Dr Gerald Segal used to be the head of the Asian security program at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. Always amicable, friendly and approachable, he lost his battle to cancer in the mid 1990s, however. This book was written to commemorate him in the most profound and significant way: Does China really matter ?
Some of the contributors in the book do not believe so. This is partly due to China's low contributions to a wide spectrum of issues. China does not have any powerful allies; unlike the United States. China's domestic consumption is not as high as those in the United States, despite its massive demography. China have also been reliant on the world on its cheap, and occasionally, low quality exports. Indeed, China is not what Robert Zoelick, the former president of World Bank, called a "responsible stakeholder." While it contributes to international peacekeeping troops, it is not a key player in international security; not unless it is first enlisted by the US, the European Union.
But, one must remember that this book was written in mid 1990s. The dynamics of international relations have changed. China has taken on more responsibilities across a wide menu of issues. It is a key participant in talks on Climate Change; as it is on the denuclearization of Iran. China is also exercising various leadership positions in the development sector beyond the Bretton Woods institutions. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been formed. China is also embarking on a One Maritime Belt, One Silk Road endeavor, all of which will connect different parts of the world, leading them ultimately to the coastal areas of China.