New book released: Middle Powers and the Rise of China

Griffith Asia Institute Featured Publication
Purchase the book from Georgetown University Press

Edited byAssociate ProfessorBruce Gilley and Professor Andrew O’Neil

China’s rise is changing the dynamics of the international system.Middle Powers and the Rise of Chinais the first work to examine how the group of states referred to as “middle powers” are responding to China’s growing economic, diplomatic, and military power. States with capabilities immediately below those of great powers, middle powers still exercise influence far above most other states. Their role as significant trading partners and allies or adversaries in matters of regional security, nuclear proliferation, and global governance issues such as human rights and climate change are reshaping international politics.

Contributors review middle-power relations with China in the cases of South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, Turkey, and Brazil, addressing how these diverse nations are responding to a rising China, the impact of Chinese power on each, and whether these states are being attracted to China or deterred by its new power and assertiveness. Chapters also explore how much (or how little) China, and for comparison the US, value middle powers and examine whether or not middle powers can actually shape China’s behavior. By bringing a new analytic approach to a key issue in international politics, this unique treatment of emerging middle powers and the rise of China will interest scholars and students of international relations, security studies, China, and the diverse countries covered in the book.

“A refreshingly readable account of the theory and practice of middle power influence in the contemporary world, which should help to correct the longstanding and rather patronizing neglect of these actors by US academics and policymakers. The jury may still be out on the full extent to which the norm-creating and multilateral institution-building initiatives, and strategic positioning of these states, including my own, have moderated–and will continue to moderate–the course of China’s rise. But the analysis and argument here makes it hard to argue that the traditional great powers are the only players who matter.”

Gareth Evans, foreign minister of Australia 1988-96, and president emeritus of the International Crisis Group, Australian National University