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Comparative Grand StrategyA Framework and Cases$
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Thierry Balzacq, Peter Dombrowski, and Simon Reich

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198840848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840848.001.0001

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(p.73) 4 China
Comparative Grand Strategy

Andrew S. Erickson

Oxford University Press

Scholars still debate the very notion of a Chinese grand strategy. Nonetheless, recent leadership and policy statements, and their explicit linkage to historical patterns of Chinese behavior, suggest that China may well have the most forthright example of a grand strategy of any major power today. This chapter is composed of five parts in substantiating that claim. First, it survey’s Xi’s contemporary grand strategy. Second, it discusses the historical foundations of Xi’s initiatives. Third, it lists the modern factors that shape and complicate China’s grand strategic efforts. Fourth, it examines the two major contemporary prongs that link the global to the national strategy: the external Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aimed at binding Eurasia to China through infrastructure and commercial development; and the internal efforts to consolidate societal stability with a stronger surveillance state. Together, the chapter argues, these initiatives are designed to mitigate the impact of demographic decline and an S-curved slowdown in the growth of China’s economy, with the goal of buttressing other elements of national power to facilitate China’s re-emergence.

Keywords:   China, grand strategy, Xi Jinping, Chinese Communist Party, Belt and Road Initiative

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