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A nation must think before it acts.
China’s international behavior exhibits elements of both threat and peaceful intentions. Greatly increased defense budgets, the acquisition for more advance weapons systems, and certain pronouncements of the leadership argue for the threat scenario. Beijing’s efforts to enhance the PRC’s soft power, its more active participation in international problem-solving activities, and certain pronouncements of other leaders can be taken as evidence for more peaceful intentions. Even assuming that the leadership’s motives are not benign, a combination of domestic weaknesses and foreign resistance could thwart them. The future is not predictable.