By Brantly Womack
Of their 3 thousand years of interplay, China and Vietnam were via an entire variety of relationships. all through most of these fluctuations the single consistent has been that China is usually the bigger energy, and Vietnam the smaller. but China has infrequently been in a position to dominate Vietnam, and the connection is formed via its asymmetry. The Sino-Vietnamese courting presents the appropriate flooring for constructing and exploring the results of asymmetry on diplomacy. Womack develops his conception together with an unique research of the interplay among China and Vietnam from the Bronze Age to the current.
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Additional info for China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry
If China were not the world’s largest producer of food, it would be in severe famine. Canada is the world’s seventh-largest grain producer, harvesting only P1: KAE 0521853206c02 36 CUNY214B/Womack 0 521 85320 6 November 30, 2005 Basic Structure 12 percent of China’s total, but Canada’s per capita production is six times that of China, and wheat is a major export crop. To someone planning to sell fertilizer to China the aggregate may be more important; to someone living there, the per capita figure is more important.
In effect, the relationship of A and b is best viewed as a set of two very different sub-relations, A⇒b, and b⇒A. The differences between the two perspectives are developed in Chapter 4. Second, although asymmetric relations are rarely unproblematic, they tend to be robust. “Stability” might not be the right word to describe asymmetry, because the differences in interests and perceptions between A and b are a constant source of tensions. 13 Despite all the variations in the Sino-Vietnamese relationship that are analyzed in Chapters 5–10 and that are summarized in Chapter 11, China was not able to “solve” its Vietnam problem, and Vietnam was unable to “solve” its China problem.
This question of general posture is addressed in detail in the following two chapters. Here we will just note that China has the self-referenced, centric attitude of a large country toward all its neighbors and assumes that it is on at least equal terms with the world’s great powers and with historic trends. Moreover, China’s advantages of scale are enhanced by the presence of Hong Kong, providing a front porch to the world market. Because it is located next to China, Vietnam has always been alert to the dangers and opportunities of the external world, making it both more overtly nationalistic and more cosmopolitan than China.