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5 Containment – Containment’s Deceit: Why the United States Needs to Review its China strategy in:

Maximilian Terhalle

Strategie als Beruf, page 115 - 140

Überlegungen zu Strategie, Weltordnung und Strategic Studies

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4409-4, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7409-1, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828874091-115

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115 5 Containment – Containment’s Deceit: Why the United States Needs to Review its China strategy Containment has been the United States’ default policy vis-à-vis its perceived peer competitors, beginning with George Kennan’s Long Telegram of 1947. Originally, containment was designed to “defend[.] all future targets of Soviet expansion without liberat[ing] areas already under Moscow’s control”; “in order to facilitate this goal, the United States’ military strength would be reconstituted and requests from allies for economic and military aid would be favourably considered” (Gaddis 2005: 21). While limited to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, a more expansive, global understanding of the nature and application of containment has prevailed since 1991. In fact, publicly laid out by a Pentagon document in 1992 which advocated a policy of powerfully “convincing potential competitors … not [to] pursue a more aggressive posture”, containment has been the underlying rationale of all administrations, regardless of the degree to which notions of engagement have influenced policies towards major states, such as Russia or China (New York Times 1992). In this vein, and notwithstanding their political particularities, Melvyn Leffler concluded that, as far as maintaining US hegemony is concerned, there has been “more continuity than difference in the strategic goals and military practices of all the post-Cold War administrations” (2011: 42). Often, and often falsely, reduced to a military strategy, containment quintessentially is a political means for safeguarding US hegemony vis-àvis potential or real great-power competitors. It draws from America’s military, economic and cultural strengths alike.1 In a widely read article, Brooks and Wohlforth have recently underlined this foundational role of containment in US strategic thinking (2015–16).2 Grounded in their unipolarity-based assessment of the material distance between China and the US, they conclude that the former will find its attempts at “closing the gap” of procurement and technology “very hard” to accomplish and that any such undertaking will take “decades”, if it is at all attainable (Brooks/Wohlforth 2015–16: 46, 52, 44).3 Borrowing from Liddell Hart, they recast containment as a policy of “standing on the defensive” (SOTD) (Brooks/ Wohlforth 2015–16: 52).4 In other words, such a defensive posture allows the US to constantly improve its own military and economic position in the unipolar system and thereby to contain China, while forcing the latter to (fail to) overcome the obstacles put in its way of catching-up.5 To be fair, Brooks and Wohlforth do not explicitly use the term containment; it is how this author reads their policy of SOTD. A strong case can be made, though, that their book America Abroad implicitly does just that in its treatment of the security and economic costs that the strategy of ‘deep engagement’ has occurred (2016: 103–189). 1 Classically, Kissinger noted in 1957: “A separation of strategy and policy can only be achieved to the detriment of both. It causes military power to become identified with the most absolute applications of power and tempts diplomacy into an overconcern with finesse. Since the difficult problems of national policy are in the area where political, economic, psychological and military factors overlap, we should give up the fiction that there is such a thing as ‘purely’ military advice” (quoted in Terhalle 2011: 519). 2 For earlier accounts of containment, see Kennan 1967; Gaddis 2005; Leffler 1992; Freedman 2005, 2013; Heuser 2010; Betts 2012. 3 Also, Cox (2012: 273). 4 Though, the work of Liddell Hart is not referenced. 5 Countless Chinese complaints, both cynical and well-argued, confirm the liveliness of US containment policies in East Asia. 116 Maximilian Terhalle In fact, their discussion in the book makes it abundantly clear that they support the United States’ longstanding adoption of containment measures and ought to continue to contain rival great powers in the future. Thereby, they confirm, if unwittingly, the rationale behind the aforementioned Pentagon paper of 1992. Needless to say, this finding echoes repeated framings of US policy towards China as containment. As this article argues, however, Brooks and Wohlforth’s new version of US containment policy reveals significant conceptual and theoretical weaknesses. Together with the policy’s Cold War bias, they are misleading American strategists to trust in enduring US structural superiority because ‘standing on the defensive’ seemingly reassures them that Beijing will inevitably be socialised into the structural realities that favour the United States. However, China is not the Soviet Union and the 21st century’s second decade not the 1980s. Rather, while an earlier version of this containment strategy was ultimately successful vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, confusing the latter with today’s China and its highly adaptive governance system severely misrepresents a drastically changed material context. China has emerged from this context, when measured in PPP, as the economically leading power in the world in 2014, and has since increased the lead. Moreover, precisely because Brooks and Wohlforth adopt a material view, they overlook the important degree to which cultural notions of US superiority have invariably underpinned material accounts of its containment policies. Thereby, their exclusively material defense of America being ‘Number One’ becomes a critical cognitive barrier to their arriving at a comprehensive review of US technological superiority. As a consequence, Brooks and Wohlforth’s materialist arguments about the defensive power implications and endurance of US technological superiority prevent American strategists from self-critically evaluating its long-term strength and the aptness of its containment policy outlook vis-à-vis the People’s Republic. 117 Containment’s Deceit In this regard, there already are significant indicators that the latecomer-turned-emerging-superpower’s forty years of catching-up, undisrupted by the end of the Cold War, has made the material position of the United States and, thus, the foundations of its containment policy, considerably weaker relative to China. Moreover, important voices also recognise that US notions of moral superiority may prevent the process of adapting to these substantive changes. For instance, the US Navy Commander for the Pacific, Admiral Harris, acknowledged that the United States should “recognise[…] that we may no longer be able to maintain broad sea and air control as we did in the past …” (2017: 19).6 Henry Kissinger agreed and extended the argument by suggesting that America does no longer possess the “psychologically and materially preeminent” leadership role it used to have after the Cold War and WWII, for that matter (2014: 232).7 And Lee Kuan Yew looked at the consequences that this challenge particularly posed to the United States and found that “this adjustment [will be] most difficult” (2013: 42).8 The analysis below does not aim to develop a new theoretical account of US defensive policies or to systematically explore the theoretical and policy choices the United States faces in light of the criticisms provided. Rather, it deliberately limits itself to a thorough examination of the historical conceptual, theoretical and normative assump- 6 Daly (2017), the director of the Kissinger Institute, cryptically suggested that the US “can’t afford a long-term competition … under these circumstances.” 7 In 1944, the US Navy, constructed by the naval strategist Carl Vinson, possessed some 6,000 vessels, capable of carrying out winning Guam in the Far East and of launching the D-Day attacks in France at the same time. Barlow (2009: 10). 8 Other authors speak of “significant reversals in the mindsets“ (Goh 2016: 6); of “psychological adjustments” (Patrick 2011: 53), of “psychological factors” (Stapleton 2016: 4), and the requirement of “more radical changes in attitudes and actions, by leaders and publics alike, than anyone has yet imagined” (Allison 2015). 