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Taming Sino-American Rivalry$
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Richard Ned Lebow and Feng Zhang

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197521946

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197521946.001.0001

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(p.196) 8 Conclusions
Taming Sino-American Rivalry

Feng Zhang

Richard Ned Lebow

Oxford University Press

Good analysis must meet three conditions: it must ask questions that have policy relevance; it must build on a plausible set of assumptions about how the world works; and it must recognize the determining nature of context. These conditions inform the book’s proposal for a holistic strategy of conflict management and resolution based on a judicious combination of deterrence, reassurance, and diplomacy. The uncertainty about foreign policy motives makes analysis more difficult, but also creates opportunities for policymakers. To the extent they free themselves from simple mindsets regarding others’ motives and recognize their complexity, they will become increasingly sensitive to the need to understand what motives are at play in any given situation. They will further recognize the possibility of positively influencing the motives of their adversary by reassurance and diplomacy. These strategies have the potential to reduce hostility and pave the way for rapprochement or accommodation.

Keywords:   foreign policy motives, agency, context of action, self-esteem, theoretical narratives, scenario forecast

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