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George W. Bush’s post-9/11 East Asia policy: enabling China’s contemporary assertiveness

Lee, Pak K. (2023) George W. Bush’s post-9/11 East Asia policy: enabling China’s contemporary assertiveness. International Politics, 61 (3). pp. 587-611. ISSN 1384-5748. E-ISSN 1740-3898. (doi:10.1057/s41311-023-00486-0) (KAR id:104646)


It is commonly argued that China’s foreign policy and behaviour have become increasingly assertive since Xi Jinping took the reins of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This strategic transformation is seen as paving the way for a direct confrontation between China and the USA since the Trump presidency. Drawing on the logic of international order-building, however, this article argues that the groundwork for this strategic change was laid when Hu Jintao was leading the CCP and that what made it possible was George W. Bush’s China and East Asia policy after 9/11. Bush’s subsequent reduced interest in East Asia enabled China to fill the void left by an absence of US presence and influence in the region. This article asserts that American policy-makers may need to ponder what their order-building project to weaken and exclude an illiberal China should include.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1057/s41311-023-00486-0
Uncontrolled keywords: Dual hierarchy; US absenteeism; George W. Bush; State capitalism; International order-building; China’s assertiveness
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JK Political institutions and public administration (United States)
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administrations (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Robert Newman
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2024 17:31 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2024 14:19 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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