118 Maximilian Terhalle tions that underlie Brooks and Wohlforth’s particular account of US containment policy, but that pertain to a much wider audience. It does so because it is convinced that this approach is the most suitable one to identify their weaknesses and, consequently, reveal the obstacles which stand in the way of revising US strategic policies vis-à-vis China. The article is divided into six sections: after a brief outline of Brooks and Wohlforth’s understanding of containment, the second section looks at the historical biases of their account; the third one probes into some of its conceptual limitations; the fourth reveals weaknesses of their theoretical borrowings; the fifth section demonstrates the implications of the authors’ indebtedness to US cultural superiority; and the conclusion offers some ideas for future research. 1. Unipolarity as containment through technological predominance Building on recent assessments of China’s weight in international affairs, Brooks and Wohlforth have added a significant and detail-rich analysis of the country’s future rise by drawing from the concept of unipolarity (Beckley 2011–12; Johnston 2013; Lieber 2012; Liff/Ikenberry 2014; Nye 2015; Acharya 2014). While they freely admit that the concept cannot account for change, they innovatively use it in order to measure the distances that Beijing will have to travel in order to match US material standards. Their key finding is that the United States’ position, due to its superior technological status and dynamic (both of which are built on foundations that China does not possess), will cause the process of China’s technological catching-up to last several decades (2015–16: 32–44). Therefore, China will not be able to close “the gap between a choice to attain some capability and the creation of that capability … [as the latter is] a function of the technology of production” (2015–16: 18). They conclude that the level of US capa- 119 Containment’s Deceit bilities is “very hard to match even for a state with a lot of money”, such as China (2015–16: 18–19). Nevertheless, they do not stop here but turn their convincingly outlined results into an important policy prescription. Referring back to Liddell Hart’s work of 1929, they remind US policymakers of the “old truths” encapsulated in the military notion of “standing on the defensive” (2015–16: 52). In a unipolar system, this means that while the US may constantly improve its own military and economic position and thereby structurally contain China, it leaves the latter to (fail to) overcome the obstacles put in its way of catching-up. Precisely because the underlying structural conditions provide ‘standing on the defensive’ with an unrivalled edge, Brooks and Wohlforth argue, they will make it “very hard” for China to “challenge a settled status quo” (2015–16: 52). In effect, Brooks and Wohlforth’s arguments about China’s unlikely ‘closing-of-the-gap’, and the prescription for a defensive containment policy that they derive from it, create the illusion of a fearless polity that is technologically sealed off from external challengers, which are structurally constrained regardless.9 Crucially, they overlook Beijing’s recent official dropping of its longstanding commitment to ‘keeping a low profile’ (KLP) in international politics. While appreciated and cleverly finessed since the days of Deng Xiaoping’s rule, KLP “has never once figured in speeches delivered by senior foreign policy officials … since the beginning of the Xi Jinping administration” in 2013 (Jin 2016: 481; Xuetong 2014). Instead, Xi himself has expressly advanced the new notion of ‘striving for the achievement’ of national rejuvenation (SFA). At its core, SFA aims at “a China that has clear strategic space around it” which, in turn, allows it “to deal with the world on its own terms” (Brown 2017: 7; Xuetong 2014).10 9 Obviously, by arguing this way they want to enable the US to reject, or circumvent, the Thucydides trap, i.e. the classical warning of the ‘fear’ that rising powers instil in established ones (Allison 2017). 10 As Prof. Shi Yinhong (Renmin University) told the author in Beijing in April 2017, while the turn from KLP to SFA has indicated that Xi is not “a 120 Maximilian Terhalle This raises the important question of why Brooks and Wohlforth’s ‘closing of the gap’ argument in effect implies that China should be expected to stick to ‘keeping a low profile’ in order to catch up while, in reality, Beijing does quite the opposite? In fact, the foundations of ‘standing on the defensive’ seem much more porous than the authors suppose. In order to assess the validity of their propositions, this analysis now undertakes a close examination of the historical, conceptual, theoretical and normative assumptions underlying their two related terms, ‘closing the gap’ and SOTD. 2. Historical criticism: today’s China is not the Soviet Union Victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War made the United States the last remaining and, importantly, the only superpower in world politics after 1991. The historical success of this “hard-won position of systemic leadership”, following 45 years of intense ideological and military competition, has evinced an unshakeably firm belief in US strengths and containment policies (Wohlforth 2014: 111). The ‘hard-won’ character of this ultimate experience has, in turn, created an equally strong Cold War bias in Brooks and Wohlforth’s approach to US strategic policies, leading to a (linear) thinking that is biased in favour of the time-proven superiority of one’s strategic outlook and tools. A merely rhetorical ‘Why shouldn’t it work again?’ captures this notion well.11 Bismarck”, we do not yet know to which extent his policies will resemble those of “Wilhelm II.” 11 Two former top military and diplomatic officials expressed themselves in such a manner regarding China during an interview. 121 Containment’s Deceit As a corollary, it appears that this underlying assumption has led Brooks and Wohlforth, and likely others, to believe that China’s trajectory will end similarly to that of the Soviet Union. China is not the Soviet Union, however. First, the quintessential insight Deng derived from the SU’s deteriorating performance in the 1960s was that the latter’s orthodox adherence to the letter of Marxism-Leninism did not seem to offer viable socioeconomic prospects. This led China to split from Moscow and, crucially, prompted the adoption of a trial-anderror approach at first in the Special Economic Zones and then, conditioned by proof of success, the nation-wide development of a highly adaptive system of state-capitalist governance in the 1970s (Heilmann et al. 2011: 1–29; Ang 2016; Chung 2016).12 This flexible system, controlled by the CCP, has largely proven to be successful. It has turned China into the second largest economy in the world and has lifted some 600 million people out of poverty in the last 30 years. Based on the continuation of its flexible governance system, it is hard to believe that the process of lifting more than half a billion Chinese out of poverty was a one-off event. In fact, lifting the remaining 250 million poor people out of poverty does not only seem likely, it will also further boost China’s economic performance in relative terms vis-àvis the United States (Fish 2014). In this regard, at the end of the Cold War the Soviet Union only comprised of 148.6 million people (ca. 2.8 percent of the 1991 world population), while China today is home to 1.3 billion people (ca. 20 percent of the world population) (World Bank 2017).13 Second, and because of that, China’s authoritarian governance system, which has delinked the Western democracy-capitalism nexus, still exists 25 years after the demise of the Soviet Union. In fact, its adaptive system of economic governance is very likely to 12 For criticisms of the adaptive model, see Shirk (2007); Shambaugh (2014). 13 Specifically on the meaning of the Soviet Union’s central mismanagement for, and reproduction at, the local level, see Rutland (1993); on the Soviet Union’s foreign policy, see Service (1997: 397–466); Haslam (2014). 