will create a stable foundation for long term negotiation is a case in point. The main consequence of a military force as brittle as Pacific Command’s, he suggests, is that if open conflict ever seems to be even a remote possibility American leaders will face a powerful temptation to strike early, before the Chinese have prepared their own knock-out strike. Knowledge that American forces in the region can be knocked out in a devastating first blow is not a recipe for peace and stability.[8]

Haddick hopes a more resilient, prepared, and effective U.S. fighting force in the Pacific will not just change the incentives Americans face, but also the incentives faced by the other powers in the region. Haddick couples his description of the modernization drive of the People’s Liberation Army with a discussion of China’s famous ‘salami slicing’ operations near its borders. Haddick calls for a quiet but firm response to these slices—but he is clear that he believes that no response to these operations will be able to dissuade the Chinese from their current course unless the nature of America’s military presence in the region is strong and stable enough to provide a powerful deterrent. The costs of failing to deter Chinese intimidation, In Haddick’s eyes, are far larger than future American defeat. Haddick’s nightmare scenario is a Western Pacific that has reverted to anarchy, each nation seeking independent military means to deter Chinese power. Though he doesn’t quite say it this way, Haddick essentially endorses the view that America’s most important role in post-World War II East Asia has been to keep Japan and Korea under control. Without American hegemony a fierce security competition would sweep the region, as countries try to balance against China and each other. In place of a stable American-led order unifying the field against revanchist China would be a Hobbesian swarm of nations ready to plunge one part of the continent into war after another.[9]

The only way to avoid such a future is if America can maintain a military presence in the region robust enough to assuage the fears of America’s allies while “persuading China’s leaders to continue accepting the status quo in spite of China’s rising global security interests.”[10] This would require a much larger military footprint in the region, but the goal would be a stable peace. As Haddick concludes:

The strategy discussed in this book is not a war plan. It is a strategy for managing a peacetime competition in a highly dynamic region. The strategy’s success will be measured by the crises that never occur, the wars that are never fought, and the long continuation of the region’s prosperity and development, including inside China.[11]

Meeting China Halfway

Lyle Goldstein would endorse these metrics for the grand strategy he charts in Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse Emerging U.S. China Rivalry. The means he uses to reach this destination, however, could not be more different. His book’s title reveals his approach; unlike Haddick, Goldstein has no interest in deterrence. The operative verb in Goldstein’s work is not deter but defuse. Above all else Goldstein fears what political scientists call a “security trap,” an escalating contest between two powers to gain advantage over the other, each move increasing the costs both must bear to remain competitive and each riposte decreasing the space for withdrawal or retreat. Goldstein believes that most books written to guide America away from these traps lack the “concrete intellectual paradigms” and “accompanying policy proposals” needed to turn high sounding rhetoric about peace and prosperity into realistic guidelines for action.[12] Goldstein uses an innovative concept he labels a “cooperation spiral” to provide both of these things.

The concept of a cooperation spiral is fairly simple. A grand bargain between Chinese and American policymakers is the end goal of all spirals presented in the book, but concessions and compromise do not start with the great issues. Instead, cooperation spirals are “gradual, evolutionary, and reciprocal” creations, intended to build trust between the two sides on smaller issues. Each iteration of compromises building momentum for a larger and more stable set of compromises to come.[13] Thus the cooperation spiral designed to resolve cross-straits relations—which in its final incarnation includes the complete cessation of arms sales to Taiwan, final status negotiations between the People’s Republic of China and the government of Taiwan, and a ban of any permanent Communist Party of China and People’s Liberations Army presence on the island—begins with much more modest concessions: a limited reduction of U.S. forces on Guam from the American side, and the initiation of military exchanges between the People’s Liberation Army and Republic of China’s armed forces (without preconditions) on the Chinese side. These early concessions are limited in scale, and if the Chinese do not reciprocate, then the Americans can easily reverse them. Reciprocity is key to the entire process, and this is what distinguishes Goldstein’s approach from mere appeasement: he never asks the United States to make painful concessions and compromises without asking an equal sacrifice from the Chinese.[14]

Image from Lyle Goldstein, Meeting China Halfway: How To Defuse Emerging China-U.S. Rivalry (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2015), 284.

