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Rethinking China’s grand strategy: Beijing’s evolving national interests and strategic ideas in the reform era

Zhang, F. (2012) Rethinking China’s grand strategy: Beijing’s evolving national interests and strategic ideas in the reform era. International Politics, 49 (3). pp. 318-345.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ip.2012.5
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Abstract

The question of Chinas grand strategy is of great importance for understanding the international impact of Chinas rise. Both Western and Chinese scholars dispute whether China has developed a coherent grand strategy in the reform era. The main reason for the controversy seems to lie as much in theoretical and methodological assumptions about defining and analyzing grand strategy as in empirical validity. This article contributes to the debate by adopting a novel theoretical approach to analyzing grand strategy by seeing it as the conjunction of national interests and strategic ideas. It examines Chinas evolving national interests and strategic ideas in the reform period in order to clarify the exploratory, evolutionary and adaptive nature of policy change. China cannot be said to have developed a premeditated grand strategy during this period. Even though one may still be able to rationalize elements of Chinas foreign policies into a grand strategy, it comes at the cost of missing their changing nature.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright: © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Ltd
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/8455
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