Asian Security – 3 Essential Books

Asian Security

The Gathering Pacific Storm

Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development

Tai Ming Cheung and Thomas G. Mahnken

The U.S. has enjoyed overwhelming military technological superiority in the post-Cold War era, but China has begun to chip away at this dominance. As distrust and strategic rivalry becomes more prominent in US-China relations, this is helping to turn what had previously been parallel but separate military research and development efforts by both countries into a directly connected competition. This contest for leadership in defense technology and innovation promises to be a long-term and highly expensive endeavor for the United States and China.

Examining the nature of the US-China defense technological competition requires a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the complex military, economic, innovation, and other drivers at play. Moreover, this technological race is still in the early stages of development and can be expected to grow larger, more complex, and more intense, so The Gathering Pacific Storm: Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development, edited by by Tai Ming Cheung and Thomas G. Mahnken, provides an invaluable resource for understanding the origins and patterns of competition in different domains.

Cheung-Mahnken Front Cover
“This is a timely, thought provoking book on the state of the increasingly heated military-technological competition between the United States and its great power rivals, China and Russia. Coming on the heels of new National Security and Defense strategies that emphasize the return of great power competition, it is essential reading for those concerned about the erosion of U.S. military-technical advantage. Dr. Cheung and Dr. Mahnken’s book is sure to provide an important intellectual foundation for debate over this important issue. Highly recommended!” –Robert Work, 32nd Deputy Secretary of Defense and CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

Trust and Distrust in Sino-American Relations

Challenge and Opportunity

Steve Chan

Trust is a concept that ought to be at the front and center of international relations research. It is pivotal to how states interpret the actions of others and decide their own policies. Mutual distrust can set off a spiral of competitive dynamics as a consequence of reciprocal misinterpretation of each other’s intentions. At the same time, misplacing one’s confidence in a state that is actually untrustworthy can seriously jeopardize a country’s security. Yet despite its analytic and policy importance, only a few books have given systematic attention to this pivotal concept.

Trust and Distrust in Sino-American Relations: Challenge and Opportunity by Steve Chan fills that gap by addressing the question of how states acquire a reputation for trustworthiness—or untrustworthiness—in the eyes of others. It focuses especially on the relationship between China and the U.S., the two most consequential countries in today’s world, offering a systematic framework for analyzing their level of trust, and examining how ongoing trends and prospective developments may foster or undermine this relationship. In this, it provides a new approach to the subject by applying theoretical insights and empirical generalizations from the international relations literature to the case of Sino-American relations.

Chan Front Cover
“Steve Chan, a leading scholar of Chinese foreign policy, has once again come up with an excellent book, this time on the topic of ‘trust.’ In this succinctly written book, he provides a very rich theoretical and empirical discussion of trust and mistrust in international relations with the use of Sino-US relations as empirical case study. A valuable addition to both IR theory and the study of China’s foreign relations.” —T.V. Paul, James McGill Professor of International Relations, McGill University

A New Strategy for Complex Warfare

Combined Effects in East Asia

Thomas A. Drohan

A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia by Thomas A. Drohan develops new theory for superior strategy in complex warfare. The approach is comprehensive and practical, and it is applied to three contemporary security crises involving the United States, China, the Koreas, and Japan. Beginning with existing theories on strategy and culture, a new interpretation of “combined effects strategy” is introduced based on research and years of experience.

Unlike previous works, this study considers security culture as a way to understand warfare conceived and waged broadly: patterns of confrontation and cooperation, threat perception and assessment, and strategic effectiveness. In addition, for the first time, contemporary crises detail the interaction of strategies operating as lines of effect which when combined, create powerful synergies. A summary analysis of each case develops implications for future strategy. The concluding chapter is unique in its discussion of the influence of security culture on operational concepts, when lines of effect combine, and how security culture informs combined effects strategy, particularly for the United States.

Drohan Front Cover
“Few works have succeeded as much as this one at succinctly explaining centuries of Asian cultural history and contextualizing that history to current security issues in the region. Members of the security community will greatly benefit from this unique perspective. … Drohan excels in explaining the implications cultural histories have for US security strategy and prescribes both philosophical and pragmatic changes practitioners should make. ” —Parameters

These books are in the Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series (General Editor: Geoffrey R.H. Burn).

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