The Three Faces Of Chinese Power: Might, Money, And Minds. It’s a difficult book with lots of facts, names, and numbers, but working your way through it is worth the effort. The idea of the book is that Chinese power can be broken down into the three categories of (military) might, money, and minds (or it’s cultural appeal). David Lampton first approaches each individually, then how they influence its neighbors, and finally steps back and discusses what it all means for the world.
One of the reasons I really enjoyed this book was how it takes on those stereotypes implicit in most any discussion about China. Lampton’s discussion of the military power of China begins with the premise that China is not interested in conquering the world, or any other piece of it for that matter, and then goes to show that its actions in this arena align with that. He’s not an apologist though, as he shows in the economic power section how China is fundamentally undermining many of the human rights goals in the rest of the world in order to gain marginally higher economic security.
My favorite section though was his discussion of China’s cultural appeal. He discusses how inside China there is a strong “us against the world” siege mentality, carefully cultivated by the CCP, and how many of its neighbors are wary of China’s ultimate intentions. However, it is his comparison of the appeal of China’s non-interventionist philosophy to the world cop America’s that really got me thinking. He showed how many people around the world much prefer China’s approach to America’s, which cuts to the core of America’s problems in the world.
This is an eye opening book and you should read it. Go now!