Contingent States: Greater China and Transnational Relations.
By William A. Callahan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
297p. $68.95 cloth, $22.95 paper.
International relations scholarship has moved beyond debates between
realists and liberals, yet much of the literature on the growth of Chinese
power, or on China's regional and global interests, reflects theories
of balance of power or peace through trade and engagement. Many of the
most popular and well-known works on China (for example, Richard Bernstein
and Ross H. Munro's 1998 book The Coming Conflict with
China) view the economic success and modernization of China as a
threat to U.S. interests and to the larger international order. William
Callahan's Contingent States not only avoids this standard
refrain but actively rejects and criticizes it. Callahan accomplishes two
important goals in his book. First, he shows how conventional
international relations paradigms can mislead us about the
“true” aims of Chinese foreign policy; and secondly, he uses
“Greater China” as a theoretical framework to examine four
issues in Asia: the South China Sea dispute, Sino-Korean relations, the
return of Hong Kong, and cross-straits relations between China and Taiwan.
In addition to an introduction, theoretical chapter, and conclusion, one
chapter is devoted to each of these issues.