Non-resident Fellow, Pangoal Institution
Jun 29 , 2017
Graham Allison’s characterization of China being on a path toward collision with the United States, a condition he calls the “Thucydides Trap,” has been hotly debated in foreign policy circles. Jared McKinney examines the fault lines of a recent critique by Arthur Waldron, particularly taking issue with the historical evidence Waldron provides to argue that appeasement is more dangerous than measured conflict.
Feb 13 , 2017
It is becoming increasingly clear that over the course of the next four years, the Trump Administration is going to conduct an all-out campaign to undermine the Great-Power norms that have so far enabled peace between the U.S. and China. The result is likely to be not just instability, but a journey down the road to war.
Jan 05 , 2017
Chinese sources have attempted to explain the seizure of a U.S. Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) with reference to maritime safety or protests over U.S. military reconnaissance in and around Chinese waters. China seized the drone to send a signal to President-elect Donald Trump that China wasn’t going to play around with any threats to the One China Principle, which Trump threatened by calling Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. However, there is no need for abrupt action right now that alienates president-elect Trump and his advisors. China’s economic and global clout gives it the influence it needs to preserve its “core” interests in international society, and China’s true power doesn’t derive from its ability to pull a U.S. UUV out of the water; it comes from its regional and global economic influence.
Nov 11 , 2016
Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States, which could signal a new configuration for U.S.-China relations. Three options appear possible. First, Trump’s Administration could end up confusing China through a mixture of respect and intimidation. Second, Trump’s Administration could opt to preserve the status quo of economic engagement but American military superiority in East Asia. And Third, Trump’s Administration could seek to orient the bilateral relationship towards respect and mutual benefit, avoiding “self-damaging” competition. Which path will be taken will largely rest on the sort of people Trump appoints to his Administration.
Jul 27 , 2016
A new Penguin Special book attempts to recast China’s rise using eight “imperfect analogies.” Jared McKinney reviews the effort and reflects on the use of analogies in American political discourse, arguing that China’s rise broadly conceived still shares the most similarities with that of another contemporary great power: America.
Jul 18 , 2016
The Hague Tribunal this week issued a decision that will most likely become a tool in the hands of the defenders of the status quo. How events will develop will depend on Duterte’s disposition, China’s diplomatic sagacity, and America’s response. If the China and the Philippines are unable to meet somewhere in the middle, it is the “law” that China will reject.
Apr 26 , 2016
In contrast to Jared McKinney’s recently reviewed “China Dream” by Liu Mingfu, Michael Pilsbury has a China Nightmare. The Dream is for China to become a powerful global leader that assumes its rightful place in the world as a respected and prestigious nation. The Nightmare is that China achieves this and then imposes its values on the world.
Apr 12 , 2016
Liu Mingfu’s 2010 book China Dream initially sparked a bidding war, only to be marginalized for fear that it would affect China-U.S. relations. From disrepute it became canonical after Xi Jinping delivered his 2012 “China Dream” speech. Sifting out rocks of Chinese exceptionalism, Jared McKinney explores the gems of insight found in Liu’s condemned and congratulated work.
Mar 03 , 2016
Hawks today see the U.S. as withdrawn, docile, and weak by choice. They see China as aggressively violating norms and threatening American leadership. Yet any action would wrongfully assume the differing Chinese expectations of honor, history, and geography.
Oct 08 , 2015
Alternatively quoting or denouncing Thucydides is becoming an integral part of U.S.-China discourse. Jared McKinney argues that we should look at what Thucydides actually had to say: power transitions do not make war inevitable, and other variables—such as contests for honor and competing alliance systems—matter just as much.