The China Quarterly: “China and the U.S. Alliance System”

My latest peer-reviewed article … an analysis of the evolution of Chinese views of the U.S. alliance system and its role in East Asian security… is published in the March 2018 issue of The China Quarterly.

(The publisher has generously made this article available free-of-charge to non-subscribers. LINK If you have any difficulty, please contact me.)

(One caveat for critical readers: peer-reviewed journal publication timelines being what they are, regrettably, the empirical analysis runs through mid-2016.)

  • Liff, Adam P. “China and the U.S. Alliance System.” The China Quarterly, 233, 2018, 137-65. 
  • Abstract: In recent years, scholarship examining US and security allies’ responses to China’s rapidly growing power and “assertive” policies towards its neighbours has proliferated. The English-language literature remains relatively one-sided, however. Crucial to understanding the complex forces driving strategic competition in the contemporary Asia-Pacific are comprehensive surveys of how Chinese views are evolving. This study draws extensively on Chinese sources to update existing scholarship, much of it two decades old, with a particular focus on recent Chinese reactions to major developments concerning the US-centred alliance system – a foundational element of the 65-year-old regional order. Beijing expresses deepening frustration towards, and even open opposition to, recent alliance strengthening, and instead champions alternative security architectures free of what it alleges to be “exclusive,” “zero-sum,” “Cold-war relic” US-centred alliances. Proposals for concrete pathways to operationalizing these abstract visions that take into account contemporary political and security realities (for example, North Korea), however, appear less forthcoming.

  • 摘要近年来, 分析美国与其安全联盟应对中国的崛起及其 “强势”周边外交的学术研究不断增加。但是, 英语文献仍然具有相对的片面性。比较欠缺的是对于中方观点的演变做全面研究, 而这对理解当代亚太地区战略竞争的复杂驱动因素至为重要。本文用中文, 日文, 和英文材料对基本已有二十多年的现有文献做进一步更新。本文主要分析中国如何应对以美国为主导的联盟体系的新发展 – 而这一联盟体系是七十多年来区域秩序现状的基础构成。中国领导人对于近来 (美国东亚) 联盟体系的强化表现出不满甚至公开的反对; 中方领导人倡导一种替代性的安全结构, 以代替他们认为是 “排他”、“零和” 以及 “冷战遗产” 的美国主导的联盟体系。但是, 考虑到诸如北朝鲜一类当代政治和安全的现实挑战, 如何实现替代秩序的具体路径建议, 仍然是非常欠缺的。