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Video: David Shambaugh on "China Goes Global: The Partial Power"

The USC U.S.-China Institute hosted a talk by David Shambaugh on his new book China Goes Global. Shambaugh examines China's rise in influence in many realms, but argues that China's impact is broad but not deep. In many areas, Shambaugh says, China punches below its weight.

April 30, 2013

Citizens of nations across the globe cannot help but notice the spectacular growth of the Chinese economy in recent years. This country, the famous “workshop of the world,” appears on the front page of major newspapers on a daily basis. But, while many have focused on China’s politics, economic development, and social changes, few have considered how much influence China has in regional and international affairs. Is China trying to establish itself a global power, a challenger to the United States as a global leader? In his book, CHINA GOES GLOBAL: The Partial Power (Oxford University Press, 2013), David Shambaugh—a leading expert in Chinese studies with more than three decades of experience in China-watching—offers a comprehensive account of China’s prominence in the global arena. Assessing China’s activities all across the world and along six different dimensions—perceptual, diplomatic, global governance, economic, cultural, and strategic—Shambaugh argues that China lacks influence in most international domains and is not the kind of challenge to global order and the United States that many argue it is.

Shambaugh traced China’s development over the past thirty years, when its role in global affairs was relatively minor and mostly limited to East Asia. Drawing on his vast knowledge of the country, Shambaugh showed how China’s growing economic power has given the nation access to other industries, ranging from mineral mines in Africa, to currency markets in the West, to oilfields in the Middle East, to agribusiness in Latin America, to the factories of East Asia. And, he demonstrated China’s ambition by pointing to its growing military power and presence in diplomatic affairs, as well as its increasing cultural influence and the large role it plays in commercialism across the world. In spite of its astronomic growth, however, Shambaugh argued that China’s influence is still more broad than deep and that it lacks the influence attributed to a major world power. Instead, it is a “partial power.”


This video is also available on the USCI YouTube Channel.

About the Author:
David Shambaugh is an internationally recognized authority and author on contemporary China and the international relations of Asia (he also has a strong interest in the European Union and transatlantic issues). He is presently Professor of Political Science & International Affairs and the founding Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.  He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program and Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution. He was previously Reader in Chinese Politics in the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), where he also served as Editor of The China Quarterly.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. Asia-Pacific Council, and other public policy and scholarly organizations. He is a recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, German Marshall Fund, British Academy, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Fulbright Commission, and other philanthropic bodies. Professor Shambaugh has been a visiting scholar or professor at institutions in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Japan, Singapore, Russia, and Taiwan.  He is also a frequent contributor to the international media, serves on a number of editorial boards, and has been a consultant to various governments, research institutions, foundations, and private corporations.  As an author, he has written or edited 25 books, including China Goes Global: The Partial Power (2013); Tangled Titans: The United States and China (2012); Charting China’s Future: Domestic & International Challenges (2011); China’s Communist Party: Atrophy & Adaptation (2008); and International Relations of Asia (2008); Power Shift: China & Asia’s New Dynamics (2005). He received his B.A. in East Asian Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, M.A. in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan. 

Prof. Shambaugh last spoke at the USC U.S.-China Institute on China’s global image and its soft power aims. You can see that talk at our website, at our YouTube channel, and via our iTunesU collection.

View the event page here. China Goes Global is published by Oxford University Press. Click here to visit the publisher's page.