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Blaming China: It Might Feel Good But It Won’t Fix America’s Economy, Benjamin Shobert

Reviewed by Ka Zeng

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In this book, Benjamin Shobert does a wonderful job of dispelling the myth that China is to blame for America’s problems. Shobert uses his in-depth knowledge of American and Chinese politics to illuminate the complex interdependencies between the world’s two largest economies. Blaming China makes the compelling argument that what is at the heart of America’s malaise is not the competitive challenge posed by China but the failures of the American political system. At a time when politicians are increasingly pointing to China as the scapegoat for America’s problems, the book provides some much-needed clarity that could help the steer readers clear of viewing China as the root cause of America’s ongoing struggles.

Shobert opens the book by presenting two alternative views of China. On the one hand, there are the so-called Dragon Slayers, who are highly critical of China’s slow pace of political liberalization and oppressive domestic policies and therefore advocate a hawkish stance toward China. On the other hand, there are the Panda Huggers, who believe that the country would have been far less open and stable than it is today had the United States refrained from pursuing a policy of constructive engagement with China during the earlier years of its reform process. This discussion sets the stage for Shobert to lay out t

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