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While the author was indefatigable in chasing down every Chinese acitivity in remote areas of the world and describing them with careful fidelity, he was less successful in remaining objective as he drew his conclusions. The tone frequently hint at something negative on the underside of the Chinese even if not verified by his data. He seemed unable to give China full credit for whatever they are doing right. The book seemed full of tentative "yes, but" conclusions that I found frustrating. If there was a dark side to China's international relations, I wish the author would simply say so and back it up with his otherwise careful research.
On the other hand when he attempted to contrast what China was doing right with what the Bush Administration had been doing wrong, he was surprisingly mealy mouthed, never quite calling the neoconpoop unilateralism for the damage it did to American prestige and the respect the rest of the world once held for the U.S.
In sum, I recommend this book on a subject that has not been covered to this depth, a subject that will become increasingly important to foreign policy wonks, especially in Washington. I would simply discount some of his limp conclusions and pay attention to his field research.Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World (A New Republic Book) Overview
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