I am honored to announce that my book manuscript "Understanding China's Foreign Policy Contradictions" is under contract with Oxford University Press. I hope the book will be available in the second half of 2021.
The book is based on my PhD that I have entirely rewritten over the course of 2020.
In the book, I address the contradictory approach to the role of state control inherent in China's foreign policy that has profound implications for its influence on the future international order. China has often emphasized that sovereignty and its underlying principle of state control is the normative core of its foreign policy that should serve as the "regulative idea" of a Chinese-led political order. The country's foreign policy practices are, however, far from constitently following this principle.
Based on an anthropological study, I open the black box of the Chinese party-state and trace the decisionmaking in three case comparisons covering very different fields of politics. I identify two trade-offs inherent in the party-state's domestic legitimation and the fragmented structure of the party-state as the source of the contradictory policy.
While China does not act from a position of strength but the foreign policy is the result of domestic vulnerabilities, this does neither imply the country does not aim to project its power internationally nor that it has no significant impact on the future international order. Instead, China’s contradictory foreign policy will contribute to a more particularistic, plural and fragmented international order. Its domestic focus rather limits the capabilities of external actors to change tha calculus that drives the ruling Chinese Communist Party in its foreign policy-making.