China's Quest for Great Power

Ships, Oil, and Foreign Policy
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Binding:Hardback
Published:November 15, 2016
By Bernard D. Cole (Author)
China and the United States are locked in a high-stakes contest for naval supremacy. The United States has the upper hand, but China's rapidly modernizing navy is narrowing the gap. This superb study provides the reader with essential background on the domestic and external drivers behind China's determination to become a global and regional naval power, while lucidly explaining how this ambition is linked to Beijing's economic, energy, and foreign policy interests. This book examines China’s national security strategy by looking at the three major elements—foreign policy, energy security, and naval power—all interactive and major influences on China’s future and its relations with the United States.

A decade and a half into the twenty-first century, Beijing requires reliable access to energy resources, the navy to defend that access, and foreign policies to navigate safely toward its goals. Most importantly, the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) must be able to safeguard China’s regional maritime interests, especially the sovereignty disputes involving Taiwan and the Yellow, East China, and South China Seas. Many Chinese naval officers and analysts think the United States is determined to contain China and prevent it from achieving the dominant historical position to which it is entitled. This view has been strengthened by Washington’s shift to Asia, transfer of naval units to the Pacific, and the March 2015 Maritime Strategy released by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

China’s relationship with the United States is vital to both countries and to the world. The relationship is based on both common and divergent interests in economics, military operations, and political goals and methods. China’s international trading economy and ambition for a world-class navy require effective foreign diplomacy and participation in global affairs. This policy trifecta in large part defines China’s posture to the world. Beijing is approximately halfway toward its mid-century goal of deploying a navy capable of defending China’s perceived maritime interests. China’s priorities follow President Xi Jinping’s definition of national security as “comprehensive, encompassing politics, the military, the economy, technology, the environment and culture.” What this means for future Chinese foreign policy choices, as naval modernization and energy security concerns enable different courses of action, lies at the center of this book’s conclusions.

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Product Details
  • Hardback : 320 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (November 15, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 1612518389
  • ISBN-13: 9781612518381
  • Product Dimensions: 6.13 X 9.25 in
  • Shipping Weight: 22.16 oz
Praise
  • “Professor Cole’s China’s Quest for Great Power is an excellent examination of the nexus between the People’s Republic of China’s foreign policy, as espoused by president and paramount leader Xi Jinping, and the emergence of the People’s Liberation Army Navy as a global player. For those uninitiated in these developments this book offers an excellent introduction, and for the ‘China Hands’ it will serve as a valuable resource for formulating U.S. national security strategy for the next thirty years.”—CAPT. JAMES FANELL, USN (Ret.), government fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, creator of Red Star Rising list service, and former director of Intelligence and Information Operations, Pacific Fleet

  • “China and the United States are locked in a high-stakes contest for naval supremacy. The United States has the upper hand, but China's rapidly modernizing navy is narrowing the gap. This superb study provides the reader with essential background on the domestic and external drivers behind China's determination to become a global and regional naval power, while lucidly explaining how this ambition is linked to Beijing's economic, energy, and foreign policy interests. Specialists and general readers alike will benefit from the insights in this balanced and deeply researched review of a topic at the heart of the U.S.-China relationship.”—J. STAPLETON ROY, former United States ambassador to China

  • “Building on his previous authoritative studies in this field, Professor Cole provides a comprehensive analysis of the nexus between China’s energy security, economic prosperity, naval development, and foreign policy. Cole convincingly demonstrates how China is becoming increasingly dependent on maritime power for economic growth and for energy security, which shapes China’s foreign policy and fuels tension in China’s foreign relations. This is indispensable reading for anyone interested in China’s rising power.”—ØYSTEIN TUNSJØ, professor, Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and author of Security and Profit in China’s Energy Policy

  • “A measured masterpiece by a leading authority in the field. Anchored in the fundamentals of geography and history, this even-handed, thorough treatment promises to have enduring relevance.”—DR. ANDREW S. ERICKSON, professor of strategy, U.S. Naval War College
  • “Capt. Bernard D. Cole has taken on the challenge to analyze the complicated and non-transparent national security policy framework of Xi Jinping, from the foreign affairs, energy security, and naval power viewpoints, together with their relationship to the CCP's emphasis on regime survival and maintenance of a strong economy. Due to thousands of years of relations with China, including a deep vein of distrust, many Japanese, who tend to focus more on China’s culture and historic episodes, sometimes have different views about China compared to Americans. However, even to such Japanese eyes, this book provides some excellent thoughts on China, as well as many ingredients for analysis and consideration by China thinkers.”—YOJI KODA, former commander-in chief, Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Fleet

  • “Bernard D. Cole’s China’s Quest For Great Power: Ships, Oil, and Foreign Policy is an exemplary work in which he successfully took on the guise of a Chinese national security official and laid out the People’s Republic of China’s naval strategy, its influences, and its goals. China’s Quest For Great Power’s ‘Chinese take’ on naval modernization, energy security needs, and foreign policy goals is important for policymakers and China-watchers alike, hoping to better address PRC-related issues. Overall, it is a well-done piece and a must-read for those interested in China studies.” — Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis
  • China’s Quest for Great Power manages to be deeply insightful without being heavy-handed in its advice and recommendations. Rather than pursuing the goal of dealing successfully with regards to China in a ham-handed fashion, the author decided to lay China’s cards on the table as skillfully as possible and include some reasonable guesses where evidence is lacking. This allows the reader to come to their own conclusions about what can and should be done about China’s behavior. Those looking for shrewd insight and measured conclusions based on excellent research will find this book to be well worth the effort it takes to read it. For policymakers with briefs including Chinese civil and military affairs, this book is of immense help in providing the context necessary to make wise decisions in how to address the growth of China and its place in our contemporary world.” — Naval Historical Foundation
  • “Cole, a retired Navy captain, Auburn University Ph.D. and a former faculty member at the National War College, has been one of the most distinguished and meticulous observers of China’s every-growing People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). His latest work is a more than satisfactory culmination of years of scholarship. A comparatively short but tightly written book, it covers a broad field fully and gracefully.” — The Northern Mariner
  • “China’s relationship with the United States is vital to both countries and to the world. The relationship is based on both common and divergent interests in economics, military operations, and political goals and methods. Beijing is approximately halfway toward its midcentury goal of deploying a navy capable of defending China’s perceived maritime interests. This book examines China’s national security strategy by looking at the three major elements: foreign policy, energy security and naval power; all interactive and major influences on China’s future and its relations with the United States.” — Sea Technology
  • “Bernard Cole… knows far more than most about China, its place in the world and in particular its navy. And so, if a NR reader wishes to learn more on this topic in a very readable format and at a reasonable price, China’s Quest for Great Power is not a bad place to start.” – Naval Review
  • “…a retired U.S. Navy Captain and professor emeritus of the Naval War College, outlines the growing strategic importance of maritime power to China and the steps it takes to protect its maritime interests…”- Seapower Magazine
  • “The author seeks to demonstrate how China is becoming more dependent on maritime power to achieve growth and national security.” – Survival: Global Politics and Strategy
  • “For those new to the China’s foreign policy and maritime development this book will surely be an invaluable resource.” – Center for International Maritime Security
  • To understand the trajectory of China’s Navy, one must also examine the trajectory of China’s economy and how its growth fits into China’s overarching foreign policy and the stability of the PRC government. Author Bernard Cole accomplishes this in China’s Quest for Great Power: Ships, Oil, and Foreign Policy.” – Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC)

Bernard D. Cole is a professor at the National War College in Washington, DC. The author of two other books, he was a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy for thirty years.

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