122 Maximilian Terhalle grow by 2.75 percent in the next two decades (based on conservative measurements), thereby continually expanding the economic foundations of its military power (Swaine 2016: 14). The CCP’s exceedingly long experience with state-driven socioeconomic development will certainly not prevent it from struggling with the middle-income trap and neither will it exempt it from adapting to less impressive and more gradual growth rates, as Brooks and Wohlforth rightly suggest (2015–16: 26 n. 48). But that should by no means, and rather spuriously, lead theorists to insinuate (or assume), as the title “Rise and Fall” of Brooks and Wohlforth’s China-focused article does, that the country is eventually doomed to repeat the Soviet Union’s demise.14 Rather, the CCP’s handling of the Asian financial crisis in 1997/8, the SARS epidemic in 2003 and, not the least, the recent global economic crisis should have reminded the authors of the speed and accuracy with which it responded to these comprehensive threats to its grip on power. Therefore, while notwithstanding China’s looming environmental and demographic crises or its highly risky policies regarding its housing market (Shambaugh 2014), mistaking China for the Soviet Union and its immobile and ailing government system might tempt theorists and strategists alike into far-reaching miscalculations to the detriment of US strategic planning. 3. Conceptual criticisms: deceiving omissions The notion of SOTD openly dispenses with any thinking about what is politically going to happen before and whilst the aforementioned material gaps, that separate the US and China at the moment, are clos- 14 As both states’ economies are tightly interlinked and closely tied into the global economy, it is striking that, throughout the text, Brooks and Wohlforth attribute an unrealistically linear and upwards projection of its economic development to the US, while China’s future development is fraught with potential collapses and crises of its market. 123 Containment’s Deceit ing.15 Indeed, Brooks and Wohlforth’s defensive, technology-driven, approach implies that no substantive political actions should be expected that could meaningfully affect the US posture in the next couple of decades as it would be irrational for China to engage with the US as long as it is not an equal peer. However, their SOTD concept thereby ignores or, at least, severely underestimates the degree to which China has already attained sufficient power to begin undercutting, if not yet effectively disrupting, the United States’ longstanding efforts to maintain its dominance over East Asia. Without a doubt, regional events have demonstrated that it does not require full-spectrum and comprehensive material equality on China’s part to manifestly undermine the United States’ regional presence. In particular, Chinese naval tactics have aimed at asymmetrically re-shaping the “strategic perception” of smaller regional states by putting into question the United States’ long-term credibility.16 Beijing’s ‘salami tactics’ has perforated US naval predominance by using the presence of its exceedingly vast coast guard (notwithstanding the growth of its navy) and by building artificial islands for military purposes in the South China Sea.17 By doing that, China demonstrates that “supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting” (Sun 2002: 48; also Freedman 2013: 44; Christensen 15 A powerful and widely shared argument, unwittingly supporting Brooks and Wohlforth, holds that the US has never bothered to think about the consequences of its behaviour. As Jervis (2009: 199) put it, “not only will the unipole resolve the conflict between its views and interests and those of others in favor of the former, but it will also fail to see that there is any tension at all.” – As this section shows, though, such an approach bears thus far undertheorized consequences. 16 Such was the conclusion of four Western diplomats and military attaches in Beijing (author’s interviews, April 2017). This confirmed earlier (July 2016) and later (May 2017) conversations held with key officials in the US, UK and Europe. 17 In one instance, China entered the waters around the contested Diaoyu with some 230 fishing vessels, which were accompanied by coast guard ships in 2016 (Lind 2017: 76). 124 Maximilian Terhalle 2001).18 As a result, no closing of the gaps, i. e. no equality in material power, has arguably been necessary to achieve the current state of affairs. In other words, all of this is happening already and well before Brooks and Wohlforth’s long terms of procurement are fulfilled or their vast technology gaps are closed. More precisely, in terms of economic power, as the foundation of technological and military strength, China already has “what it takes”, namely, “strong current and potential capabilities” in order to interfere with US calculations (Khong 2001: 35; Krasner 1978). In fact, China’s growth will, even by conservative estimates, continue, though less impressively and, thus, more gradually. Based on data collected by the IMF and the Economist’s Intelligence Unit, Harvard University’s Belfer Center showed that China surpassed the US in terms of its GDP, measured in PPP, in 2014 (18.2 v. 17.9 bn USD), and will have further tipped the balance in its favour by 2024 (35.6 v. 25 bn USD) (Harvard University 2017). Moreover, according to an in-depth study by the Carnegie Endowment, this development, measured in PPP, will have extended the gap to 36.5 versus 27.5 trillion USD by 2040 (Swaine 2016: 27, 29). As for military spending, Michael Swaine of the Carnegie Endowment suggests that the US will spend some 1.3 trillion dollars for its military by 2040 and China 711 billion dollars (Swaine 2016: 27–29). As US officials have repeatedly claimed, America will devote some 60 percent of its military to East Asia already by 2020; however, and this is crucial, it will only spend 60 percent as opposed to the almost 100 percent that China will be able to spend on safeguarding its regional interests. Ceteris paribus, this would mean that the US would spend ca. $ 780 billion and China some 700 billion by 2040.19 To this 18 On China’s civilian and paramilitary capabilities, see also Department of Defence (2017: 56). 19 Though these long-term projections of GDP growth (in PPP) may be based on well-researched methodologies, external factors, such as ‘black swans’ or unpredictable events, may well change their equations. Regarding the 125 Containment’s Deceit may be added an insightful example of how China’s adaptive governance approach considerably narrows down this gap between the two defence budgets. Namely, China’s authorities have already opened up the domestic-capital market to the country’s major state-owned defence corporations. Thus, while the total funds raised in public- and private-equity offerings by the country’s ten big defence corporations totalled $ 31.6 billion between 2010 and 2016, “analysts estimate that if China follows the example of the US, which has around 70 percent of defence-industrial assets listed, it could allow Chinese firms to raise upwards of another $ 152 billion” (IISS 2017a: 262). Asked whether the United States could overturn the structural economic balance again that China has come to shape in its favour in East Asia, key US officials such as General Mattis (echoing Admiral Harris) have bluntly admitted, “No, Sir” (Hennigan 2017). In other words, unless the US drastically and constantly extends its military budget in line with China’s inherently greater endowment with larger resources, sustaining its military superiority in China’s backyard and globally will increasingly become less feasible in the next decade(s) relative to earlier decades (Biddle/Oelrich 2016: 10; Department of Defense 2017: 65). Moreover, regarding Brooks and Wohlforths’s ‘closing of the technological gap’, it needs to be stressed that China’s ‘closing’ may not only be ‘very hard’, as they suggested earlier, but deceivingly unattainable. This is because the default technological policy of the United States has traditionally been to have the edge over any of its competitors and allies and to continuously widen that gap.20 For instance, Ashton Carter demanded in his 2017 ‘exit memo’: “As we have in the past, DoD must invest to ensure America pioneers and dominates the technological frontiers related to military superiority. DoD is therefore pursuing research methods used in the studies quoted, see Swaine (2016: 149–180), Harvard University (2017). 