These cooperation spirals are presented with sweeping scope. Spirals are offered not only for hot-buttons like the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, and Cross-Straits relations, but also climate change and environmental concerns; Sino-American economic relations; economic cooperation, competition, and investment in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East; and the two countries’ trilateral relationship with both India and Japan. Each of these spirals is preceded by a survey of the public debate Americans and Chinese have had about these issues in prominent research articles, policy proposals, and op-eds. Goldstein’s surveys of the Chinese language debates are probably the most important (and certainly the most interesting) sections of the entire book, providing American readers with a rare glimpse of discussions to which they would not otherwise be privy.[15] His policy proposals follow naturally from the literature reviews. Goldstein is aware that there is a temptation to nitpick at the various proposals (one hundred in total) listed in the book. He welcomes this, encouraging issue and area experts to “propose superior cooperation spirals, with greater specificity, realism, and thus promise to improve the relationship.”[16] This is a wise approach. In international affairs, conditions change quickly enough that rigid adherence to any set of proposals would leave the lot of them out of date. The true meat in Goldstein’s book is in the broad conceptual approach he outlines; its myriad applications simply illustrate how that approach might be turned from concept into policy.

It is thus in terms of broad concepts Meeting China Halfway must be judged—and it is here Meeting China Halfway is most deserving censure. Goldstein’s approach is simply unworkable. Any attempt to apply it in the real world would be met with immediate cries of outrage that the entirety of America’s foreign relations and domestic policies were being sacrificed to the God of Close Sino-American Ties. Just a sampling of these recommendations illustrates the problem. For the sake of various cooperation spirals, Goldstein recommends that the U.S. government formally acknowledge Israel as a nuclear weapons state, stop all drone attacks in Pakistan, invest in high speed rail infrastructure projects across the continental United States, and disband Africa Command. These policies may be of themselves worthy ones, but the hope that they will be widely adopted for the sake of stronger Sino-American relations is fantastic.

The reason for this is fairly simple: subordination of global policy to Sino-American cooperation (or, for that matter, Sino-American rivalry) is the subordination of the entire American bureaucracy to its few China hands. As a China hand, I welcome the status and authority this new conception of world affairs might grant me—but I would not want to be the man tasked with telling the fellows over at AFRICOM they must close up shop for the sake of improved U.S.-China relations! The resistance of the non-Asianists in the U.S. bureaucracy and foreign policy community to a Goldstein-style foreign policy will be too ferocious to bear.

The reaction of U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific would also be terrible to face. Goldstein is curiously dismissive of these allies’ concerns. One can sympathize with the time constraints that shaped his treatment of them—a titanic amount of research was required simply to survey the existing debates inside Washington D.C. and Beijing, and it would be too much to expect Goldstein to provide a thorough survey of the debates being had in Seoul, Manila, Taipei, Tokyo, Singapore, and New Delhi as well; but this unwillingness to consider events as seen by anyone outside of Beijing or Washington leads Goldstein to bizarre places. He outright dismisses Taiwan’s 23 million citizens with the curt (and unsubstantiated) claim that those who seek to put Taiwanese opinion first in discussions of their future “lack an objective view of history, culture, and identity.”[17] Goldstein dismisses other allies’ fears that Beijing’s growing strength might harm their interests by comparing them to children’s “talk of monsters hiding under the bed or in the closet.”[18] Patronizing comments of this sort undermine the spirit of mutual understanding Goldstein claims is central to successful strategy for peace. Meeting China Halfway begins with an earnest appeal to not treat the Chinese with arrogance, paternalism, or undue hypocrisy. This appeal would be far stronger if he avoided these same vices when discussing the lesser powers in the region.[19]

Weighing Fire and Cooperation on Fundamentals

This partly answers the puzzle of how these two analysts could start off so similarly but end up so far apart. Haddick thinks that serious consideration of the perceptions and interests of regional powers are critical to a successful China policy. Goldstein believes they can be dismissed as easily as the monsters hiding in toddler’s closets. Goldstein never discusses what will happen if lesser powers decide they do not wish to play along with the division of Asia into two great spheres of interest. This is Haddick’s nightmare scenario.

But this is not their biggest difference. The essence of Goldstein’s argument is that:

China must make a comprehensive effort to increase the transparency of its national security apparatus, reform some of its long-held claims, and influence certain partners to conform to international norms. In a series of de-escalatory steps, the United States should reciprocate by limiting the scope of its military deployments and military engagement activities.[20]

This is almost exactly the opposite of Haddick’s recommendations for the region.

The fundamental difference between the two analysts is their theory of what makes the Communist Party of China tick. Reading these two books next to each other is a reminder of just how important an analyst’s inner model of Chinese decision making is.[21] Under Goldstein's schema, fear of American power, not contempt for American weakness, is what has led the Chinese down the path they now tread. Haddick's case is built on the opposite view. Not all they have to say, but a great deal of it, follows from these opposing opening assumptions.

