For most of its history, China has always been a superpower. This very statement compels us to define superpower because it cannot be based solely on military power as China has suffered foreign invasions in the past - e.g., by the Mongols and the Manchurians. But even when conquered, China's civilization was supreme. So much so that the conquerors eagerly adopted the Chinese culture.
And then, came the West. For the first time in its long history, foreigners coming to China did not kowtow and did not subscribe to the view that China's civilization was superior to theirs. Europeans profoundly transformed China's worldview and view of its own history. Until now!
Since 1978, China has been ascendant - including technologically, economically and militarily. The question on everyone's mind is how will this post-2018 China, this new China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, alter domestically and internationally, and if for the better or worse.
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HbN Guest: Dr. David A. Graff
Author of: A Military History of China
About Our Guest: Dr. Graff is a professor in the Department of History of Kansas State University and the director of the undergraduate program in East Asian Studies. His research focuses on Chinese military history, especially that of the Tang dynasty. He is currently completing a translation of what remains of Li Jing’s “Art of War,” an early Tang military text, and is also working on a study of internal politics and labor relations in the provincial armies of the late Tang period. Dr. Graff has been the holder of the Richard A. and Greta Bauer Pickett Chair for Exceptional Faculty since 2017. He is the author of Medieval Chinese Warfare 300-900 (Warfare and History), and The Eurasian Way of War: Military Practice in Seventh-Century China and Byzantium (Asian States and Empires).
In the news: Imagine a weapon that can fly at least 20 times the speed of sound and it can hit anywhere on earth in less than an hour. This is a hypersonic weapon. China has it. We don’t. (See WSJ).
In this episode (Oct. 6, 2023):
Watch above. Listen below. Click here for 8 highlights, fast facts. images & more.
HbN Guest: Dr. Yasheng Huang
Author of: The Rise and Fall of the EAST, How Exams, Autocracy, Stability, and Technology Brought China Success, and Why They Might Lead to Its Decline
About Our Guest: Dr. Huang is the Epoch Foundation professor of global economics and management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He is the author of 11 books in both English and Chinese and of many academic papers and news commentaries. Dr. Huang is a co-principal Investigator in a large-scale multi-disciplinary research project on food safety in China. He founded and runs China Lab and India Lab, which have provided low-cost consulting services to hundreds of small and medium enterprises in China and India. From 2015 to 2018, he ran a program in Yunnan province to train women entrepreneurs – it’s a program that we talk about in this episode. For this academic year, 2023-24, Dr. Huang is a fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C.
In the news: China's gigantic economy is retrenching, and American news media herald reports and stories of China's crisis of confidence, real estate defaults, deflation, darkening mood and economic decline.
In this episode (Sept. 29, 2023):
Watch above. Listen below. Click here for 8 highlights, fast facts, images & more.
HbN Guest: Dr. Susan Shirk
Author of: Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise
About Our Guest: Dr. Shirk first visited China in 1971, and has been teaching, researching and engaging China diplomatically ever since. From 1997-2000, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia. Dr. Shirk is the chair of the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego, and director emeritus of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). She also co-chairs a task force of China experts that issued its second report in 2019: “Course Correction: Toward an Effective and Sustainable China Policy”. In addition, Dr. Shirk is the co-chair of the UC San Diego Forum on U.S.-China Relations, the first ongoing high-level forum focused entirely on the U.S.-China relationship.
In the news: Xi Jinping was selected for a third five-year term as China's paramount leader.
In this episode (Oct. 28, 2022):
HbN guest: Mr. Michael Schuman
Author of: Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World
About our guest: Mr. Schuman is a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub. He is also a contributing writer to The Atlantic and was previously a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine. His two previous books are Confucius and the World He Created, and The Miracle: The Epic Story of Asia’s Quest for Wealth.
In the news: A Foreign Policy essay: "What Does China Want?". In the piece: “China doesn’t want to be a superpower... It wants to be the superpower.” (Emphasis in original).
In this episode (Sept. 9, 2022):
HbN guest: Mr. Daniel Okrent
Editor of: Economic Shocks and Authoritarian Stability
About our guest: Dr. Shih is an associate professor at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and the Chair of China and Pacific Relations. Prior to joining UC San Diego, he was a professor of political science at Northwestern University and a former principal for one of the largest American private equity firms.
In the news: The Evergrande Group, one of China's largest real estate developers, defaults on its colossal debt. (It filed for bankruptcy in 2023).
In this episode (Jan. 7, 2022):
HbN guest: Dr. Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Author of: Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink
About our guest: Dr. Wasserstrom is a Chancellor's professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. He is a specialist in modern Chinese history and has a strong interest in connecting China's past to its present and placing both into a global perspective. In addition to the above book, Dr. Wasserstrom is the author of several others about China and Hong Kong.
In the news: Apprehensive about Hong Kong's future, dozens of big international companies have left Hong Kong and more are leaving still. Leaders of G-7 countries rebuked China on several issues, including the autonomy of Hong Kong and the freedom of its residents.
In this episode (Jun. 25, 2021):
HbN guest: Dr. Feng Wang
Author of: One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Realities, 1700-2000
About our guest: Dr. Wang is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. He has research interests in contemporary Chinese society and comparative demographic processes and social inequality in state socialism. He has received many academic distinctions and his works are frequently cited in prominent journals.
In the news: China's population decline
In this episode (May 7, 2021):
HbN Guest: Dr. Assel Tutumlu
Author of: Multilateralism in Global Governance: Formal and Informal Institutions
About Our Guest: Dr. Tutumulu is a professor in the Department of Economics and Administrative Sciences at the Near East University in Turkey. She has published widely about her homeland, Kazakhstan, and is a contributor to Kazakhstan in the Making: Legitimacy, Symbols, and Social Changes (Contemporary Central Asia: Societies, Politics, and Cultures).
In the news: mass protests in Kazhastan and Russian troops intervention
In this episode (Jan. 21, 2022):
HbN Guest: Dr. Timothy Nunan
Author of: Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan (Global and International History)
About Our Guest: Prof. Nunan is a lecturer in the Department of Global History at the Free University of Berlin. He leads a Volkswagen Foundation Research Group devoted to the history of Islamism during the Cold War. In his work, he looks at how actors from the former Soviet Union, Iran, and Afghanistan have sought to challenge the Western-dominated world order.
In the news: The Taliban are now firmly in control of Afghanistan. But how will they govern?
In this episode (Oct. 8, 2021):
HbN Guest: Dr. William Thomas Allison
Author of: American Military History: A Survey From Colonial Times to the Present
About Our Guest: Dr. Allison is a recipient of the Department of the Army Meritorious Public Service Medal and is a former Vice President of the Society for Military History. He is a former Chair in Military History, the US Army War College, and a former member of the Army Historical Advisory Committee. He has written and co-authored several books on military history, including My Lai: An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War (Witness to History).
In the news: America's war in Afghanistan is officially over. Now, America's ignominious exit!
In this episode (Sept. 10, 2021):
HbN Guest: Dr. Shah Mahmoud Hanifi
Author of: Deciphering the History of Modern Afghanistan
About Our Guest: Dr. Hanifi is a professor of Central and South Asia and Middle Eastern studies at James Madison University. He has published widely on Afghanistan's history from the 16th century, including his book Connecting Histories in Afghanistan.
In the news: Afghanistan is on the news, undoubtedly because we fear the worst - that the Taliban will reclaim Afghanistan after we leave!
In this episode (Jul. 16, 2021):
HbN Guest: Dr. Amanda Demmer
Author of: After Saigon’s Fall: Refugees and US-Vietnamese Relations, 1975-2000
About Our Guest: Dr. Demmer an assistant professor of history at Virginia Tech. Her research and teaching are focused on the boundaries between war and peace in American history.
In the news: America is leaving Afghanistan. So what happens to all the Afghans who helped American forces and efforts there?
In this episode (May 23, 2021):