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Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century (Paperback)

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Financial Times Best Book of 2017

A history of the combative military, diplomatic, and economic relations among China, Japan, and the United States since the 1970s—and the potential crisis that awaits them

Richard McGregor’s Asia’s Reckoning is a compelling account of the widening geopolitical cracks in a region that has flourished under an American security umbrella for more than half a century. The toxic rivalry between China and Japan, two Asian giants consumed with endless history wars and ruled by entrenched political dynasties, is threatening to upend the peace underwritten by Pax Americana since World War II. Combined with Donald Trump’s disdain for America’s old alliances and China's own regional ambitions, east Asia is entering a new era of instability and conflict.

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A history of the combative military, diplomatic, and economic relations among China, Japan, and the United States since the 1970s—and the potential crisis that awaits them

Richard McGregor’s Asia’s Reckoning is a compelling account of the widening geopolitical cracks in a region that has flourished under an American security umbrella for more than half a century. The toxic rivalry between China and Japan, two Asian giants consumed with endless history wars and ruled by entrenched political dynasties, is threatening to upend the peace underwritten by Pax Americana since World War II. Combined with Donald Trump’s disdain for America’s old alliances and China's own regional ambitions, east Asia is entering a new era of instability and conflict. If the United States laid the postwar foundations for modern Asia, now the anchor of the global economy, Asia’s Reckoning reveals how that structure is falling apart.

With unrivaled access to archives in the United States and Asia, as well as to many of the major players in all three countries, Richard McGregor has written a tale that blends the tectonic shifts in diplomacy with bitter domestic politics and the personalities driving them. It is a story not only of an overstretched America, but also of the rise and fall and rise of the great powers of Asia. The about-turn of Japan—from a colossus seemingly poised for world domination to a nation in inexorable decline in the space of two decades—has few parallels in modern history, as does the rapid rise of China—a country whose military is now larger than those of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and southeast Asia's combined.

The confrontational course on which China and Japan are set is no simple spat between neighbors: the United States would be involved on the side of Japan in any military conflict between the two countries. The fallout would be an economic tsunami, affecting manufacturing centers, trade routes, and political capitals on every continent. Richard McGregor’s book takes us behind the headlines of his years reporting as the Financial Times’s Beijing and Washington bureau chief to show how American power will stand or fall on its ability to hold its ground in Asia.

More Information
ISBN 9780399562693
Length (cm) 14.0000
Width (cm) 3.0000
Height (cm) 21.0000
Publisher Penguin Books
Publication Date Dec 4, 2018
Pages (number) 432
Genre History, Politics, and Social Sciences
Author Richard McGregor
Signed No
Format Paperback
Editorial Reviews

“In spite of the recent crisis with North Korea, the critical relationship for Asian peace and stability in the 21st century will be the trilateral balance between China, Japan, and the United States. In spite of the economic interdependence of these nations, their domestic politics and foreign policies often clash with their trade interests, and the rise of China as both an economic and military power now threatens to upend the entire East Asia security structure. . . . This book is an essential primer for anyone seeking to understand the complicated brew of history, politics, and prejudices that make this area of the globe one of the most likely flashpoints of the 21st century.” Jeremy Lenaburg, New York Journal of Books

“McGregor anatomizes the dynamic, often strained trilateral relationship between China, Japan, and the U.S. since WWII. His informed volume comes at a time when, in his opinion, East Asia sits at the heart of the global economy and China’s aggressive foreign policy is upsetting the region’s stability. . . . Often critical of Washington’s ‘combination of idealism and arrogance,’ McGregor offers detailed, vivid descriptions of America’s Asian diplomacy. . . . Reviewing East Asia's toxic rivalries with balance and insight, McGregor’s survey concludes ominously with President Trump’s lack of familiarity with regional issues and disdain for old alliances, portending further tensions in East Asia’s future.” — Publishers Weekly

“[A] wide-ranging study of China’s re-emergence as a regional power in Asia after a long hiatus, thwarting the designs of other powers, including the United States and Russia. . . . The U.S. [finds itself] firmly ensnared in the so-called Thucydides trap, ‘the principle that it is dangerous to build an empire but even more dangerous to let it go.’ So it is, and the current leadership appears to be at a loss about what to do or to formulate other aspects of any coherent policy in and toward Asia. . . . Geopolitics wonks will want to give attention to this urgent but nonsensationalized argument.” — Kirkus Reviews

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