20 The differences between the US and the other NATO members in terms of technological development (and their debates about problems in regard to joint warfare) is a classic example of this case. 126 Maximilian Terhalle new technology development to maintain our military’s technological superiority” (Carter 2017). In other words, the authors effectively lead American policymakers to (uncritically) trust in US structural technological superiority because Beijing will inevitably have to adjust to unattainable structural realities set, and constantly developed further, by the United States (Ikenberry 2014: 97). But, that is far from being an uncontested proposition. In fact, the authors seem to underestimate China’s dynamic mix of the production of indigenous high-tech knowledge, the fast proliferation of already existing (Western) expertise, employing cyber-theft and its intelligence services as well as state-sponsored and targeted high-tech ‘shopping tours’, which Chinese entrepreneurs have undertaken in recent years, for instance, in the US and Western Europe. For instance, in addition to the advances China has made in A2/AD technologies and Xi’s “serious prioritisation” of technological innovation, Beijing has demonstrated its capacity to reach technological breakthroughs in naval affairs (e. g. type-055 program) and in regard to its air force (short-range missile, drones), as the latest annual Pentagon report to Congress concluded (Department of Defense 2017: 53; IISS 2017a: 260). Whether these developments mean that Beijing „appears to be reaching near-parity with the West” in the near future, as the director of the IISS concluded from the Military Balance 2017 may not yet be clear; but, contrary to Brooks and Wohlforth’s ‘decades-long’ proposition, it would seem more accurate to suggest that Western dominance „can no longer be taken for granted” (IISS 2017b). Spelling out some of the immediate consequences of this problem, Admiral Harris stressed, as one among the few self-critical voices, that taking “our dominance in high tech advanced weapons … for granted … would be a strategic mistake” (2017: 34). A minority of theorists has begun to understand the built-in carelessness of policies such as SOTD. For instance, Jervis cautions against such policies as they may “often lead to disaster”, mainly because “states ignore strategic interaction and 127 Containment’s Deceit act as though others are on auto-pilot and will not react to what they do” (2017: 124; also Jervis 1997: 258–260). In fact, China continues to ‘react’ by propelling its R&D forward through new, state-sponsored think-tanks which address its currently suboptimal defence-industry performance, such as the “Strategic Committee of Science, Technology and Industry Development for National Defence” in 2015 (IISS 2017a: 10). In turn, these undertakings have evolved into further new innovation-oriented development strategies aimed at the “establishment of large-scale national laboratories”, modelled after the US laboratories in Los Almos (IISS 2017a: 260). 4. Theoretical criticisms: Liddell Hart’s misconstrued endorsement Brooks and Wohlforth’s little specified reliance on Liddell-Hart’s concept of SOTD is deeply problematic. In particular, it demonstrates the authors’ consequential disregard for the potential of US agency and thus imposes it with an unnecessary degree of passivity.21 A closer reading of Liddell Heart, though, reveals two major flaws. First, Liddell Hart devised his strategic thinking exclusively for military purposes (1929/1991: 322). Precisely because they adopt the quintessentially military logic of Liddell Heart’s book on “Strategy”, they consequently agree with him, if never explicated, that the “fundamental error” among military thinkers and practitioners of war is to “give[.] your opponent freedom and time to concentrate to meet your concentration” (Liddell Hart 1929/1991: 334).22 However, by transferring this “concentrated essence” 21 This is all the more striking as the US government possesses several ‘lessons learned’ centers, for instance, at the Marine Corps (http://www.mcwl.marines.mil/MCCLL/) and the Army (http://usacac.army.mil/organizations/ mccoe/call/ll-course). 22 Recently (Hudson 2015), Senator Tom Cotton (Arkansas) confirmed this distortion of diplomatic and military realms when he suggested that in for- 128 Maximilian Terhalle of purely military “strategy and tactics”, which are explicitly aimed at “the attainment of the political object of war” (Liddell Hart 1929: 322), to an environment in which competition might be tense, but war has not (yet) broken out and concrete war aims have not been defined, Brooks and Wohlforth deprive the US of the manifold opportunities available to self-evaluate its policies – and thereby reinforce the passivity underlying SOTD. In other words, Brooks and Wohlforth’s particular adoption of Liddell Hart reveals a major category mistake. In doing so, the authors adopt a rather narrow military notion of strategy which contradicts broader understandings of strategy, as introduced by Clausewitz and further developed by many of his successors. In fact, while suspiciously observing the policy moves and analysing perceived intentions of others, great powers apply strategies in peace and war time. During peace time, those powers do not only prepare the always possible worst case but also employ, with varying success, all diplomatic and economic means available to weaken the hand of a given adversary. Such an approach employs techniques such as outfoxing the potential enemy in gaining short- and long-term advantages, undermining his ability to form alliances and finessing his international prestige in ways that make him look like an unfavourable leader, or potential threat, to others (Clausewitz 1980: 218–219). In other words, Brooks and Wohlforth’s reading of Liddell Heart’s categories theoretically assumes away the principally available time to undertake policy reviews and possible adjustments and, in turn, unnecessarily constrain, to the largest extent possible, the diplomatic choices available to the United States during peace time. Second, not only does Brooks and Wohlforth’s strategy commence first when war breaks out, and thereby deprives the US of significant political means to possibly strengthen its position, their understanding of the ‘defensive’ nature of SOTD also bears little resemblance to eign policy one needed to “choke … out” one’s opponents, as “in the army and in combat.” 129 Containment’s Deceit Liddell Hart’s original conception of the nature of strategy. After all, Liddlell Hart’s practical, first-hand experience of the trenches in one of WWI’s most brutal battles (at the Somme in 1916) and the consequences he drew from that are diametrically opposed to the ‘defensive’ core element in Brooks and Wohlforth’s SOTD approach. In fact, Liddell Hart’s entire conceptual thinking after the war was committed to avoiding the narrow and status-quo oriented ‘defense’ of the trenches, as mistakenly implied by Brooks and Wohlforth; instead, he was keen to identify ways of achieving victory by way of the “indirect approach”, which was to “diminish the possibility of resistance” (quoted in Freedman 2013: 137). Briefly, Liddell Hart’s thinking was all about surprise, flexibility, intent on using an indirect way of subduing the enemy and thereby overcoming the draining logic of ‘standing on the defensive’ in the trenches. As he put it: “Dislocation is the aim of strategy; its sequel may either be the enemy’s dissolution or his easier disruption in battle” (quoted in Freedman 2013: 137). Thus, Liddell Hart’s admittedly purely military notion of strategy was characterised by a dynamic sense of action (read agency), which runs counter to Brooks and Wohlforth’s defensive and static understanding of the former’s conception of strategy. 130 Maximilian Terhalle 5. Normative criticisms: cultural (full-spectrum) superiority23 Cultural superiority is deeply embedded in the ‘full-spectrum superiority’ of US containment policies, such as SOTD. Brooks and Wohlforth’s exclusively structural analysis, though, rules out the necessity to draw attention to this narrative of cultural superiority. Their omission is crucial in that it prevents the authors from understanding why their belief in, and defence of, the US being the ‘no. 1’ (as in their ‘1+Y+X’ power equation) in world politics is intrinsically culturally charged and thereby prevents them from being receptive to systemic changes as well as to possible policy revisions. Lee Kuan Yew anticipated this difficulty when he found that America’s “sense of cultural supremacy [will] make … adjustment … most difficult” (quoted in Terhalle 2015: 99). This section does not aim to reconcile or analyse both, US and Chinese, notions of superiority (see Terhalle 2015: 76–105). Instead, it focuses on normative criticisms that may be raised against Brooks and Wohlforth’s concept of containment. The analysis shows why ‘closing-the-gap’ and SOTD are not at all purely material approaches and shows but are intrinsically shaped by US cultural superiority. Significantly, these criticisms demonstrate why it is only the notion of cultural superiority that, built into full-spectrum superiority, more comprehensively explains why SOTD-based containment works in the 23 This section uses the term superiority and distinguishes it from exceptionalism, as the latter one is principally applicable to any nation. As Terhalle put it (2015: 88): “Superior worldviews employ the domestic analogy as do exceptional ones but they infuse it with cultural references of superiority, predicated on material capabilities, which middle-powers do not possess.” See also Holsti (2010); Shafer (1999). – Even though many texts choose the former term, any usages (quotes) thereof in this article should be read as cases of superiority. 