Understanding China’s Foreign Policy Crisis Behavior

Discussion in 'China' started by Yusuf, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    24,274
    Likes Received:
    11,287
    Location:
    BANGalore
    http://www.eastwestcenter.org/sites/default/files/private/apb171.pdf


    The recent standoff between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea has further increased suspicions regarding the rise of China and regional security. As the United States claims to “rebalance towards Asia,” the diplomatic and military crises between China and its neighbors will inevitably involve US interests in the Asia-Pacific. Therefore, understanding the dynamics of China’s foreign policy crisis behavior, as in when China
    will take risks to escalate conflict and when China will avoid risks to seek accommodation, is crucial for US policy makers.

    Getting China Wrong?

    Existing studies of Chinese crisis behavior focus mainly on military conflicts, such as the Korean War, the Sino-Indian War and the Sino-Vietnamese War. Moreover, since the end of the Cold War, China has not engaged in any overt military conflicts with another
    state. However, there have been sporadic “near crises” between China and other countries which had the latent potential to escalate further into military confrontations, such as the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait Crisis, the 2001 EP-3 incident, and the Sino-Japanese boat collision in 2010 near the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

    There are puzzles in explaining the patterns of China’s foreign policy crisis management since the end of the Cold War. For example, why did China act so dramatically in response to Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui’s visit to Cornell University during the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait Crisis? If military deterrence was the major goal, China’s multiple rounds of military exercises and missile tests actually reveal more weakness than strength.
    On the other hand, why did China seek accommodation with the United States in the 2001 EP-3 incident and release the US crew after receiving a vaguely-worded “apology” from Joseph Prueher, the US Ambassador to China? What are the conditions that
    determine Chinese leaders’ decisions for coercion or compromise during a foreign policy crisis?

    Crisis Severity, Leadership Authority, and International Pressure

    China’s foreign policy crisis behavior is influenced by three integrated factors. The severity of the crisis is the first factor. If China is a victim of the crisis or its core interests are seriously challenged, it is difficult for China to back down, at least immediately. Therefore, China’s outrage to the NATO bombing of its embassy in Belgrade in 1999 should come as no surprise.

    The authority of Chinese decision makers is another key factor in shaping China’s behavior. If a Chinese leader has not yet established his authority within the communist political and military bureaucracy, he may not be able to control the interests of other factions when coordinating a response. For example, President Jiang Zemin encountered serious domestic challenges from both the military and other senior party members during the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait Crisis. This partly explains why Jiang decided to escalate rather than defuse the crisis, because the primary audience was Jiang’s domestic rivals, not the United States or Taiwan.

    Last, but not least, international pressure— the status of China’s relations with the United States and other great powers—also plays a crucial role in influencing Chinese leaders’ foreign policy crisis behavior. Prior to the 1999 Belgrade embassy bombing, US-China relations were already strained over China’s bid to join the World Trade Organization and the release of the Cox Report, which accused China of stealing nuclear technology secrets from the United States. These tensions helped kindle domestic Chinese anti-American nationalism even before the embassy bombing, which in turn constrained Jiang and other Chinese leaders’ policy responses. Limited escalation became the best strategy for Chinese leaders to channel—and contain—domestic anger and sentiments of surging nationalism.

    These factors frame Chinese leaders’ policy choices during crises in a very dynamic way. A domestically and internationally confident Chinese leader may choose an accommodative way to deal with a serious foreign policy crisis, such as what Jiang did in the EP-3 incident. A weak leader may choose to escalate or even initiate an unnecessary crisis to divert domestic strife or consolidate domestic authority. This year there will be a leadership transition in China, and maybe the election of a new president in the United States. The new Chinese political leadership will need time to consolidate their domestic authority, and if elected, Mitt Romney’s Chinese policy will take some time to unfold. Depending on circumstances, it may be “the best of times” or “the worst of times” in US-China relations.

    Understanding and Shaping, Not Demonizing, China

    Some analysts suggest that since 2008 China’s foreign policy behavior has become more assertive. However, is this really a surprise? An economically and militarily stronger China needs to adapt its position to secure its now growing global interests. Demonizing or equating China to 20th century Japan and Germany will not stop China’s rise and an assertive China may or may not be aggressive in nature.

    First, the United States needs to adjust its own policies toward China. It is not constructive to deal with China using policies from the last century. For example, during the 1990s China’s reaction to US arms sales to Taiwan was not as vehement as they have
    been of late. Today, because of China’s increased global standing, it has to more forcibly condemn and react to what it perceives as provocative unilateral actions towards Taiwan on behalf of the United States. US policy makers would be well-advised to consider
    developing a new China policy that is more considerate of China’s interests going into the 21st century.

    Second, the United States should avoid meddling in China’s domestic affairs and let China deal with its own domestic problems. This does not mean that the international community should ignore what Chinese leaders do to their people in their own country.
    Instead, the United States and other nations should encourage, rather than try to force, China to abide by global rules and norms, both diplomatically and strategically.

    Finally, the United States needs to make use of Mianzi (“saving face”) strategies to help shape Chinese leaders’ policy choices, especially during foreign policy crises. Some US politicians frequently claim in public that confrontation between the United States and China is inevitable. However, Chinese leaders are reluctant in public to claim rivalry or enmity with other countries. If US leaders can spare Chinese leaders’ from losing “face” in public without jeopardizing US interests, then Chinese leaders are more likely to cooperate within the realm of international affairs, especially during foreign policy crises.

    To quote Joseph Nye: “If we treat China as an enemy, it will definitely become one.” If the United States treats China as a friend, it may or may not become one that shares the same interests and values with the United States. However, Chinese leaders will at least behave more conciliatorily towards the United States, especially during future foreign policy crises.
    ____________

    Kai He is a Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Utah State University (USU). He can be contacted via email at [email protected].
     
  2.  
  3. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,248
    Likes Received:
    1,863
    understanding dragon is all well and good - how about understanding the rest of the world , in particular at this point in time how about understanding the ASEAN countries - irresponsible , greedy and bullying behaviour cannot and must not be tolerated - we cant "re-view" it as "understanding " the culture of that bully - taking tibet , enslaving them , doing the same in turkestan , this list of offences is a pretty long one - but just because the bully is huge the rest of the world more conveniently goes into an "understanding " mode - we should snap out of it - the 22 nation naval exercise is a first step , i hope it doesnt stop there but develops further, much further .
     
    WuMaoCleverbot likes this.
  4. s002wjh

    s002wjh Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    126
    is this another bashing china thing without every been to china, just because its china. i suggest you goto tibet and check out before say everyone there is enslaved. as for SCS, what make vietnam/taiwan/ph claim more legit than chinas?? as i recall PRC actually adapt ROC claim of SCS after the commy take over.

    US current pivot of china has to to with our own interest, just like cold war, we were partner with china to counter USSR. all the major/superpower use 3rd/smaller country to balance each other, its all a chess game, were china/US are the player, ASEAN and other minior country are the pawns etc.

    a war between china/US will never happen, its all about assert influence over the region. if today US or china attack ASEAN or other country, the other major/superpower will just standby, but wont engage head on with the other super/major power. but secretly they will provide some intels, but thats about it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  5. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,248
    Likes Received:
    1,863
    NO ! ....it is about preventing dragon from bashing the ASEAN countries ..... having visted prc or not has nothing to do with principles .... your idea that the ends justify the means ? is not acceptable to most of us

    quote: a war between china/US will never happen,

    we dont want war ( that seems to be the first thing on prc's minds inst it ? ) ...we just want dragon TO BEHAVE THEMSELVES - is that asking too much ? - it seems to be , judging from you post above ?
     
    WuMaoCleverbot likes this.
  6. s002wjh

    s002wjh Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    126
    so how does china bashing ASEAN? by sending warship or destroy asean ships or forcibly conquer their island? you do know vietnam occupy more island than china, do you?
    as far as i know, the only country in ASEAN that claim the island are Philippine, vietnam, malay, and burnei. all the rest are not involve nor do they want too.
     
  7. ani82v

    ani82v Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,006
    Likes Received:
    706
    Location:
    Bangalore
    Summary:

    Chinese Foreign Policy reaction towards any issue is influenced by 3 factors:
    1. Severity
    How serious does issue challenge/threaten China's core interest
    2. Internal acceptance of Leadership
    If Leadership is going thru transition, there are chances of extreme reaction from the leadership (for internal audience). This behavior may be misread as rabble rousing by International community.
    3. International Pressure
    Its not that international pressure that we are thinking. He is talking about the international pressure which may lead to pent up anger in Chinese which will lead them to react in very aggressive way.

    All this is obvious common sense till now

    Then he goes on to say that
    China has now become a major international player and US should not continue its 90s China policy.
    US should not criticize China on its human right record now and should only request them to behave
    US should accommodate China for face saving measures in case of adverse crisis

    In short he is saying start respecting China otherwise don't complain if it misbehaves with you. Why so? Because China have become big boy!

    I wonder whether the analyst is on China's side or America's? :confused:
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    There are many in the US who feel that it is better to appease China than annoy it since US is involved deeply with China on the economic front and the US is gasping for breath!

    The way the US has floundered both in Iraq and Afghanistan has taken the wind of their sails in so far as their natural aggressiveness goes.

    They realise that the military might no longer works in asymmetrical combat.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  9. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,248
    Likes Received:
    1,863
    as for floundering in iraq and afghanistan - that depends on your vantage point - from the usa point of view they acheived getting rid of those regimes , from the local point of view it's a mess

    as for appeasing dragon - when will they realise that it'll never work - they tried the same with the myanmar junta and didnt get anywhere but when they did the opposite - it seems to be working
     
  10. s002wjh

    s002wjh Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    126
    no US still can kick china ass if choose too, but the cost will be great in economy and other places. and pivot of asia is example US try to counter chian raise using minior countries such as vietnam/phillipine etc.
     
  11. ani82v

    ani82v Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,006
    Likes Received:
    706
    Location:
    Bangalore

    If US has no objective of entering the mainland China (like they did in Iraq and Af), US wins hands down. But economic cost will be very high not just for US but for China as well.

    Diplomatically, Obama administration has been mostly reconciliatory with everybody from Taliban to Islamic brotherhood to China. This approach might change with administration.
     
  12. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    518
    Location:
    California
    What a joke of an analysis - basically he is saying since China is now a big boy........everybody will have to blow them whenever China says so.

    Mr. Kai He should take up comedy for a living.
    China is claiming the whole South china sea and coastal areas a few hundred kilometers from. Vietnam and Philippines.

    Nobody is going to allow that.
     
  13. s002wjh

    s002wjh Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    126
    really the sameway UK has falkisland, we have Guantanamo Bay, guam, and other place which actually near other country than US mainland?
    china,vietnam,ph all claim big chunk of it. heck the veitnam claim is bigger than their country, PH is about the same.
     
  14. GromHellscream

    GromHellscream Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    WOW
    An enlighten article in general but oversimplified the regulations rooted in CCP leadership, then got an not that accurate or misleading conclusion in the end.
    Not a surprise when I found the author a Chinese, or at least ABC. Hehe.
     

Share This Page