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An international relations classic that reveals the nature of Chinese foreign policy in the late Maoist years


The Chinese Calculus of Deterrence presents a framework for anticipating Chinese political-military behavior in the nuclear era. Through analysis and scholarly research, Allen S. Whiting reconstructs China’s response to the perceived threat from India in 1962 and Beijing’s secret military participation in the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968. Comparing these with Chinese actions in the Korean War and Sino-Soviet border clashes, Whiting reveals the patterns in Chinese calculations of deterrence and the use of force. The Chinese Calculus casts light on policy divisions at the highest levels in Beijing and on Chinese miscalculations in coping with enemy states. It also suggests ways in which other states can affect Chinese perceptions and behavior to reduce the likelihood of conflict. The analysis strips away the mystery surrounding Chinese behavior and reveals it to be not so far removed from that of other governments. Includes a new foreword that considers recent data and developments in the Taiwan Strait.

Allen S. WHITING is Regents’ Professor of Political Science at University of Arizona.