Thomas J. Christensen Publications


forthcoming summer 2015)

Worse than a Monolith: Alliance Politics and Coercive Diplomacy in Asia (Princeton University Press, 2011).

Useful Adversaries: Grand Strategy, Domestic Mobilization, and Sino-American Conflict, 1947-58, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996).

Articles and Edited Volumes

Book Review of "China 1945: Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice," New York Times Sunday Book Review, JAN. 9, 2015

Christensen, T. J. and Snyder, J. L. (2011), Multipolarity, Perceptions, and the Tragedy of 1914. International Studies Quarterly, 55: 305–308. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2011.00659.x

“The Advantages of an Assertive China: Responding to Beijing’s Abrasive Diplomacy” Foreign Affairs (March/April 2011), pp. 54-67.

“Why the World Needs an Assertive China,” New York Times/International Herald Tribune, February 21, 2011.

The Need to Pursue Mutual Interests in U.S.-PRC Relations (Washington, DC: Special Report of the United States Institute of Peace, November 2010).

“Shaping the Choices of a Rising China: Recent Lessons for the Obama Administration,” Washington Quarterly (June 2009) 

“The Case for a Really Long Engagement,” Washington Post Outlook Magazine, November 30, 2008.

“Fostering Stability or Creating a Monster? The Rise of China and U.S. Policy Toward East Asia,” International Security Vol. 31, No. 1 (Summer 2006)

“Windows and War: Changes in the International System and China's Decision to Use Force.” in Alastair Iain Johnston and Robert Ross, eds. New Approaches to China’s Foreign Relations: Essays in Honor of Allen S. Whiting (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006).

Thomas J. Christensen, Alastair Iain Johnston and Robert Ross, “Introduction” in Alastair Iain Johnston and Robert Ross, eds. New Approaches to China’s Foreign Relations: Essays in Honor of Allen S. Whiting (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006).

“Will China Become a ‘Responsible Stakeholder’? The Six-Party Talks, Taiwan Arms Sales, and Sino-Japanese Relations,” China Leadership Monitor, No. 16 (Fall 2005)

A Statement Before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Hearing on China’s Military Modernization and the Cross-Strait Balance, September 15, 2005, ensen_thomas.htm

“Looking Beyond the Nuclear Bluster: Recent Progress and Remaining Problems in PRC Security Policy” China Leadership Monitor, Vol 15 (Summer 2005) at

“Have Old Problems Trumped New Thinking? China’s Relations with Taiwan, Japan and North Korea” China Leadership Monitor, Vol 14 (Spring 2005) at

Prepared Testimony Before the United States House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, House International Relations Committee, April 6, 2005, “China’s AntiSecession Law and Developments Across the Taiwan Strait” “Worse than a Monolith:

Disorganization and Rivalry within Asian Communist Alliances and U.S. Containment Challenges, 1949-69,” Asian Security Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 2005), pp. 80-127.

“Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan Elections and Cross-Strait Security Relations: Reduced Tensions and Remaining Challenges,” China Leadership Monitor, Vol 13 (Winter 2005) at

“Contradictory Messages on Deterrence: Zhanyixue and Taiwan Scenarios,” James Mulvenon and David Finkelstein, eds., The PLA Revolution in Doctrinal Affair (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2005).

New Challenges and Opportunities in the Taiwan Strait: Defining America’s Role (New York: National Committee on US-China Relations, 2003). Thomas J. Christensen and Michael A. Glosny,

“Sources of Stability in U.S.-China Security Relations,” in Richard Ellings and Michael Wills, eds. Strategic Asia 2003- 2004: Fragility and Crisis (Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2003).

“PRC Security Relations with the United States: Why Things Are Going So Well,” China Leadership Monitor (No. 8, Fall 2003).

“PRC Foreign Relations After the National People’s Congress: Iraq, North Korea, SARS, and Taiwan.” China Leadership Monitor (No. 7, Summer 2003)

“Optimistic Trends and Near-term Challenges: Sino-American Security Relations in Early 2003,” China Leadership Monitor (No. 6, Spring 2003).

