The East Asian security order has been in transition since the end of the Cold War, and three myths underlie popular thinking about this changing landscape. First, China’s ascendance is often greeted with suspicion and apprehension because of a lurking sense that it is somehow illegitimate: China, with its non-democratic system and its short recent record of engagement with the Western liberal order, lacks the right to international power. This sense is reflected in the tenor of the “power transition” discourse, which is centered upon a rising outsider seeking to overthrow the existing hegemonic order. Yet, as China’s neighbors (in East Asia especially) and successive US administrations have shown over the last 15 years, there is no appetite for denying China’s great power status, there is caution about directly containing Chinese power in case it breeds antagonism, and there is an increasing consensus on the need to integrate China into the international order (see, for example, Shambaugh 2005; Zhao and Liu 2009). The question, then, revolves around the conditions of this integration – with what reassurances and constraints ought China’s rising power be accepted by the international community? This is a normative question that cannot adequately be captured by balance of power ideas. The second common myth is that competition in the strategic or security

realm is bad because it is destabilizing and it portends armed conflict. In this vein, talk of international “order” tends to connote “peace and stability.” Yet order is not the absence of war; rather it ought to be understood in the classic English School sense of sustained, rule-governed interaction amongst a society of states that share common understandings about their primary goals and means of conducting international affairs. The maintenance of order must involve limits on behavior, the management of conflict, and the accommodation of change without undermining the common goals and values of this international society – in other words, achieving international order is about agreeing on (eventually institutionalized) limits to power and competition, rather than obliterating conflict (see Hurrell 2007).