China: Making an Adversary

International Politics (2011) 48, 647-666, DOI:10.1057/ip.2011.27

20 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2012

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: 2011


Commentators in the Western media, the United States Congress and academia are increasingly contending that China is on its way to becoming a threatening global force, an adversary, if not an enemy. This article examines whether those views are justified, after first establishing the importance of critically assessing all claims that a nation is turning into an adversary. The examination proceeds by summarizing the arguments of those who consider China an adversary in the making – the ‘adversarians’ – and the responses of those who hold China is leaning toward a peaceful development and should be engaged – the ‘engagers.’ The discussion is organized into three segments, each analyzing the debate with regard to the different sectors of power: military/geopolitical, economic and ideational. The concluding sections explore alternative American responses to China’s rising power in each of the three sectors.

Keywords: China, power transition, power, United States

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, China: Making an Adversary (2011). International Politics (2011) 48, 647-666, DOI:10.1057/ip.2011.27, Available at SSRN:

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