China’s Security Concerns: The Enduring Link between External and Internal Challenges
Avery Goldstein is David M. Knott Professor of Global Politics and International Relations, Director of Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and Associate Director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania. Goldstein’s research focuses on international relations, security studies, and Chinese politics. His books include Rising to the Challenge: China’s Grand Strategy and International Security (2005) and The Nexus of Economics, Security, and International Relations in East Asia (2012, co-edited with Edward D. Mansfield). His articles have appeared in International Security, Foreign Affairs, International Organization, the Journal of Strategic Studies, China Quarterly, Asian Survey, Comparative Politics, Orbis, Security Studies, and other journals.
Description of talk:
Though the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is today more secure against foreign military attack than at any time since 1949, its leaders have grown increasingly concerned about internal security challenges and their possible links to external threats. Yet, the CCP’s concern about internal, as well as, external challenges is not new. This article examines changes in China’s security perceptions since 1949, linking them with the evolution of China’s grand strategy. During most of the Cold War decades, a relatively weak China’s vulnerability to serious military threats from much more powerful adversaries led the CCP to adopt mainly, though not exclusively, grand strategies focused on coping with a clearly defined external security challenge. By contrast, after the Cold War and especially in the 21st century, an increasingly complex array of internal and external security concerns confronts a stronger China’s leaders with new challenges as they make their grand strategic choices.