131 Containment’s Deceit first place but, in turn, why such superiority severely undercuts crucial possibilities of integrating processes of revising US (containment) policymaking processes. This is all the more concerning as the core problem of overcoming US-Chinese strategic distrust is not about their cultural differences but their similarity in “viewing themselves as exceptional powers”, as the former NSC director for Asia admitted (Medeiros quoted in Armbruster 2016). Against Brooks and Wohlforth’s omission, Kissinger therefore points to the “deepest challenge of the Sino-American relationship”, which he precisely sees as emerging from the deep cultural entrenchment of US and Chinese sentiments of superiority (2011).24 In the (familiar) US case, the roots of superiority are condensed in the “American creed”, i. e. the liberal core beliefs which are permanently anchored in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and in the veneration of the Founding Fathers (Lipset 1997; Mead 2002). As the majority of (US) IR theorists sees it, the liberal template that this creed has provided for US politics, its society and economy has proven itself as that domestic principle which has made the United States “by far the most successful great power in late modern times” (Deudney/Meiser 2012: 21; Hunt 2007; Smith 1993; Hoff 2008). Based on the vindication that this template has received through the US’ achievements in the two World Wars, the Cold War, in the global economic competition and in regard to the appeal of its mass culture, America views itself as the natural leader of the “just peace” it promotes (National Security Strategy 2010: 5). As another prominent theorist put it, there is “only one path to modernity (left) … and that is essentially liberal in character” (Ikenberry 2009: 93). More practically, such self-perceptions critically affect (US) understandings of power hierarchies. Notably, a key national security document distin- 24 Kissinger (2011). Chinese notions of cultural superiority are no less exclusive. See, among others, Terhalle 2015; Schweller/Pu 2011; Callahan 2012; Yongjin/Buzan 2012. 132 Maximilian Terhalle guishes between non-democratic and democratic states, stressing that only the latter ones may help pursue the ‘just peace’ as their commitment to democratic values makes them “stronger partners”, whose cooperation stands out as innately “more successful” (National Security Strategy 2010: 5). Conspicuously, such a deeply rooted belief in the superiority of democratic states, and their leadership by the United States, underlines the degree to which US cultural superiority may at least delay or, more likely, make re-considerations of its China-related containment policies virtually inconceivable. In regard to Brooks and Wohlforth, none of this is to say that structural components have not played a critical role in these developments. They have indeed; though, the key point is that these developments have, first, been driven forward by the US’ concomitantly growing belief in the righteousness of these achievements and, second, they have elicited a kind of self-understanding that has, over a vast timespan, been constructed of success and privilege. Thus, not unsurprisingly, this is what accounts for the sense of superiority that characterises the US view of itself. As Jervis put it, “states that have gained a favourable position … tend to conclude that their country is uniquely wise and that those who are seeking to displace them are morally inferior” (Jervis 2011: 36). As a result, it is safe to assume that the US belief in its superiority underlies the denial-driven policy of SOTD. Critically, while such superiority powerfully sustains the status quo (of containment), its longstanding entrenchment in the minds of policymakers has, at the same time, made it virtually impenetrable and has deflected criticisms. Indeed, there is reason to believe that a majority of US theorists and policymakers does not see that there is any tension arising from this matter at all. As things stand, this finding includes Brooks and Wohlforth. 133 Containment’s Deceit 6. Conclusion Containment has been an integral and successful part of US security policies for seven decades. Nevertheless, precisely because it has always been a flexible tool to achieve an overarching goal, i. e. sustaining US hegemony, its purely defensive re-interpretation by Brooks and Wohlforth provides the deceiving reassurance that the status quo has not changed and that it is for others to adapt to it. Thereby, Brooks and Wohlforth’s SOTD inadvertently exaggerates the assumed advantages of the reassurance provided by the United States’ structural superiority. Such reassurance, deeply culturally entrenched as it is, leads them to exempt the US from carefully adapting the security-related policies of today’s most critical bilateral relationship. In fact, their approach instils a deceivingly comfortable self-confidence that may make the US prone to the “failure to self-evaluate” its strategic stance of ‘standing on the defensive’ which, in turn, “impedes national learning and allows misperceptions to flourish” (Van Evera 2003: 163; Johnson 2004). From the US perspective, sticking to it might not be unlikely. Though, it might eventually prove to be a strategically damaging guiding principle. As John Gray warned: “Overconfident expectation of the triumph of one’s will has been a recurring feature in strategic history” (2016: 14). In any event, the US’ today’s concerns over Russia and the former’s tariff-based economic policies vis-à-vis Beijing already appear to reveal a degree of agency, though, which Brooks and Wohlforth’s particular understanding of containment largely overlooks. 134 Maximilian Terhalle References Acharya, A. 2014. The End of the American World Order. Cambridge: Polity. Allison, G. 2017. Destined for War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Allison. 2015. The Thucydides Trap: Are the U. S. and China Headed for War? In 12 of 16 past cases in which a rising power has confronted a ruling power, the result has been bloodshed. September 24 https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/united-states-china-war-thucydides-trap/406756/. Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. 2017. U. S. Navy Commander, U. S. Pacific Command, Statement before the House Armed Services Committee on U. S. Pacific Command Posture, 26 April. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/ AS00/20170426/105870/HHRG–115-AS00-Wstate-HarrisH–20170426.PDF. Ang, Y. 2016. How China Escaped the Poverty Trap. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Armbruster, A. 2016. Ex-Obama-Berater Evan Medeiros: Chinas Präsident hat seine Macht schnell gefestigt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 17, http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/wirtschaftspolitik/ex-obama-berater-medeiros-chinas-praesident-hat-seine-macht-schnell-gefestigt–14118503.html. Barlow, J. 2009. From Hot War to Cold: The U. S. Navy and National Security Affairs, 1945–1955. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Beckley, M. 2011–12. China’s Century? Why America’s Edge Will Endure. International Security 36(3): 41–78. Betts, R. 2012. American Force. New York: Columbia University Press. Brooks, S./Wohlforth, W. 2016. America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press. Biddle, S. and I. Oelrich. 2016. Future Warfare in the Western Pacific. International Security 41 (1): 7–48. 135 Containment’s Deceit Brooks, S. and W. Wohlforth. 2015–16. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in the Twenty-First Century. China’s Rise and the Fate of America’s Global Position. International Security 40 (3): 7–53. Brown, K. 2017. China’s Foreign Policy. In Brown (ed.) The Critical Transition: China’s Priorities for 2021. Chatham House, Research Paper, February. https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/publications/research/2017–02–02-critical-transition-china-priorities–2021-brown.pdf. Callahan, W. 2012. Sino-Speak. Chinese Exceptionalism and the Politics of History. Journal of Asian Studies 71(1), 33–55. Carter, A. 2017. Taking the Long View, Investing for the Future. 