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The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia by Bill Hayton (review)

The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia by Bill Hayton (review) Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 36, No. 3 (2014), pp. 467–69 DOI: 10.1355/cs36-3f © 2014 ISEAS ISSN 0129-797X print / ISSN 1793-284X electronic The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia. By Bill Hayton. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014. Hardcover: 298pp. One of the most vexing problems confronting anyone attempting to scrutinize developments in the intensifying dispute over the South China Sea is the lack of any single point of ultimate knowledge. As it worsens, the dispute moves across several spheres simultaneously — commerce, diplomacy, law as well as the military and strategic realms. Then there are the domestic political considerations, such as the roiling nationalism both feared and manipulated by the Communist Party leaderships of rival claimants China and Vietnam. Whether it is an oil executive in Houston, a military analyst at the Pentagon or a lawyer in Singapore, there is no shortage of people who specialize in parts of the equation. But few can offer an absolute grasp on the whole. In presenting a long-overdue survey of the gathering storm over the South China Sea, BBC journalist Bill Hayton has, therefore, produced a fine book at an important time. The dispute pits http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia by Bill Hayton (review)

The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia by Bill Hayton (review)


Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 36, No. 3 (2014), pp. 467–69 DOI: 10.1355/cs36-3f © 2014 ISEAS ISSN 0129-797X print / ISSN 1793-284X electronic The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia. By Bill Hayton. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014. Hardcover: 298pp. One of the most vexing problems confronting anyone attempting to scrutinize developments in the intensifying dispute over the South China Sea is the lack of any single point of ultimate knowledge. As it worsens, the dispute moves across several spheres simultaneously — commerce, diplomacy, law as well as the military and strategic realms. Then there are the domestic political considerations, such as the roiling nationalism both feared and manipulated by the Communist Party leaderships of rival claimants China and Vietnam. Whether it is an oil executive in Houston, a military analyst at the Pentagon or a lawyer in Singapore, there is no shortage of people who specialize in parts of the equation. But few can offer an absolute grasp on the whole. In presenting a long-overdue survey of the gathering storm over the South China Sea, BBC journalist Bill Hayton has, therefore, produced a fine book at an important time. The dispute pits Beijing against smaller neighbours — Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei — but Hayton correctly places it within the evolving Great Power rivalry between a longdominant United States and a rising China. It is a theme he returns to throughout the book. If that rivalry will define coming decades, the South China Sea is a strategic fault-line that is already exposing those emerging tensions. It is highlighting China’s determination to shape its own rise, rather than be shaped by others, particularly any Western-dominated alliance. That can be seen in its strategic ambiguity towards international legal traditions that, theoretically at least, could...
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Publisher
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
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Copyright © The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
ISSN
1793-284X
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Abstract

Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 36, No. 3 (2014), pp. 467–69 DOI: 10.1355/cs36-3f © 2014 ISEAS ISSN 0129-797X print / ISSN 1793-284X electronic The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia. By Bill Hayton. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014. Hardcover: 298pp. One of the most vexing problems confronting anyone attempting to scrutinize developments in the intensifying dispute over the South China Sea is the lack of any single point of ultimate knowledge. As it worsens, the dispute moves across several spheres simultaneously — commerce, diplomacy, law as well as the military and strategic realms. Then there are the domestic political considerations, such as the roiling nationalism both feared and manipulated by the Communist Party leaderships of rival claimants China and Vietnam. Whether it is an oil executive in Houston, a military analyst at the Pentagon or a lawyer in Singapore, there is no shortage of people who specialize in parts of the equation. But few can offer an absolute grasp on the whole. In presenting a long-overdue survey of the gathering storm over the South China Sea, BBC journalist Bill Hayton has, therefore, produced a fine book at an important time. The dispute pits

Journal

Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic AffairsInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies

Published: Dec 18, 2014

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