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Chinese HegemonyGrand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History$
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Feng Zhang

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804793896

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804793896.001.0001

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A Relational Theory of Grand Strategy

A Relational Theory of Grand Strategy

(p.20) Two A Relational Theory of Grand Strategy
Chinese Hegemony

Feng Zhang

Stanford University Press

Drawing on distinguished relational traditions in both China and the West, this chapter develops a relational theory to explain a distinct set of grand strategies that imperial China and its neighbors may adopt in their interactions. The theory provides a new framework for understanding the strategic dynamics of regional politics under the condition of Chinese hegemony. It also affords a new perspective on the role of Confucianism in Chinese foreign policy: constraining in the grand strategy of instrumental hierarchy but causal and constitutive in the grand strategy of expressive hierarchy. Equally important, it uncovers an expressive dimension of regional politics that is almost universally ignored in the existing literature. The theory also posits a major facilitating condition of rationality and strategy: They are both relational outcomes conditioned by the degree of the conflict of interest in particular relationships.

Keywords:   relationalism, grand strategy, Chinese hegemony, Confucianism, Chinese foreign policy, instrumental hierarchy, expressive hierarchy, expressive rationality

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