1 May https:// www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/FINAL-DOD-Exit-Memo. pdf. Christensen, T. 2001. Posing Problems Without Catching Up: China’s Rise and Challenges for U. S. Security Policy. International Security 25(4): 7–38. Chung, J. 2016. Centrifugal Empire: Central-Local Relations in China. New York: Columbia University Press 2016. Clausewitz, C.v. 1980. Vom Kriege. Bonn: Ferdinand Dummlers Verlag. Cox, M./Sokes, D. (eds.). 2012. US Foreign Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Daly, R. 2017, quoted in Politico Magazine, 1/3/2017, What’s the Biggest Test Trump Will Face in 2017? http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/ whats-the-biggest-test-trump-will-face-in–2017–214594. Deudney, D./Meiser, J. 2012. American Exceptionalism. In Cox, M./Stokes, D. (eds.). US Foreign Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 21–39. Department of Defense 2017. Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China. https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2017_China_Military_Power_Report.PDF. Fish, I. 2014. Is China Still a ‘Developing Country’? September 25 http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/25/is-china-still-a-developing-country/. Freedman, L. 2013. Strategy: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Freedman 2004. Deterrence. Cambridge: Polity. 136 Maximilian Terhalle Gaddis, J. 2005. Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy during the Cold War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Goh, E. 2016. Southeast Asian Strategies toward the Great Powers: Still Hedging after All These Years? The Asan Forum 4(1): 1–9. Gray, J. 2016. The Future of Strategy. Cambridge: Polity. Harvard University 2017. Belfer Center, Thucydides’s Trap: Who’s rebalancing whom? http://www.belfercenter.org/thucydides-trap/resources/whos-rebalancing-whom. Haslam, J. 2014. Russia’s Cold War. New Haven: Yale University Press. Heilmann, S. 2011. Elizabeth J. Perry, Jae Ho Chung, Nara Dillon, Nara Fewsmith, Mao’s Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hennigan, W. 2017. James Mattis draws little flak at confirmation to head Defense Department, January 12. http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/ trailguide/la-na-mattis-confirmation–20170111-story.html. Heuser, B. 2010. The Evolution of Strategy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hoff, J. 2008. A Faustian Foreign Policy from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush. Dreams of Perfectibility. New York: Cambridge University Press. Holsti, K. 2010. Exceptionalism in American Foreign Policy: Is it Exceptional? European Journal of International Relations 17(3), 381–404. Hudson Institute (2015). Dialogues on American Strategy and Statesmanship: Senator Tom Cotton and Walter Russell Mead, March 18 https://hudson. org/events/1232-dialogues-on-american-strategy-and-statesmanship-senator-tom-cotton-and-walter-russell-mead32015. Hunt, M. 2007. The American Ascendancy: How the US Gained and Wielded Global Dominance. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. IISS 2017a. Military Balance. Abingdon: Routledge. IISS 2017b. China’s military progress challenges Western dominance. February 14, http://www.dw.com/en/chinas-military-progress-challenges-western-dominance-says-iiss/a–37552817. 137 Containment’s Deceit Ikenberry, J. 2014 (ed.). Power, Order and Change in World Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press. Ikenberry 2009. Which Way Is History Marching? Debating the Authoritarian Revival https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2009–07–01/ which-way-history-marching. Jervis, R. 2017. How Statesmen Think. The Psychology of International Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Jervis 1997. System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Jervis 2011. Morality, Policy, and Theory, in Guilhot, Nicolas (ed.) The Invention of International Relations Theory. New York: Columbia University Press. Johnson, D. 2004. Overconfidence and War: The Havoc and Glory of Positive Illusions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Johnston, A. 2013. How New and Assertive is China’s Assertiveness. International Security 37(4): 7–48. Kennan, G. F. 1967. Memoirs. Boston: Little. Khong, Y. 2001. Negotiating Order During Power Transitions. In Kupchan, C. (ed.) Power in Transition: The Peaceful Change of International Order. Tokyo: United Nations University, 50–64. Kissinger, H. 2011. Avoiding a US-China Cold War, 14 January, http://www. washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/13/AR2011011306408. html. Krasner, S. 1978. Defending the National Interest: Raw Materials Investments and U. S. Foreign Policy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Leffler, M. 2011. September 11 in Retrospect. George W. Bush’s Grand Strategy, Reconsidered. Foreign Affairs 90(5): 120–135. Leffler 1992. Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Lieber, R. 2012. Power and Willpower in the American Future: Why the United States Is Not Destined to Decline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 138 Maximilian Terhalle Liff, A./Ikenberry, J. 2014. Racing toward Tragedy? China’s Rise, Military Competition in the Asia Pacific, and the Security Dilemma. International Security 39(2): 52–91. Lipset, S. 1997. American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. New York: Norton. Liddell Hart, B.H. 1929/1991. Strategy. New York: Meridian. Mead, W. 2002. Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World. New York: Routledge. National Security Strategy (2010, U. S.), http://nssarchive.us/NSSR/2010.pdf. Nye, J. 2015. Is the American Century Over? Cambridge: Polity. New York Times (1992). US Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop. March 8, http://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/08/world/us-strategyplan-calls-for-insuring-no-rivals-develop.html?pagewanted=all. Patrick, S. 2011. Irresponsible stakeholders? The Difficulty of Integrating Rising Powers. Foreign Affairs 89(6): 45–55. Rutland, P. 1993. The Politics of Economic Stagnation in the Soviet Union: The Rule of Local Party Organs in Economic Management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schweller, Randall/Pu, Xiayou. 2011. After Unipolarity: China’s Visions of International Order in an Era of US Decline. International Security 36(1): 41–72. Service, R. 1997. A History of the Twentieth Century Russia. London: Penguin. Shafer, B. 1999. American Exceptionalism. American Review of Political Science 2(1): 445–463. Shirk, S. 2007. Fragile Superpower. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Shambaugh, D. 2014. Partial Superpower. New York: Oxford University Press. Smith, R. 1993. Beyond Tocqueville, Myrdal, and Hartz: The Multiple Traditions in America. American Political Science Review 87(2): 549–566. Stapleton, R. 2016. The Changing Geopolitics of East Asia, July 25. https://www. wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/stapletonroy_geopoliticsofeastasia.pdf. 139 Containment’s Deceit Swaine, M. 2016. Creating a stable Asia. An agenda for a stable US-China balance of power. 26 October. http://carnegieendowment.org/files/CEIP_ Swaine_U. S.-Asia_Final.pdf. Terhalle, M. 2015. The Transition of Global Order: Contestation and Legitimacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Terhalle 2011. Realism’s Military/Technical Wing and International Politics. International Studies Review 13(2), 156–165. Van Evera, S. 2003. Why States Believe Foolish Ideas: Non-self-evaluation by States and Societies. In Hanami, Andrew (ed.) Perspectives on Structural Realism. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Wohlforth, W. 2014. Hegemonic Decline and Hegemonic War Revisited, in Ikenberry (ed.) Power, Order and Change in World Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press. World Bank 2017, data for 1991 on Russia’s demography, http://data.worldbank.org/country/russian-federation; on data of the world population, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL. Yongjin, Z./Buzan, B. 2012. The Tributary System as International Society in Theory and Practice. Chinese Journal of International Politics 5(1): 3–36. Xuetong, Y. 2014. From Keeping a Low Profile to Striving for Achievement. Chinese Journal of International Politics 7(2): 153–84. 140 Maximilian Terhalle

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References
Acharya, A. 2014. The End of the American World Order. Cambridge: Polity.
Allison, G. 2017. Destined for War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Allison. 2015. The Thucydides Trap: Are the U. S. and China Headed for War? In 12 of 16 past cases in which a rising power has confronted a ruling power, the result has been bloodshed. September 24 https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/united-states-china-war-thucydides-trap/406756/.
Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. 2017. U. S. Navy Commander, U. S. Pacific Command, Statement before the House Armed Services Committee on U. S. Pacific Command Posture, 26 April. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS00/20170426/105870/HHRG-115-AS00-Wstate-HarrisH-20170426.PDF.
Ang, Y. 2016. How China Escaped the Poverty Trap. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Armbruster, A. 2016. Ex-Obama-Berater Evan Medeiros: Chinas Präsident hat seine Macht schnell gefestigt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 17, http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/wirtschaftspolitik/ex-obama-berater-medeiros-chinas-praesident-hat-seine-macht-schnell-gefestigt-14118503.html.
Barlow, J. 2009. From Hot War to Cold: The U. S. Navy and National Security Affairs, 1945-1955. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Beckley, M. 2011-12. China’s Century? Why America’s Edge Will Endure. International Security 36(3): 41-78.
Betts, R. 2012. American Force. New York: Columbia University Press.
Brooks, S./Wohlforth, W. 2016. America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press.
Biddle, S. and I. Oelrich. 2016. Future Warfare in the Western Pacific. International Security 41 (1): 7-48.
Brooks, S. and W. Wohlforth. 2015-16. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in the Twenty-First Century. China’s Rise and the Fate of America’s Global Position. International Security 40 (3): 7-53.
Brown, K. 2017. China’s Foreign Policy. In Brown (ed.) The Critical Transition: China’s Priorities for 2021. Chatham House, Research Paper, February. https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/publications/research/2017-02-02-critical-transition-china-priorities-2021-brown.pdf.
Callahan, W. 2012. Sino-Speak. Chinese Exceptionalism and the Politics of History. Journal of Asian Studies 71(1), 33-55.
Carter, A. 2017. Taking the Long View, Investing for the Future. 1 May https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/FINAL-DOD-Exit-Memo.pdf.
Christensen, T. 2001. Posing Problems Without Catching Up: China’s Rise and Challenges for U. S. Security Policy. International Security 25(4): 7-38.
Chung, J. 2016. Centrifugal Empire: Central-Local Relations in China. New York: Columbia University Press 2016.
Clausewitz, C.v. 1980. Vom Kriege. Bonn: Ferdinand Dummlers Verlag.
Cox, M./Sokes, D. (eds.). 2012. US Foreign Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Daly, R. 2017, quoted in Politico Magazine, 1/3/2017, What’s the Biggest Test Trump Will Face in 2017? http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/whats-the-biggest-test-trump-will-face-in-2017-214594.
Deudney, D./Meiser, J. 2012. American Exceptionalism. In Cox, M./Stokes, D. (eds.). US Foreign Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 21-39.
Department of Defense 2017. Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China. https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2017_China_Military_Power_Report.PDF.
Fish, I. 2014. Is China Still a ‘Developing Country’? September 25 http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/25/is-china-still-a-developing-country/.
Freedman, L. 2013. Strategy: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Freedman 2004. Deterrence. Cambridge: Polity.
Gaddis, J. 2005. Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy during the Cold War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Goh, E. 2016. Southeast Asian Strategies toward the Great Powers: Still Hedging after All These Years? The Asan Forum 4(1): 1-9.
Gray, J. 2016. The Future of Strategy. Cambridge: Polity.
Harvard University 2017. Belfer Center, Thucydides’s Trap: Who’s rebalancing whom? http://www.belfercenter.org/thucydides-trap/resources/whos-rebalancing-whom.
Haslam, J. 2014. Russia’s Cold War. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Heilmann, S. 2011. Elizabeth J. Perry, Jae Ho Chung, Nara Dillon, Nara Fewsmith, Mao’s Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hennigan, W. 2017. James Mattis draws little flak at confirmation to head Defense Department, January 12. http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-mattis-confirmation-20170111-story.html.
Heuser, B. 2010. The Evolution of Strategy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hoff, J. 2008. A Faustian Foreign Policy from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush. Dreams of Perfectibility. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Holsti, K. 2010. Exceptionalism in American Foreign Policy: Is it Exceptional? European Journal of International Relations 17(3), 381-404.
Hudson Institute (2015). Dialogues on American Strategy and Statesmanship: Senator Tom Cotton and Walter Russell Mead, March 18 https://hudson.org/events/1232-dialogues-on-american-strategy-and-statesmanship-senator-tom-cotton-and-walter-russell-mead32015.
Hunt, M. 2007. The American Ascendancy: How the US Gained and Wielded Global Dominance. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
IISS 2017a. Military Balance. Abingdon: Routledge.
IISS 2017b. China’s military progress challenges Western dominance. February 14, http://www.dw.com/en/chinas-military-progress-challenges-western-dominance-says-iiss/a-37552817.
Ikenberry, J. 2014 (ed.). Power, Order and Change in World Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ikenberry 2009. Which Way Is History Marching? Debating the Authoritarian Revival https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2009-07-01/which-way-history-marching.
Jervis, R. 2017. How Statesmen Think. The Psychology of International Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Jervis 1997. System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Jervis 2011. Morality, Policy, and Theory, in Guilhot, Nicolas (ed.) The Invention of International Relations Theory. New York: Columbia University Press.
Johnson, D. 2004. Overconfidence and War: The Havoc and Glory of Positive Illusions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Johnston, A. 2013. How New and Assertive is China’s Assertiveness. International Security 37(4): 7-48.
Kennan, G. F. 1967. Memoirs. Boston: Little.
Khong, Y. 2001. Negotiating Order During Power Transitions. In Kupchan, C. (ed.) Power in Transition: The Peaceful Change of International Order. Tokyo: United Nations University, 50-64.
Kissinger, H. 2011. Avoiding a US-China Cold War, 14 January, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/13/AR2011011306408.html.
Krasner, S. 1978. Defending the National Interest: Raw Materials Investments and U. S. Foreign Policy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Leffler, M. 2011. September 11 in Retrospect. George W. Bush’s Grand Strategy, Reconsidered. Foreign Affairs 90(5): 120-135.
Leffler 1992. Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Lieber, R. 2012. Power and Willpower in the American Future: Why the United States Is Not Destined to Decline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Liff, A./Ikenberry, J. 2014. Racing toward Tragedy? China’s Rise, Military Competition in the Asia Pacific, and the Security Dilemma. International Security 39(2): 52-91.
Lipset, S. 1997. American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. New York: Norton.
Liddell Hart, B.H. 1929/1991. Strategy. New York: Meridian.
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Nye, J. 2015. Is the American Century Over? Cambridge: Polity.
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Patrick, S. 2011. Irresponsible stakeholders? The Difficulty of Integrating Rising Powers. Foreign Affairs 89(6): 45-55.
Rutland, P. 1993. The Politics of Economic Stagnation in the Soviet Union: The Rule of Local Party Organs in Economic Management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schweller, Randall/Pu, Xiayou. 2011. After Unipolarity: China’s Visions of International Order in an Era of US Decline. International Security 36(1): 41-72.
Service, R. 1997. A History of the Twentieth Century Russia. London: Penguin.
Shafer, B. 1999. American Exceptionalism. American Review of Political Science 2(1): 445-463.
Shirk, S. 2007. Fragile Superpower. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Shambaugh, D. 2014. Partial Superpower. New York: Oxford University Press.
Smith, R. 1993. Beyond Tocqueville, Myrdal, and Hartz: The Multiple Traditions in America. American Political Science Review 87(2): 549-566.
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Terhalle 2011. Realism’s Military/Technical Wing and International Politics. International Studies Review 13(2), 156-165.
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Yongjin, Z./Buzan, B. 2012. The Tributary System as International Society in Theory and Practice. Chinese Journal of International Politics 5(1): 3-36.
Xuetong, Y. 2014. From Keeping a Low Profile to Striving for Achievement. Chinese Journal of International Politics 7(2): 153-84.

