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Introduction: Developing World Security Priorities and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)

  • Solomon M. Karmel
Chapter

Abstract

Many claim China is a “great power,” or even a “superpower.”1 Others note with alarm that China has matched its dramatically increasing economic and political clout with rapidly expanding military capabilities. In the words of Nicholas Kristoff, The New York Times’ respected China correspondent during many years of Deng Xiaoping’s stewardship, China “has nuclear weapons, border disputes with most of its neighbors, and a rapidly improving army that may—within a decade or so—be able to resolve old quarrels in its own favor…. China has been using its economic boom to finance a far-reaching buildup” and “seeks the influence of a great power.”2

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Samuel S. Kim addresses the question of whether China should be considered a great power in Samuel S. Kim, “China as a Great Power,” Current History. 196:611 (September, 1997), pp. 246–251.Google Scholar
  2. His answer is a qualified yes. For opinions on Chinese superpower, see Francis A. Lee, China Superpower: Requisites of High Growth (Houndmills, UK: Macmillan Press, Ltd., 1997)Google Scholar
  3. China is described as at least an emerging economic superpower in this source and in William H. Overholt, China: The Next Economic Superpower (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1993). For a journalist’s view of Chinese superpower, see Karsten Prager, “China: Waking Up to the Next Superpower,” Time Magazine. 147:13 (March 25, 1996) (http://www.pathfinder.com/@@ skU1wAUA988z30nM/time/magazine/d omestic/1996/960325/china.html).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Nicholas D. Kristof, “The Rise of China,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 5 (November/December 1993), pp. 59, 65. For another source suggesting China is arming itself at a somewhat alarming rate, see Michael T. Klare, “The Next Great Arms Race,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Summer 1993 ), pp. 136–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 3.
    Gerald Segal, “China’s Changing Shape,” Foreign Affairs Vol. 73, No. 3 (May/June 1994), pp. 43–58 (54).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 4.
    Ross H. Munro, “China’s Waxing Spheres of Influence,” Orbis Vol. 38, No. 4 (Fall 1994), pp. 585–605 (587, 594). It has been more than one thousand years since China successfully established hegemony over Vietnam through an occupation, and its military campaign against Vietnam at the beginning of Deng’s reign was a lesson in dramatic failure. Still, the view expressed by Munro is quite popular; see also Gerald Segal, below. Currently, India possesses a comparatively stable government, nuclear weapons, and a booming economy. Liberalization in both China and India has led to diplomatic breakthroughs between these two countries that are unprecedented and likely to last. Munro appears to overstate the case for India’s weakness and its implications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 5.
    Gerald Segal, “The Coming Confrontation Between China and Japan?” World Policy Journal Vol. 10, No. 2 (Summer, 1993), pp. 27–28.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Richard D. Fisher, “China’s Purchase of Russian Fighters: A Challenge to the U.S.,” The Heritage Foundation Asian Studies Center Backgrounder No. 142, July 31, 1996 (http://www.heritage.org/heritage/library/categories/forpol/asc142.html).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Alastair Iain Johnston, “China’s Militarized Interstate Dispute Behavior, 1949–1992: A First Cut at the Data,” China Quarterly (March, 1998), p. 1.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Richard H. Solomon, Chinese Political Negotiating Behavior (Santa Monica: RAND, 1985 ).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Steven I. Levine, “Perception and Ideology in Chinese Foreign Policy,” in Thomas W. Robinson and David Shambaugh, eds., Chinese Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994 ), p. 43.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Similar observations were made long ago in Samuel P. Huntington, “Patterns of Violence in World Politics,” in Huntington, ed., Changing Patterns of Military Politics ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1962 ), pp. 17–19.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Jonathan D. Pollack and Young Koo Cha, A New Alliance for the Next Century: The Future of U.S.-Korean Security Cooperation (Santa Monica: RAND), 1995, p. xiii.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    A good discussion of related issues is found in Robin Luckham, “Introduction: The Military, the Developmental State and Social Forces in Asia and the Pacific: Issues for Comparative Analysis,” in Viberto Selochan, ed., The Military, the State, and Development in Asia and the Pacific ( Boulder, CO: Westview, 1991 ), pp. 1–49.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    The 1970 study, by Eric Nordlinger, is cited and critically reviewed in A.F. Mullins, Jr., Born Arming: Development and Military Power in New States ( Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987 ), p. 5.Google Scholar
  16. 24.
    Mohammed Ayoob, The Third World Security Predicament: State Making, Regional Conflict, and the International System ( Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1995 ), p. 15.Google Scholar
  17. 28.
    Michael Richardson, “East Asians Fear Rivalry for Nuclear Arms Might Drift their Way,” International Herald Tribune. June 3, 1998, p. 5.Google Scholar

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© Solomon M. Karmel 2000

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