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The China Challenge

Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power

Thomas J. Christensen (Author, Princeton University)

Overview | Formats

This compelling assessment of U.S.-China relations is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of the globalized world.

Many see China as a rival superpower to the United States and imagine the country’s rise to be a threat to U.S. leadership in Asia and beyond. Thomas J. Christensen argues against this zero-sum vision. Instead, he describes a new paradigm in which the real challenge lies in dissuading China from regional aggression while encouraging the country to contribute to the global order. Drawing on decades of scholarship and experience as a senior diplomat, Christensen offers a compelling new assessment of U.S.-China relations that is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of the globalized world.

The China Challenge shows why China is nowhere near powerful enough to be considered a global “peer competitor” of the United States, but it is already strong enough to destabilize East Asia and to influence economic and political affairs worldwide. Despite China’s impressive achievements, the Chinese Communist Party faces enormous challenges. Christensen shows how nationalism and the threat of domestic instability influence the party’s decisions on issues like maritime sovereignty disputes, global financial management, control of the Internet, climate change, and policies toward Taiwan and Hong Kong.

China benefits enormously from the current global order and has no intention of overthrowing it; but that is not enough. China’s active cooperation is essential to global governance. Never before has a developing country like China been asked to contribute so much to ensure international stability. If China obstructs international efforts to confront nuclear proliferation, civil conflicts, financial instability, and climate change, those efforts will falter, but even if China merely declines to support such efforts, the problems will grow vastly more complicated.

Analyzing U.S.-China policy since the end of the Cold War, Christensen articulates a balanced strategic approach that explains why we should aim not to block China’s rise but rather to help shape its choices so as to deter regional aggression and encourage China’s active participation in international initiatives that benefit both nations.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • June 2015
  • ISBN 978-0-393-08113-8
  • 6.6 × 9.6 in / 400 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverThe China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power


Endorsements & Reviews

“Christensen…[offers] a model of judicious analysis: Carefully deconstructing the economic, military and diplomatic balances between the United States and China, he reveals the magnitude of the latter’s challenge without inflating it.” — Ali Wyne, Washington Post

“Many books are written about China these days. This is a standout. Christensen is a widely respected scholar who served as the Bush administration’s expert on China. He has combined these perspectives to give us a balanced, informative, and highly intelligent guide to dealing with China.” — Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World

“Can a rising power and an established power cooperate toward mutually beneficial aims? The China Challenge presents a thoughtful analysis of this question through the lens of recent developments in U.S.-China relations.” — Henry A. Kissinger

“Tom Christensen has done us a great service: he has decoded the U.S.-China relationship with the analytical power of a great scholar and the real-world lessons of a policymaker. The China Challenge is lucid, learned, and relentlessly sensible, navigating the great predicament of the 21st century. Christensen is fluent in history but never captive to it. He aims not to prevent China's rise but to shape it with a mix of strength and moderation. Above all, he shows us how to avoid a conflict that he considers possible but, in no way, inevitable. He made a believer out of me.” — Evan Osnos, National Book Award-winning author of Age of Ambition

“[P]rovides practical and feasible yogic protocols for treatment of severe psychiatric disorders which were considered till date to be incurable even with pharmacological medications. By reading the success stories of the cases mentioned in this book, family members of psychiatric patients can seek solace in the existence of a possible alternative treatment for severe psychiatric disorders.” — Anne-Marie Slaughter, president, New America Foundation

“Christensen addresses a vital challenge—US policy toward China—with an artful blend of scholarship, modern history, and diplomatic experience. He explains skillfully why the United States needs an adroit combination of national strength, international partnerships, and cooperation with China. Christensen's aim: a search for mutual interests, both between the two countries and in support of regional and global systems.” — Robert B. Zoellick, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

“The successful use of Kundalini Yoga to treat severe psychiatric illness is one of those disruptive observations that should make us sit up and wonder if we really know as much as we think we do. A first rate scientist and a high order Yogic practitioner and teacher, David Shannahoff-Khalsa draws on one of the world’s great wisdom traditions, providing much that may be of value to patients and practitioners and much that should stimulate further study.” — Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense

“[A] ground-breaking book containing a new treatment modality, a courageous and inspired attempt to bridge the enormous gaps between cultures, between esoteric practice and everyday life, and to challenge existing western categories of health and illness.” — Alastair Iain Johnston, Laine Professor of China in World Affairs, Harvard University

“Our understanding of psychopathology and related mind-body states is incomplete. Shannahoff-Khalsa provides a well-informed overview of some of the most challenging disorders and currently available treatments, describing his experience working with severely affected individuals where intensive practice of specific yogic protocols resulted in substantial clinical improvement.” — Gideon Rose, editor, Foreign Affairs

“Most psychiatric disorders are chronic and disabling. Since current treatments often do not provide full symptom remission, additional approaches are needed. In this new book, Shannahoff-Khalsa continues to increase the credibility of Kundalini Yoga as one such approach. The yoga protocols introduced can serve as adjuncts to the treatment of specific psychiatric and personality disorders not explored in his previous books.” — Richard Bernstein, author of China 1945

“I doubt there is any book quite like this, and if there is, I am sure that it would struggle to be as bold, complex and intriguing as Dr. David S. Shannahoff-Khalsa's work…A truly original book…with plenty of evidence to suggest that what he expouses, has positive outcomes for a cross-section of people who have been suffering with chronic psychiatric problems.” — Dennis Blair, Former Commander in Chief, US Pacific Command and Director of National Intelligence

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