Sino-American Competition and the Search For Historical Analogies

In the most recent issue of American Affairs, Walter Hudson argues against “the pull of the Cold War analogy.”θ Cold War analogies for 21st century Sino-American relations are natural yet insufficient. A friend of mine recently complained to me about the thoughtlessness of these analogies. “It is not difficult to rail against lazy Cold War thinking,” I responded. “What is difficult is fleshing out a more illuminating analogy to fill the gap.” Hudson faces this challenge squarely. He argues that the mirror we seek will be found in the eclipse of the British Empire by the United States.

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Against the Kennan Sweepstakes

Image source  Last month there was a minor hullabaloo about the latest entry in the “Kennan Sweepstakes,” a long document published by the Atlantic Council titled “The Longer Telegram.”1 I read it three times.   I did not like it.  This week Foreign Policy gave me some column space to explain why. I will note here […]

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Assessing the Trump China Strategy: The Key Documents

Now is the proper time for the broader foreign policy community to step back and assess the successes and failures of Trump era diplomacy. There have already been a few attempts of this sort for Trump’s China policy, but I find myself disappointed, if not entirely surprised, with how vapid and partisan these assessments tend […]

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China’s Attack on Australia is About America

Image source The escalating crisis in Sino-Australian relations prompts a new piece.  Foreign Policy publishes my latest under the title “Biden’s First Foreign Policy Crisis is Already Here.” I approve of the title. Not everything is about America, and I often spend my time trying to show how the moving force behind any given international […]

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Do Not Choose Susan Rice

Image source There is a grand tradition in American politics of bashing the other side’s nominees. In the spirit of that tradition, I have a new piece out in the American Conservative that questions whether Susan Rice is fit to be the Biden administration’s nominee for Secretary of State. Rice is a controversial figure for […]

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Rethink What You Know About Xi’s Belt and Road

  Countries of the Belt and Road. Earlier this month I wrote: I wish less analysts asked, “What did Xi hope to accomplish by creating the Belt and Road?” and instead wondered, “What did Xi hope to accomplish by associating the SOE infrastructure-industrial complex so closely with his personal foreign policy?” [1] This question follows […]

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On Diplomats-in-Chief

Here is a question that has fascinates: how to account for the disastrous foreign policy of George W. Bush, when his foreign policy team returned to office in 2001 as the most credentialed and accomplished group of foreign policy professionals Washington had seen in the modern nat-sec era? How did the men and women who […]

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The World That China Wants (III): Taking Chinese Communism Seriously

Image source A few months back I promised I would highlight some of the key passages in Dan Tobin’s testimony to Congress, “How Xi Jinping’s ‘New Era’ Should Have Ended U.S. Debate on Beijing’s Ambitions.” Tobin’s testimony has since been published by CSIS as a full length report, but in my citations below I will […]

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Questions on the Future of the U.S. Marine Corps

Buy this decal on Etsy Over at Foreign Policy, I have a new piece out that asks a few tough questions for the Marine Corps. The USMC is smack-dab in the middle of a transformational institutional revolution.  It has decided to redefine itself as anti-China force, and is making some radical changes to its force […]

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