NONFICTION
Asian Waters: The Struggle over the South China Sea and the Strategy of Chinese Expansion
Overlook. Jun. 2018. 304p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781468314786. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781468314793. POL SCI
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarFishing rights, oil and gas reserves, and shipping routes matter in the current disputes on national boundaries in the South China Sea. Yet prolific author, journalist, and Asia expert Hawksley argues that China's ancient self-concept as the "Center of the World" and its emergence as a top world power drives the dynamics of South China Sea politics. As China built the Great Wall and expanded into Mongolia, Manchuria, and Tibet as defensive measures against external threats, Hawksley asserts that China is expanding into the South China Sea to defend its eastern sea flank. This challenges the post-World War II world order in which the United States dominates the Pacific. America's passive response (especially under the Trump administration) undermines those of other regional Asian states to China's ambitions. In a nation-by-nation review of these states (India, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc.) and their relations with China, Hawksley points out that none alone or in concert are powerful enough to contest China.
VERDICT In vivid and clear prose, Hawksley integrates current conditions in the South China Sea into centuries-old Chinese cultural traditions. Readers interested in international relations and U.S. foreign and defense policy will find this work fascinating.

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