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Relations between China and the United States have deteriorated to the point that, in Susan Shirk's assessment, we are now fully embroiled in Cold War II. Combining her decades of research and experience, Shirk, one of the world's most respected experts on Chinese history and policy, focuses on this
collapse in relations. Military flashpoints have increased in number and frequency, and rather than acting as trade partners, the two countries view economic competition in zero-sum terms. As Shirk notes, China and the United States have become so fearful of one another that they are weaponizing
their interdependence. Not even the common threat of the COVID-19 pandemic could convince them to coordinate their efforts.
Overreach assesses how things got to this point. Using her decades of research, analysis, and first-hand experience, Shirk sheds light on China's politics and its evolving role on the world's stage. She opens the "black box" of China's political system and looks at what lies behind its attempt to
expand soft and hard power abroad. Prior to the global financial crisis in 2008, China seemed willing to engage with domestic and international issues in a constructive manner. Following the crisis, however, power dynamics shifted, and so, too, did China's approach. It began to view the U.S. as a
declining superpower, one China was well on its way to supplanting. Internationally, China began to act more belligerently with its neighbors. Internally, circumstances have enabled Xi Jinping to consolidate more power than any leader since Mao Zedong.
Clearly, China has changed. In this sobering, penetrating, and illuminating book, one of the world's leading experts looks not just at how things got to this point but what lies ahead, and how it could affect us all.
Susan Shirk is a Research Professor and Chair of the 21st Century China Center at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego. Shirk is the author of China: Fragile Superpower, and Power and Prosperity: Economics and Security Linkages in Asia-Pacific. From 1997-2000, she served as Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia.
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