Monday, July 1, 2013

Denny Roy's "Return of the Dragon"

Denny Roy is a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu and earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Chicago. His books include The Pacific War and Its Political Legacies and Taiwan: A Political History.

Roy applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security, and reported the following:
On page 99 of my book we learn that the government of Japan in recent years has taken specific actions that manifest Japan’s fear that a burgeoning China is in some ways a potential threat to Japan’s security. These actions include participating in a US-led program to build a system to shoot down ballistic missiles (a system that China opposes), increased military cooperation between Japan and other countries in the region that are worried about China, and strengthening Japan’s military forces despite the tight restrictions imposed on Japan after its defeat in World War II. This is a microcosm of one of the main themes of the book, which is to describe how the “rise” of China creates or worsens security tensions with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, especially those countries with a recent history of poor relations with the PRC. The “rise” refers to China’s rapid increase in economic, political and military capability relative to its neighbors. The increase in capabilities alone is cause for worry. The international system is a rough neighborhood that ultimately rests on the law of the jungle. States tend to see each other as potential adversaries and to keep track of how much harm others could do to them in the event of a conflict. Relatively strong states, such as China is becoming, usually try to gain more control over their external environment to make themselves safer and more prosperous. These efforts inevitably encroach on the interests of other states. Worries about a rising state are more intense if that state’s government appears assertive or aggressive in its foreign policy. The China-Japan relationship portends long-term strains. Like other states in the region, Japan faces the difficult choice of accommodating a more demanding China—and giving up some of what Japan values in the process—or accepting the high costs and risks of resisting these Chinese demands. The mini-crisis over ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands is an early round of what one Japanese commentator calls “a long struggle with bitter resolve.”
Learn more about Return of the Dragon at the Columbia University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue