Much has changed in US-China relations since the first edition of this book over a decade ago alerted readers to balance outwardly positive discourse in multiple bilateral dialogues with an understanding of important differences. This fourth edition provides a comprehensive assessment of historical and contemporary determinants of Sino-American relations up to the present, giving special focus to the recent dramatic hardening amid acute competition between the world’s leading powers. The catalyst and main driver of this negative change remains a unique bipartisan Congressional-Administration consensus that sees multiple challenges from China now posing an overall existential threat. Urgency to counter these challenges dominates US policy making toward China. The consensus came about despite acute partisanship and erratic presidential leadership during the Trump administration and it continues strong with the more consistent foreign policy of President Biden. China remains uncompromising, forecasting continued trouble ahead.
Leading expert Robert G. Sutter has written the only book on the subject that combines assessment of the historical evolution, in-depth analysis of the many issues determining recent developments, and likely prospects for US-China relations going forward. His balanced study will be an essential resource for all concerned with the globe's most crucial bilateral partnership.
Robert G. Sutter was an analyst of Asian and Pacific affairs and American foreign policy for the US government for thirty years. He is now Professor of Practice of International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Patterns of US-China Relations Prior to World War II
Chapter Three: Relations during World War II, Civil War, Cold War
Chapter Four: Rapprochement and Normalization
Chapter Five: Tiananmen, Taiwan, and Post–Cold War Realities, 1989–2000
Chapter Six: Early Twenty-First Century Relations: Pragmatism and Rising Differences
Chapter 7: America’s Negative Turn Against China: Determinants, Evolution, and Implications
Chapter Eight: Security Issues in Contemporary US-China Relations
Chapter Nine: Economic and Environmental Issues in Contemporary US-China Relations
Chapter Ten: Taiwan and East Asian Maritime Disputes in Contemporary US-China Relations
Chapter Eleven: Issues of Human Rights and Governance in Contemporary US-China Relations
Chapter Twelve: Outlook
Already the standard text in its field, Sutter’s fourth edition updates his balanced analysis of Sino-American relations to include recent sources of tension
The appearance of the fourth edition of Robert Sutter’s classic text could not be timelier. A keen analyst of ‘the most important bilateral relationship in the world in the twenty-first century,’ Sutter places the Trump and Biden turns in the relationship in broad historical perspective using clear and precise prose. Highly recommended for undergrads, graduate students, and lay readers.
For the first time in the history of US-China relations, China is simultaneously approaching power parity with the United States and turning into a strategic competitor. To make sense of the change and continuity in arguably the most important bilateral relationship, veteran China watcher Robert Sutter has written a lucid and remarkably insightful account of the history and contemporary development of US-China relations. He adopts a predominantly realist perspective but is eclectic, meticulously tracking the ups and downs while judiciously uncovering the underlying dynamics in interests and values in the bilateral relations. Sutter’s book shows, even if China may not be motivated by a grand strategy, its challenge to the United States is no less serious and protracted.
Bob Sutter’s latest edition of US-China Relations is a very comprehensive, didactic, and balanced analysis of the world’s most important bilateral relationship. It shows in particular that not only the present but also the future of this relationship is uncertain. A great tool for teachers and a must read for all students of China and everyone interested in international affairs.