Traditional theories of foreign policy that focus on external threats, domestic politics, and ideology explain why a great power exerts pressures or seeks compromises with one weaker neighbor, but they do not adequately address the fact that a great power usually deals with several weaker powers in a region. This dissertation explores new and important questions: Why does a great power sometimes treat multiple weaker neighbors in generally the same way, but sometimes attempts to differentiate among weaker neighbors through selective concessions or targeted coercion? In other words, why does a great power adopt uniform strategies or selective strategies? The dissertation introduces a Regional Competitor Approach, arguing that the number of regional competitors and their respective alignment relationships determine whether a great power deals with weaker powers under a sweeping general strategy or adopts distinctive policies toward them. If there is one regional competitor, a great power adopts uniform strategies towards weaker non-allies to convey a consistent message to the competitor, but selective strategies towards weaker allies to solve collective action problems. If the number of regional competitors increases , a great power adopts selective strategies towards weaker non-allies to maintain its power advantages vis-à-vis the weaker powers, but uniform strategies towards weaker allies to solve commitment problems. The dissertation elaborates new concepts, develops a new approach against competing theories, and challenges existing historical accounts based upon newly available evidence. The dissertation examines four cases: (a) China’s East Asia policy, 1955-1965; (b) China’s South Asia policy, 1955-1963; (c) China’s Indochina policy, 1962-1975; and (d) French, German, and Russian strategies toward Eastern Europe, 1919-1941. In the first three cases, I seek to explain how the United States and the Soviet Union shaped China’s asymmetric statecraft in Cold War Asia. The final case allows me to compare and contrast the approaches of China and European great powers. The above case studies draw upon a wealth of evidence from American, Chinese, German and Russian archives. Unpublished archives include the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive, provincial or municipal archives in China, Nixon and Ford Presidential Libraries, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Archives, and libraries in China and North America.