Naval War College Review


Toshi Yoshihara


According to Susan Shirk, China suffers terribly from the “wag the dog” syn- drome. Shirk argues rather persuasively that China is saddled with a host of in- ternal problems, ranging from wide- spread social unrest to rampant political corruption, that have sharply intensi- fied insecurities among Chinese leaders with respect to their hold on power. Such perceptions of vulnerability have in turn heightened Chinese sensitivities to slights by Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, slights that accordingly threaten to arouse potentially uncon- trollable national passions and, in the process, stimulate regime-toppling im- pulses at home.