Chaos Under Heaven Book Summary - Chaos Under Heaven Book explained in key points
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Chaos Under Heaven summary

Josh Rogin

America, China, and the Battle for the 21st Century

4.2 (59 ratings)
32 mins

Brief summary

Chaos Under Heaven by Josh Rogin sheds light on China's global ambitions and the threat it poses to democracy. It chronicles the country's aggressive stance in the South China Sea, and reminds us that it is imperative for the US to safeguard against potential attacks from China.

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    Chaos Under Heaven
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    The Trump administration faced complex challenges in dealing with China.

    In early November 2016, everyone was preparing for a Hillary Clinton win in the upcoming American election – even the Chinese government. The presidential office of Xi Jinping was expecting to face familiar politicians and a traditional diplomatic approach to things. But Donald Trump’s surprise victory meant that China suddenly had to deal with an unpredictable force of nature. 

    And in Washington, the incoming Trump administration quickly had to determine their approach to the powerful Asian nation, which itself had become more and more erratic.

    The key message here is: The Trump administration faced complex challenges in dealing with China.

    Since the days of President George H. W. Bush, who served as a chief US liaison to Beijing in the 1970s, the US has largely been supportive of China. The theory was that if the US helped China develop a robust, international economy, the country would gradually open up and become more democratic. This policy continued well into the Obama administration. But by the end of Obama’s eight-year term, the traditional approach was no longer working.

    For starters, no one could foresee just how much the internet and digital technology would change the world. Over the past decade, few countries have been as aggressive in taking advantage of this technology as China. Its hackers have brazenly broken into corporate systems and stolen intellectual property. 

    Beijing has also forced international firms into joint ventures, which gave the Chinese even easier access to copyrighted material. 

    Perhaps more troubling was the dawning realization that Chinese businesses are beholden to the state. The Chinese Communist Party can easily demand that a company hand over its technology and data; entrepreneurs never say no. Beijing has no qualms about using that information to bolster China’s military and keep track of its citizens. 

    In other words, China’s economic growth in the internet age only made the country more nationalistic, totalitarian, and oppressive. America’s plan clearly did not work out.

    As the Trump administration moved into the White House, it was going to face these fairly obvious issues – and so much more that was just out of sight. 

    Over the years, China and the US had become entangled both economically and ideologically. This complex relationship meant that the administration was divided. Washington struggled to speak to Beijing with a single voice. 

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    What is Chaos Under Heaven about?

    Chaos Under Heaven (2021) brings to life the behind-the-scenes negotiations and deliberations that dictated the Trump administration’s policy toward China. America’s understanding of the inner workings of the Chinese state has changed a great deal, yet competing interests have so far led to a chaotic response as the US grapples with this foreign policy challenge. 

    Chaos Under Heaven Review

    Chaos Under Heaven (2021) by Josh Rogin is a revealing exploration of the complicated relationship between the United States and China. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a thorough examination of the geopolitical tensions and power struggles between the two countries, providing valuable insights into their impact on global affairs.
    • Backed by extensive research and interviews with key players, the book presents a nuanced and balanced perspective, allowing readers to form their own opinions.
    • The author's engaging storytelling keeps the narrative compelling and thought-provoking, bringing to life the complex dynamics that shape the international stage.

    Who should read Chaos Under Heaven?

    • Policy wonks
    • News junkies
    • People interested in world affairs

    About the Author

    Josh Rogin has been writing about China, foreign policy and international politics for over fifteen years. He’s been a staff writer or contributor to such publications as Congressional Quarterly, Foreign Policy, the Daily Beast, Bloomberg View, and the Washington Post.

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    Chaos Under Heaven FAQs 

    What is the main message of Chaos Under Heaven?

    The main message of Chaos Under Heaven is an exploration of the US-China relationship and its impact on the world.

    How long does it take to read Chaos Under Heaven?

    The reading time for Chaos Under Heaven varies depending on the reader. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Chaos Under Heaven a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Chaos Under Heaven is a valuable read for anyone interested in understanding the complex relationship between the US and China.

    Who is the author of Chaos Under Heaven?

    Josh Rogin is the author of Chaos Under Heaven.

    What to read after Chaos Under Heaven?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Chaos Under Heaven, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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