It is these assumptions—these unstated models of Chinese decision making—that keep me from endorsing either argument. I have presented a different version of what makes Beijing tick. As I (along with folks like Lee Hisen Loong and Bilahauri Kaukisan) have argued, Xi Jinping’s regime believes that the Western-led liberal order and the demands it makes on those who join it are corrosive to authoritarian control, and will eventually lead to the collapse of the Party.[22] For them the Party comes first. When translated into concrete policy, “putting the Party first” means eliminating Western influence from within and actively reshaping regional rules from without. What China is doing is not an inevitable consequence of great power competition, but the fruits of very specific fears of a specific ruling regime.

If this explanation for China’s behavior is correct, then neither Haddick’s nor Goldstein’s proposals are tenable. Haddick's entire strategy is predicated on the idea that you can build a military machine whose might will raise the costs of conflict so high that the Chinese must eventually back down. But if Zhongnanhai serves the Party before it serves the country then none of that matters. The Communist Party of China’s  continued domination of China is justified to the Chinese public on the grounds that hostile Western forces have always sought to contain and cripple China, but under the guardianship of the Party, the Chinese people will never be forced to bow down to foreign powers again. Backing down and accepting Western order threatens their legitimacy. It is an existential threat to their continued rule. The costs of war cannot compete with this. In the worst case war scenario, Party leaders suffer the same fate they would most likely suffer in any existential crisis (violent death); at best, they get lucky and win the war. This is not a recipe for stability.

This model of Chinese decision making also makes Goldstein's cooperation spirals exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to implement. Beijing does not just fear specific American policies—it fears the entire American-led system. The Chinese can bide and endure this order, but they cannot permanently compromise with it. It is hard to compromise with a system whose existence threatens your survival.

There are probably less than a hundred people on this planet who actually know why Beijing does what it does. They are unlikely to share this information with American analysts.

One’s inner model of Chinese decision making thus matters quite a lot. The most disturbing thing about reading these books together, however, is that neither of these analysts, exceedingly intelligent and well respected in their field, pauses to explain where their assumed model of Chinese decision making comes from. These operating assumptions are left unstated and unproven, despite how readily everything else these authors write follow from them.

The formal entrance to the Zhongnanhai compound in Beijing,  the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council (Central government) of the People's Republic of China. (Yanan Peng/Wikimedia)

This is possibly because these analysts did not realize the importance of these assumptions. But it may also reflect just how difficult it is to prove that the model of Chinese decision making one uses is actually correct. Here I am just as guilty as every other China hand; I cannot prove that my own model of Chinese decision making is the right one. The best I can say is that it fits Chinese behavior over the last two decades better than anything else I have seen proposed.[23] But in the end neither I, nor any other analyst of Chinese foreign policy, actually knows what is happening behind the walls of Zhongnanhai. There are probably less than a hundred people on this planet who actually know why Beijing does what it does. They are unlikely to share this information with American analysts.

Our analysis is built on a foundation of sand. We offer bold proclamations and precise policy proposals designed to cajole, convince, or coerce a hostile nuclear power whose decision making process is utterly opaque to us.

Our analysis is built on a foundation of sand. We offer bold proclamations and precise policy proposals designed to cajole, convince, or coerce a hostile nuclear power whose decision making process is utterly opaque to us. We theorize much, and assume more, but we still do not know why the Chinese do what they do. Most critically, we do not know how to find the knowledge we lack. This is an intellectual challenge we have not begun to meet. Understanding Zhongnanhai is a wonderful methodological puzzle—but a puzzle with nuclear stakes. Until we solve this puzzle, I doubt any number of policy prescriptions will be enough to ensure peace in the West Pacific.

T. Greer is a writer and analyst currently based out of Taipei. His research focuses on the evolution of East Asian strategic thought from the time of Sunzi to today. He blogs at The Scholar’s Stage.

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[1] Robert Haddick, Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2014), 48.

[2] Lyle Goldstein, Meeting China Halfway: How To Defuse Emerging China-U.S. Rivalry (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2015), 6.

[3] Andrew Krepnivich, Maritime Warfare in a Mature Precision Strike Regime (Washington DC: CSBA, 2015); Stephen Biddle and Ivan Oelrich, “Future Warfare in the Western Pacific: Chinese Antiaccess/Area Denial, U.S. AirSea Battle, and Command of the Commons in East Asia,” International Security 41, no. 1 (2016), 7-48.

[4] Haddick, Fire on the Water, 92.

[5] Ibid., 94.

