- Code NSPO8034
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
- Course subject National Security Policy
- Areas of interest Security Studies
- Academic career PGRD
- Dr Dirk Van Der Kley
- Mode of delivery In Person
Second Semester 2021
See Future Offerings
This course is available for in-person and remote (online) learning.
This course examines the relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which will likely shape international security – and heavily influence Australia’s interests - for the foreseeable future. It is organised around three core questions: (i) how do the United States and China respectively understand national security?; (ii) how have changing power dynamics between the two affected their geopolitical, geoecominc and institutional preferences?; (iii) how might this impact their handling of potential flashpoints in their relationship?; and iv) what are the implications for the security interests of third countries, notably Australia?
Part 1, drawing on international relations, foreign policy and security analysis, examines the sources of national security policy and interests in both states, incorporating individual policy makers, characteristics of domestic institutions and political environment, and international systemic factors. Part 2 then considers the evolution of Chinese and American geopolitical, geoeconomic and institutional preferences. It does so by interrogating the US role in the construction of the “liberal international order”, China’s alternative model based on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and possible future ‘ordering’ scenarios. Part 3 concludes the course by exploring how Chinese and American approaches to national security strategy might affect their responses to future tensions, including over North Korea and the South China Sea. Part 4 considers implications for third countries and Australia in particular.
Students taking this course will gain an understanding of both conceptual and applied knowledge, as well as awareness of key contemporary controversies in Sino-American relations and their effects on Australia’s national security environment. This will enable them to make informed policy-focused evaluations of the subject matter. Policy practitioner perspectives will be integrated into the course to assist in this regard.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand concepts related to China’s and the United States’ national security interests and environments, with the ability to critically analyse them;
- Demonstrate familiarity with the historical evolution of national security policy in the Chinese and American contexts;
- Critically evaluate the role of systemic, domestic and individual factors in shaping Chinese and American national security policy;
- Identify and articulate the policy challenges and options facing the US, China and third countries as a consequence of US-China security relations;
- Conduct independent research that demonstrates both scholarly and policy-focused engagement with the subject matter.
- Critical literature review (1,500 words) (20) [LO 1,3,4,5]
- Policy advice report: Future crisis scenario: 1500 words (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Research essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
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One 2-hour seminar weekly. In addition the expectation of a further independent study combining to a total of approx 130 over the duration of the semester.
Suisheng Zhao (ed.), The Making of China's Foreign Policy in the 21st century: Historical Sources, Institutions/Players, and Perceptions of Power Relations (Routledge 2019)
Robert Sutter, US-China Relations: Perilous Past, Uncertain Present (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018)
Thomas J. Christensen, The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power (New York: Norton 2016).
Sulman Wasif Khan, Haunted by Chaos: China’s Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping, (Harvard University Press, 2018).
Guoli Liu, China Rising: Chinese Foreign Policy in a Changing World, (Palgrave 2016)
Amos A. Jordan, William J. Taylor, Michael J. Meese, and Suzanne C. Nielsen, American National Security (6th edition), (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2009).
John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Transformation and Crisis of American World Order (Princeton University Press, 2012)
Victor Cha, Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia, (Princeton University Press, 2016).
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