Abstract

Thinking and making strategy serve states’ vital interests. Innately bound up with power, strategy devises a future that reflects vital interests, using its willpower to protect them. Unprecedented, “Strategy as Vocation” introduces Strategic Studies while also offering Germany practical strategies.

The book contains articles in German and in English.

Zusammenfassung

Strategisches Denken und Handeln dient vitalen Interessen. Es verlangt den Blick auf die Macht – und in eine Zukunft, die diese vitalen Interessen entsprechend widerspiegeln soll. Dies gilt immer, besonders aber, wenn Weltordnungen im Umbruch sind. Strategie als Beruf widmet sich den zentralen Konzeptionen der hierzulande vernachlässigten, wiewohl von Deutschen mitgeprägten Strategic Studies und bietet strategischem Denken und Handeln damit erstmalig Grundlagen auf dem Stand der internationalen Forschung an. Konkrete Strategievorschläge sind integraler Bestandteil des Buches.

Das Buch enthält deutsche und englische Beiträge.

Prof. Maximilian Terhalle (@M_Terhalle) lehrt Strategic Studies an der Universität Winchester, ist mit dem King’s College London affiliiert und berät das britische Verteidigungsministerium. Zuvor hat er einige Jahre an den Universitäten Columbia, Yale, Oxford und Renmin (Peking) geforscht und gelehrt.

Terhalle's insightful, balanced, and perceptive essays bring the tools of strategic studies to bear on a range of current international issues. Theoretically sophisticated and empirically grounded, the analysis will be of great value to both the scholarly and policy communities.”

Prof. Robert Jervis, Columbia University, New York

Maximilian Terhalle gehört zu den frühen Streitern für eine strategische Ausrichtung unseres internationalen Ordnungsdenkens und der deutschen Außenpolitik. Sein scharfsinniges Buch bietet eine klare Analyse der instabil gewordenen Welt. Und zieht daraus konkrete Folgerungen für die Verantwortung Deutschlands und seiner Partner für westliche Werte und Interessen.“

Prof. Matthias Herdegen, Universität Bonn

Maximilian Terhalle is a refreshing independent voice on European and German security policy. There is a pressing need for systematic, clear-eyed, and realistic thinking about Germany’s role in a rapidly changing world, and this wide-ranging collection of essays is an important contribution to a much-needed set of debates.”

Prof. Stephen Walt, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government

The Germans have, for very understandable historical reasons, long been reluctant to engage in the kind of strategic thinking that comes naturally to the Anglo-Saxon world. Maximilian Terhalle, who is one of the Federal Republic’s most innovative experts in the field, is rightly dissatisfied with this opting out of the real world. His new book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand modern German strategy, or rather the lack of it, and the need for a National Security Council in the FRG.”

Prof. Brendan Simms, Cambridge University

Drawing on wide reading and with a nod to Max Weber, this thoughtful collection of essays by Maximilian Terhalle demonstrates the importance of strategic thinking and how it can be applied to the big issues of war and peace in the modern world.”

Prof. Lawrence Freedman, King’s College London

Die NATO ist strategisch nicht hirntot. Vielleicht aber bald eines seiner Mitglieder. Wer auch immer Deutschland führen wird, täte gut daran, sich den von Terhalle vorgelegten strategischen Kompass sehr genau anzusehen. Die eventuelle Wiederwahl Trumps und der unwahrscheinliche Machtverzicht Putins und Xis bedürfen nicht nur einer erkennbar europäischen Hand im Kanzleramt, sondern auch eines völlig neuen, eben strategischen Mindsets. Terhalles Konzepte für Entscheider sowie seine konkreten Ideen für die Zukunft westlicher Sicherheitspolitik bieten genau das.“

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Bundesminister a.D., New York/München

Strategisches Denken fehlt im Land des Carl von Clausewitz in allen Bereichen. In der Politik, der Wirtschaft und der Entwicklung von Leitlinien, wie Europa in einer Welt im Umbruch gestaltet werden sollte. Prof. Terhalles Buch zeigt Grundlagen auf und gibt Anregungen in wesentlichen Feldern der Politik. Es sollte von Entscheidern gelesen und genutzt werden.“

General a.D. Klaus Naumann, ehem. Vorsitzender des NATO-Militärausschusses und Generalinspekteur, München

Can Germany think strategically?’ Indeed, and more broadly, can the European Union become a strategic actor? These questions lie at the heart of Maximilian Terhalle’s no-holds-barred assessment of Europe’s options as the continent faces mounting challenges from both partners and adversaries East, South and West.”

François Heisbourg, Special Advisor, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris

Terhalle has produced a rich and wide-ranging series of essays on some of the enduring and more recent dilemmas of international security. These subtle but piercing reflections are in the best tradition of strategic studies, from Clausewitz to Freedman.”

Prof. John Bew, War Studies Department, King’s College London

A thought-provoking and illuminating series of essays that grapple with some of the toughest and most important questions facing contemporary Germany, Europe, and the United States, written by one of Germany's most forward-looking strategists.”

Elbridge Colby, Principal, The Marathon Initiative, former US Ass’t Deputy Secretary of Defence, Washington D.C.

Das neue Buch von Maximilian Terhalle, Strategie als Beruf, ist ein wichtiger Baustein bei der Grundsteinlegung für die hierzulande vernachlässigten ‘Strategic Studies’. Der Autor bürstet kräftig gegen den Strich und stellt liebgewordene Denkmuster in Frage. Man muss Terhalle keineswegs in jeder Hinsicht zustimmen. Aber wenn Deutschland und Europa tatsächlich die ‘Sprache der Macht’ erlernen wollen, wie vom EU-Außenbeauftragten Anfang 2020 gefordert, wird man nicht umhinkommen, sich mit seinen Thesen auseinanderzusetzen.“

Boris Ruge, Berlin

For too long, Germany’s deafening silence on strategic matters has struck international academic and policy observers alike. This is about to change. Maximilian Terhalle’s realpolitik-based as well as erudite deliberations on the art of strategy, closing with novel practical ideas for Europe’s future strategic security, betray exactly that.”

Prof. Christopher Coker, London School of Economics/LSE IDEAS

In Strategie als Beruf schreibt Maximilian Terhalle mit außerordentlich klarem Blick über Fragen sicherheitspolitischer Strategie und füllt damit ein Vakuum in Deutschland. Seine Ergebnisse sind unbequem für die von der Friedensforschung dominierten Debatten. Jeder, dem die Strategiefähigkeit des Landes und Europas wichtig ist, sollte seine Ideen kennen.“

Dr. Bastian Giegerich, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London

“For over a decade, Western scholars of strategy have almost exclusively focused on the likeliness of the Thucydides trap to emerge between the US and China. Remarkably, while Prof. Terhalle acknowledges their global strategic importance, he spells out what the potential trajectory of their relationship implies for NATO’s European members vis-à-vis Russia. – Realpolitik reigns.”

Prof. Wu Zhengyu, Renmin University, Peking