Forty years ago almost to the day, president richard nixon did me the honor of sending me to beijing to reestablish contact with a country central to the history of asia with which america had had no high level contact for over twenty years..in the interval i have been to china more than fifty times. like many visitors over the centuries, i have come to admire the chinese people, their endurance, their subtlety, their family sense, and the culture they represent. at the same time, all my life i have reflected on the building of peace, largely from an american perspective. i have had the good luck of being able to pursue these two strands of thinking simultaneously as a senior official, as a carrier of messages, and as a scholar. This book is an effort , based in part on conversations with chinese leaders, to explain the conceptual way the chinese think about problems of peace and war and international order, and its relationship to the more pragmatic, case by case american approach. different histories and cultures produce occasionallly divergent conclusions. i do not always agree with the chinese perspective, nor will every reader. but it is necessary to understand it, since china will play such a big role in the world that is emerging in the twenty first century.