Haunted by Chaos
China’s Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping
By Sulmaan Wasif Khan
Harvard University Press, July 2018
Haunted by Chaos is an accessible but deeply researched study of China’s grand strategies since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
Harnessing Chinese official archives, Khan argues that “there has been, from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping, a consistent definition of national goals and a harnessing of military, diplomatic, economic, and political means to pursue these goals.” That primary goal, in his view, is to “secure the state” — and by extension, the party, which is “rightful governing party.”
A feeling of insecurity continues to dominate Chinese statecraft, even as the country has made remarkable leaps in economic development and is rapidly advancing as a military power. “Great power does not easily translate into a great sense of security,” Khan rightly notes.