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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

China and the Bush Doctrine

On a number of occasions, I've blogged about international reactions to the Bush Doctrine.

Other states frequently admonish the administration for its over-reliance on military power and unilateralism. However, some politico-military factions within some states clearly think that it might be in their state's interests to emulate the "preemptive" strike strategy.

This post is about China's potential emulation. I was only recently directed to this op-ed piece by Rob Radtke, who is/was "vice president of policy and business programs for the Asia Society, a nonprofit educational organization promoting understanding of the Asia-Pacific region." It appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, May 8, 2003:
China is calculating how successful use of preemption by the US in Iraq can be applied to Taiwan. In recent months, China has demonstrated considerable forbearance as Taiwan's fall elections approach. However, any action that moves Taiwan further from China or closer to de jure independence - for example increasing US arms sales or including Taiwan in a regional missile defense system - will trigger a strong reaction from Beijing.

Having set the precedent of preemption where vital national interests are at stake, the US can expect China to follow suit. China has always framed the Taiwan question as one of vital national interest and territorial integrity. For better or worse, the US has put preemption on the table as a tool of statecraft. China will use it if pushed.
FYI, Pete Dombrowski and I have a nearly-completed manuscript (originally presented in March 2005 at the International Studies Association meetings), which concludes that most other great powers, many middle powers, and key international organizations have generally embraced the American understanding of the threat of surprise attacks by terrorists armed with WMD and agree that some sort of preventative action might be needed to head off this action. Most of the rest of the world, however, favors multilateral authorization before preventive force might be employed.

Note: Apparently, I may have some new readers among the college debate community. Maybe this post will prove helpful to them in some small way.

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