ABOUT THIS BOOK
An American Interest Book of the Year
“Readers will not find a shrewder analysis as to why the Chinese act as they do.”
—Robert D. Kaplan
“An outstanding contribution to our understanding of that most urgent of contemporary geopolitical questions: what does China want?”
Before the Chinese Communist Party came to power, China lay broken and fragmented. Today it dominates the global stage, and yet its leaders have continued to be haunted by the past. Analyzing the calculus behind decision making at the highest levels, Sulmaan Wasif Khan explores how China’s leaders have harnessed diplomatic, military, and economic power to keep a fragile country safe in a hostile world. At once shrewd and dangerous, Mao Zedong made China whole and succeeded in keeping it so while the caustic Deng Xiaoping dragged China into the modern world. Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao were cautious custodians of Deng’s legacy, but Xi Jinping has shown a mounting assertiveness that has raised concern across the globe.
China’s grand strategies, while costly, have been largely successful. But will this time-tested approach be enough to tackle the looming threats of our age?
“Written with verve and insight, this will become the go-to book for anyone interested in the foundations of China’s grand strategy under Communist rule.”
—Odd Arne Westad, author of The Cold War
“Khan’s brilliant analysis will help policymakers understand the critical rise of China…Crucial if we are to avoid conflict with this emerging superpower.”
—Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO
“Khan argues that since before the People’s Republic of China’s founding, Chinese rulers have held remarkably consistent objectives, even as their definition of security has expanded.”
—Mira Rapp-Hooper, War on the Rocks
Written with verve and insight, this will become the go-to book for anyone interested in the foundations of China’s grand strategy under Communist rule.
-- Odd Arne Westad, author of The Cold War: A World History
Khan’s brilliant analysis will help policymakers understand the critical rise of China in the twenty-first century. He has written the essential guidebook to the evolution of China’s strategy—crucial if we are to avoid conflict with this emerging superpower.
-- Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy (Ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO
Haunted by Chaos is an ambitious and masterful study. In seeking to crack the ‘operational code’ of successive Chinese leaders, Khan argues that they all have been deeply driven by a profound sense of national insecurity. His book is a useful reminder that for all of China’s apparent strengths today, its fragilities and insecurities continue—a paradox worth watching as Beijing becomes a world power.
-- David Shambaugh, author of China’s Future
By emphasizing geography, Khan has unraveled the mystery of Chinese grand strategy, showing why insecurity lies at the root of Chinese power projection. A wise and seasoned book; readers will not find a shrewder analysis as to why the Chinese act as they do.
-- Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Revenge of Geography
[A] fine survey of Chinese grand strategy.
-- Richard Aldous American Interest
The foreign policy cognoscenti in Washington have spent the past three years in a collective China reckoning, based in part on the presumption that China’s foreign policy has radically changed. Khan argues that since before the People’s Republic of China’s founding, Chinese rulers have held remarkably consistent objectives, even as their definition of security has expanded.
-- Mira Rapp-Hooper War on the Rocks
An authoritative treatment of Chinese statecraft since Mao Zedong…Given China’s outsize presence on the world stage, Khan’s insights into the underlying rationale of its leadership will afford his own effort an audience beyond the field of international relations.
-- Publishers Weekly
Useful for decision-makers who might not understand that Beijing’s grand strategy is structural and firm and will not be charmed away or pared back by trade deals.
An outstanding contribution to our understanding of that most urgent of contemporary geopolitical questions: what does China want? Khan shows that Chinese grand strategy has always been a blend of ideology and pragmatism—sometimes skillful, sometimes careless, but always crucial to understanding global history and politics.
-- Rana Mitter, author of Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937–1945