[6] They pose a similar threat to American carrier strike groups. When armed with Chinese-built Yingji 12 anti-ship cruise missiles, a Flanker squadron’s striking range would also outdistance the Aegis air defense and reconnaissance system that defends every American carrier strike group by several hundred kilometer. This would allow them to fire their missile loads with little fear of being destroyed by the carrier group’s defensive screen. Two or three waves of such attacks, coming from different axes, would almost certainly score a hit. Even if the carrier was unharmed by this barrage, the Flankers would be victorious, for the carrier group, now bereft its entire defensive missile bank, would be forced to retreat to safer waters lest the entire strike group, with its $13 billion aircraft carrier at its center, be destroyed by the next salvo. As Haddick argues, “Accepting that the strike group would shoot down some Flankers before they launched their anti-ship missiles, the strike group would still have to contend with 125 to 200 incoming ASCMs, which would make wave-top, supersonic approaches to the U.S. ships. In past engagements of anti-ship missiles against alerted surface warships, 32 percent of attacking missiles scored hits. If only 5 percent of the ASCMs scored hits, the carrier strike group’s ships would still receive five to ten missile impacts, likely causing enough damage to render the group ineffective and possibly defenseless against another attack.” (96-97).

[7] Ibid., 72-74; 97.

[8] Haddick, Fire on the Water, 115.

[9] Ibid., 42-46.

[10] Ibid., 51.

[11] Ibid., 4-5.

[12] Goldstein, Meeting China Halfway, 2

[13] Ibid., 12

[14] For the full cross straits cooperation cycle, see ibid, 60-72.

[15] To provide one example, I suspect most Americans will be just as surprised as I was to discover that many prominent voices in the Chinese policy scene argue that the Obama administration’s push for a climate deal is actually a covert attempt to depress Chinese economic growth!

[16] Ibid, 15.

[17] Goldstein backs this argument up with one of the most curious arguments for cross straits unity I have ever had the misfortune to read. “Few Westerners realize that the Taiwan dialect is called Minnan Hua, which literally means “speech of those south of the Min River.” But the Min River is located not on Taiwan but in Fujian Province.”(76) This is technically true, but it betrays an unfamiliarity with Taiwan and its people. Outside the stray professional linguist, no Taiwanese person ever refers to the local dialect as Minnan Hua. To a man they all call it Taiyi (台语), “the language of Taiwan,” or as it is most often translated into English, Taiwanese. It should be no surprise that the use of this language is at the center of Taiwanese growing nationalist sentiment.

[18] Ibid, 358.

[19] This hypocrisy is most glaring in Goldstein’s discussions of history. Goldstein states that his “book is built on the premise that history cannot be overlooked or papered over,"(14) and to drive the point home, he devotes an entire chapter to the history of U.S.-Chinese relations, driving in on the history of U.S. imperialism in China and the psychological after effects America’s imperial presence has in the China of today. This contrasts greatly with his treatment of China’s own foreign adventurism. Goldstein’s gloss of the Sino-Indian war of 1963, for example, devotes several paragraphs to the CIA attempt to arm and train Tibetan rebels, something the Chinese still remember. What he does not emphasize in this account are the events at the center of India’s historical memory—Nehru’s generous and unilateral concessions in favor of China in the 1950s, made in hope of a new partnership between the two countries, spurned by Mao on the grounds of domestic struggle. In India this rejection of Nehru’s offers is known as the “great betrayal,” and the culmination of this “betrayal” in the surprise attack on Indian forces in 1963 still defines Indian images of China today. This history as surely as important—I would argue far more important—to the future of Sino-Indian security than the CIA’s attempts to infiltrate Tibet. It is not mentioned. Readers also learn nothing about the violent legacy of China’s cold war policies in other countries discussed, despite the that every regional single power of note either fought a war directly with China or fought an insurgency funded and trained by Beijing. Goldstein describes attempts to stoke the flame of Maoist insurgency across southeast Asia in the 60s and 70s are as “certain errors in diplomacy,”(266) but anyone remotely familiar with the countries in question know they have left much larger historical scars than this. These wars lie within living memory; their influence on contemporary Asian politics is far clearer than the early 20th century imperialism Goldstein devotes so much time to. Goldstein either does not know about this history or he does not care about it.

[20] Ibid., 356.

[21] Haddick actually claims that his proposed strategy is intended to work absent any knowledge of China’s inscrutable intentions, but the rest of the book undermines this argument. Haddick argues that the key to stability is ensuring that the benefits of cooperating with the existing rules far exceed the costs of bucking them. But this could only possibly be effective when the deterring power understands how those they deter calculate benefits and costs. Though Haddick refuses to explicitly state his view on Chinese intentions and long term designs, his strategy implicitly says a great deal on the matter.

[22]Lee Hsien Loong interview with the Wall Street Journal,” Prime Minister’s Office of Singapore, press release (26 March 2016); Bilahauri Kaukisan, “Pavlovian conditioning and 'correct thinking' on the South China Sea,” Straits Times (1 April 2016)

[23] For a historical account of modern Chinese foreign policy that generally accords with this argument see John Garver, China’s Quest: The History of the Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 463-787.