The World That China Wants (Part I): Why Intentions Matter

There is a school of international relations theory that advocates judging the relations of states absent speculation on the intentions and plans of its statesmen. As leaders have an incentive to lie and their intentions can never really be proved one way or another, it is best for the analyst to refrain from mind-reading altogether. […]

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Conservatism’s Generational Civil War

Image Source I have a new essay out in the National Review which extends some of yesterday’s thoughts on the limits and attractions of the “common good” conservatism to a new topic: the generational divide that currently divides thinkers on the American right. The Sanders/Biden primary has drawn attention to the parallel phenomena on the […]

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The Education China Hands Need, But Most Do Not Get

image source Today I came across an article three decades old, penned by Simon Leys in 1990. Leys is reviewing Laszlo Ladany’s The Communist Party of China and Marxism, 1921-1985: A Self Portrait, a book I have not read but will pick up now. Ladany made his name publishing a newsletter that analyzed the goings-on […]

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The Problem Isn’t the ‘Merit,’ It’s the ‘Ocracy’

Image Source Two weeks or so ago Liam Bright posted the following tweet: Liberal technocrats give us literally no reason at all to think their interests are aligned with the great majority of people, yet when they are attacked as a governing class they stress their credentials and competency. But it’d be worse if they’re […]

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Public Opinion in Authoritarian States

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. —James Madison Dean Karalekas writes the following in his PhD thesis, Identity and Transformation: Perceptions of Civil-Military Relations in the Republic of China […]

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A Brief Model of Extremist Politics

Though strange to us it seemd At first, that Angel should with Angel warr, And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet So oft in Festivals of joy and love Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire Hymning th’ Eternal Father: but the shout Of Battel now began, and rushing sound Of onset ended […]

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Book Notes—Strategy: A History

Lawrence Freedman’s Strategy: A History is gargantuan. Really. This intellectual history clocks in at over 760 pages. It narrates various theorists’ attempts to discover and describe the principles of strategy over the last few centuries of Western thought. Freedman covers many definitions of the word ‘strategy’ but never settles on any one of them: the […]

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Xi Jinping Explains His Political Philosophy

Illustration by Craig Stephens (2017)Image Source Two months ago Qiushi, the central “theory” journal of the Communist Party of China, published a speech originally given by Xi Jinping several days after he was named General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. The speech is Xi’s attempt to answer questions that are smack-dab in the […]

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