Evolving Threat Narratives: The Case of China's Transition from Foe to Friend during Rapprochement

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Virginia Tech


This research endeavor attempts to better understand the nature of American threat narratives, how narratives evolve, what drives the change, and finally, what it all means for perceptions of threat to the US. The purpose of this study is to understand the implications of bias on evolving threat narratives and threat calculus and ultimately determine its impact on perceptions of friend and foe. The case study of China during the years of rapprochement is enlightening as it helps inform many of these questions around American threat perception. Contrary to popular opinion, changing American perception of external threat may not be caused primarily by actions of the threat actors. Instead, American perceptions change as threat narratives evolve based on phenomenon located on the American domestic front. To a large extent, threat narrative creation is shaped by domestic sources of bias and transparency with the former introducing elements of subjectivity and the latter elements of objectivity.



Political Science, International Relations, Economics, China