What kind of superpower will China become, cooperative or aggressive? Susan Shirk, a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for China, has spent years thinking about this critical question. In China: The Fragile Superpower, she opens up the black box of Chinese domestic politics and reveals a fragile communist regime struggling to survive in a society turned upside down by economic growth and open markets. Shirk argues that the West's greatest danger is not China's economic or military strength but its internal fragility. She makes the case that it is usually rising powers that provoke wars, and unless Western states understand the fears that motivate Chinese leaders, they are likely to misread and mishandle China - and find themselves in an avoidable international conflict.
Susan L. Shirk, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for U.S. relations with China, is Director of the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, and she is a professor at UC-San Diego's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. A leading authority on China, she has been visiting that country since 1971, meeting with top Chinese officials, and has written numerous books and articles on this subject, including pieces that have appeared in The Washington Post, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal.