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Has Xi Jinping broken with China’s broadly cooperative approach to foreign policy that had been in place for most of the quarter century since the Cold War ended? More specifically, is Xi promoting a new, more confrontational grand strategy for China in the 21st century, one that fundamentally differs from the way his predecessors had relied on their country’s economic, diplomatic, and military capabilities to pursue China’s national interests?
For the first The World Today of 2019, Professor Goldstein suggests that Xi Jinping’s approach is distinct but not a fundamental departure from the grand strategy his predecessors adopted after the end of the Cold War. Xi’s approach is instead the third version of a basic grand strategy of rejuvenation that China has embraced since the early 1990s. However, the implementation of this strategy under Xi and the reaction to it cast doubt on its viability in the coming years.
Following initial remarks by Professor Goldstein, he will engage in a conversation with Trudy Rubin of The Philadelphia Inquirer around implications of this version of Chinese foreign policy for global politics, including China’s trade war with the United States, diplomatic battles with Canada, Belt-and-Road Initiative, and increased militarization of the South China Sea.
Avery Goldstein is the David M. Knott Professor of Global Politics and International Relations in the Political Science Department, Director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and Associate Director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on international relations, security studies, and Chinese politics. He is the author of Rising to the Challenge: China’s Grand Strategy and International Security (Stanford University Press, 2005), Deterrence and Security in the 21st Century: China, Britain, France and the Enduring Legacy of the Nuclear Revolution (Stanford University Press, 2000), and From Bandwagon to Balance of Power Politics: Structural Constraints and Politics in China, 1949-1978 (Stanford University Press, 1991). Among his other publications are articles in the journals International Security, International Organization, Journal of Strategic Studies, Security Studies, China Quarterly, Asian Survey, Comparative Politics, Orbis, and Polity as well as chapters in a variety of edited volumes. Goldstein is also a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
Trudy Rubin is the Worldview columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a member of The Inquirer’s editorial board. Her column appears twice weekly in The Inquirer and runs in many other U.S. newspapers. In 2017 and 2001, Ms. Rubin was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary. In 2010 she received the Arthur Ross Award for international commentary from the American Academy of Diplomacy. In 2008 she won the Edward Weintal award for International Reporting. She is the author of Willful Blindness: The Bush Administration and Iraq. Ms. Rubin has special expertise on the Middle East and travels abroad frequently. In recent years, she has reported from Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as from E.U. countries affected by terrorism and refugee flows. Before coming to The Inquirer in December 1983, she was Middle East correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor covering Israel and the Arab world and lived in Jerusalem and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from Smith College and an MSc (Econ) from The London School of Economics. In 2007 she was awarded the Smith College Medal for outstanding alumnae.