Researcher, Pangoal Institution
May 11 , 2018
2018 is proving to be a tense and complex year for relations between the U.S. and China. British historian Herbert Butterfield came up with five enduring lessons of history which remind us of the fragility of international order, the incalculable consequences of war, and the temptations of power. As both American and Chinese diplomats negotiate the intricacies of today’s questions, they would do well to keep these lessons in mind.
Apr 04 , 2018
Going forward it is important both for the U.S. to clarify specifically what sort of hegemony it opposes and for China to be careful that its quest for hegemonic leadership does not move towards bullying and empire. Both moves are necessary if the world’s two great powers are going to negotiate the strains of shifting power.
Mar 15 , 2018
Jared McKinney uses three historical analogies to illustrate his point that it is a reductionist proposition that the U.S., as the ‘champion’ of democracy, and China, as a rising ‘revisionist’ state, are locked into an existential struggle in which one will lose and one win.
Jun 29 , 2017
Graham Allison’s characterization of China being on a collision course 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.