“The Party Transition: Will It Bring a New Maturity in Chinese Security Policy?” China Leadership Monitor (No. 5, Winter 2003).

“A Smooth Ride Despite Many Potholes: The Road to Crawford,” China Leadership Monitor (No. 4, Fall 2002). "China" in Richard J. Ellings and Aaron L. Friedberg with Michael Wills, eds., Strategic Asia 2002-03: Asian Aftershocks (Seattle, WA: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2002).

"The Contemporary Security Dilemma: Deterring a Taiwan Conflict," The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Autumn 2002).

"Bejing's Views of Taiwan and the United States in Early 2002: The Renaissance of Pessimism," China Leadership Monitor (No. 3, Summer 2002).

"Terrorism, Taiwan Elections, and Tattered Treaties: PRC Security Politics From September 11 Through Year's End," China Leadership Monitor (Winter 2002, Issue One, Part Two).

"Tracking China's Security Relations: Causes for Optimism and Pessimism," China Leadership Monitor (Winter 2002, Issue One).

“Why We Should Better Coordinate American and European Policies Toward China.” Forum Paper, U.S.-European Forum, Fourth Meeting, October 22-23, 2001, published at

"China," in Richard Ellings and Aaron Friedberg, eds., Strategic Asia, 2001-02 (Seattle, Washington: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2001).

"Correspondence: Power and Resolve in U.S. China Policy," International Security, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Fall 2001).

"Posing Problems Without Catching Up: China's Rise and Challenges for U.S. Security Policy," International Security, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Spring 2001). An earlier version of this article appears on the web site of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University as "SAIS Policy Forum Series Report Number 14, December 2000."

Richard K. Betts and Thomas J. Christensen, "China: Getting the Questions Right," The National Interest (Winter 2000/2001).

“Clarity on Taiwan: Correcting Misperceptions on Both Sides of the Strait,” Washington Post OpEd (March 20, 2000).

“Correspondence: Spiral, Security, and Stability in East Asia,” International Security, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Spring 2000).

"Theater Missile Defense and Taiwan's Security," Orbis, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Winter 2000).

"China, the U.S.-Japan Alliance and the Security Dilemma in East Asia," International Security, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Spring 1999). Reprinted in Michael E. Brown and Sean Lynn-Jones, eds., The Rise of China: An International Security Reader, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000); and in Michael Mastanduno and G. John Ikenberry, eds., Emerging International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific, Columbia University Press, 2003.

"Pride, Pressure, and Politics: The Roots of China's Worldview," in Yong Deng and Feiling Wang, eds., In the Eyes of the Dragon: China Views the World and SinoAmerican Relations (Boulder, Colo: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999).

Thomas J. Christensen and Jack Snyder "Progressive Research About Degenerate Alliances," American Political Science Review (Winter 1997/98).

"Perceptions and Alliances in Europe, 1865-1940," International Organization (Winter 1996/97).

"Chinese Realpolitik," Foreign Affairs (September/October 1996).

"A Lost Chance for What? Rethinking the Origins of US-PRC Confrontation," The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Fall 1995).

"Conclusion: Systemic Stability and the Security of the Most Vulnerable Significant Actor," in Jack Snyder and Robert Jervis, eds., Coping With Complexity in the International System (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1993).

Book Review, John F. Copper, China Diplomacy: The Washington-Taipei-Beijing Triangle (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992) in Pacific Affairs (Fall 1993). "Threats, Assurances, and the Last Chance for Peace: The Lessons of Mao's Korean War Telegrams," International Security, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Summer 1992). 

"Correspondence: Mobilization and Inadvertence in the July Crisis," International Security, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Summer 1991). Thomas J. Christensen and Jack Snyder,

"Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks: Predicting Alliance Patterns in Multipolarity," International Organization (Spring 1990) reprinted in Paul R. Viotti and Mark V. Kauppi, eds., International Relations Theory, 2nd. Edition (New York: MacMillan, 1993).