The emergence of China as a major player on the international stage is one of the most significant developments in contemporary geopolitics—the study of the effects of geography (both human and physical) on international relations. Kang’s call for understanding of and engagement with China, rather than containment and confrontation, makes China Rising a “must-read” for anyone interested in international politics.
Kang’s analysis investigates and then goes against the assumptions of mainstream Western international relations theory. This view says countries compete with each other in the absence of a global government to regulate their interactions, and the rise of a new global power invariably leads to worrying instability.
Through a detailed and balanced study of Asian history, Kang finds that China’s neighbors see the country’s ascent as a stabilizing force in the region. They largely welcome China as a leader because of a shared Asian identity, China’s historically central position in Asian international relations, and the material benefits they believe an alliance with Beijing can now bring.