A weekly discussion of current affairs in China with journalists, writers, academics, policy makers, business people and anyone with something compelling to say about the country that's reshaping the world.
A SupChina production, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn.
A familiar drumbeat: Michael Mazarr on the run-up to the Iraq invasion and parallels with China
This week on Sinica, Kaiser is joined by Michael J. Mazarr, author of the book Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America's Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy, which examines the decision to invade Iraq in March 2003. Mike is a senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation and a former professor at the National War College, and he warns of certain parallels between what happened 20 years ago and the growing sense of urgency and moral imperative to confront China that he now senses in Washington.
3:40 – Patterns that lead to poor decision-making in the realm of foreign policy and warfare
8:30 – Parallels between American discourse on Iraq and China
13:54 – American exceptionalism and the missionary mindset
15:51 – Much like the US experience after 9/11, could an equivalent “deeply felt imperative” trigger catastrophic conflict with China?
21:15 – The danger of moralistic thinking overriding rational cost-benefit analysis
27:37 – What does Washington hope to gain from the imputation of CCP illegitimacy?
31:47 – Debunking the claim that Washington exaggerates threats for the sake of increasing the defense budget
35:49 – The role of media and Congress in the lead-up to the Iraq war
40:49 – The difference between effective policymaking and policy negligence: assessing the Bush and Biden administrations
47:29 – Adapting the liberal “rules-based international order” to reflect contemporary realities
52:27 – The shortcomings of a reductionist “democracy vs. authoritarianism” foreign policy
A full transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.
Mike: Mr. X and the Pacific by Paul Heer; The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment by Geoffrey Kabaservice
Kaiser: Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R.F. Kuang
Special episode: The COVID lockdown protests, with David Moser and Jeremiah Jenne
We've got a special bonus episode this week on the protests over the weekend of November 26th-27th in multiple cities around China. Joining Kaiser and Jeremy are old friends David Moser and Jeremiah Jenne, co-hosts of the Barbarians at the Gate podcast, who have 50 years in Beijing between them. David Moser is a linguist, academic administrator, and accomplished jazz pianist and composer. Jeremiah Jenne is a writer and historian. Both David and Jeremiah are still in Beijing, and they offer an on-the-ground account of what happened and what it all means.
A transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.
Jeremy: The Twitter account 李老师不是你老师 (Lǐ lǎoshī bùshì nǐ lǎoshī), with the handle @whyyoutouzhele; Cindy Yu’s Twitter account @CindyXiaodanYu
Jeremiah: Hygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty-Port China by Ruth Rogaski
David: The Globe and Mail article “In rare show of weakness, China's censors struggle to keep up with zero COVID protests” by James Griffith; Speak Not: Empire, Identity and the Politics of Language by James Griffith
Kaiser: Happiness is 4 Million Pounds, a New York Times documentary by Hao Wu
Financial Times reporter Yuan Yang on China-Europe relations
This week on Sinica, Kaiser & Jeremy welcome Yuan Yang, a reporter for the Financial Times who was until recently covering technology in Beijing. Now based in London, her beat is China-Europe relations, and on this episode she discusses German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's recent trip to China, and how Europe and European countries are navigating the fraught U.S.-China relationship.
6:09 – Providing a balanced account of China’s tech ecosystem
9:38 – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's recent trip to Beijing
16:00 – The strategic autonomy of European foreign policy
18:41 – European countries’ fractured response to US tech restrictions on China
21:58 – EU policies towards Xinjiang
24:31 – The impact of tech restrictions on European supply chains
27:39 – The efficacy of sanctions
30:12 – How China’s position on Russia damaged its reputation in Europe
33:48 – European reaction to Biden-Xi meeting
35:57 – How a change in the American presidency could disrupt the Transatlantic alliance system
40:55 – The formulation of Sunak’s China policy
43:50 – Yuan’s new forthcoming book Private Revolutions
A complete transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com
Jeremy: Jewish comedian Ari Shaffir
Yuan: The Emily Wells album Regards to the End; The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
Kaiser: mongulai.com, an e-commerce website specializing in Mongolian artisanal crafts; the Netflix show Barbarians
Evan Feigenbaum on the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region
This week on Sinica, in lieu of the regular show we present a keynote address given by Evan Feigenbaum, VP for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, at the recent East Asia Strategy Forum, held on November 1-2 in Ottawa, Canada. The forum is put on annually by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada — APF Canada — and by the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy. The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada is a not-for-profit organization focused on Canada’s relations with Asia. Its mission is to be Canada’s catalyst for engagement with Asia and Asia’s bridge to Canada. The Institute for Peace & Diplomacy (IPD) is non-profit and non-partisan international affairs think tank operating in the United States and Canada dedicated to promoting dialogue, diplomacy, prudent realism, and military restraint. The event's moderator was Jeff Nankivell, CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada or APF Canada. Jeff was the Consul General to HK before taking his post at APF Canada.
Kaiser also offers his quick take on the three-hour meeting between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in Bali, Indonesia.
3:23 – Kaiser’s analysis of the recent Biden and Xi Meeting
10:19 – Start of Evan Feigenbaum's speech
13:26 – The tension between economic and security interests in the Indo-Pacific
20:06 – The tension between coalition-building and fragmentation in the Indo-Pacific
24:02 – The American approach to strategic competition with China in the region
32:34 – Question 1: What role can American allies play in setting a positive agenda?
37:54 – Question 2: Do American national security issues have a tendency to get distorted by domestic political and economic considerations?
51:34 – Question 3: Given domestic political constraints, is there any chance of diminishing the bipartisan consensus against China?
54:29 – Question 4: Is there a conflict between the ‘rules-based international order’ and implementing targeted restrictions towards China?
57:17 – Question 5: How sustainable is China’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war?
A complete transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.
New America President Anne-Marie Slaughter on balancing China competition and global imperatives
This week on Sinica, Kaiser chats with Anne-Marie Slaughter, a leading American public intellectual who serves as president of New America and was Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department during the first Obama administration. Anne-Marie talks about how collaboration on issues of global concern — pandemics, global warming, and more — requires the U.S. to deprioritize some aspects of its competition with China.
1:59 – Contradictions of the Biden doctrine
5:18 – Reconciling Biden’s China policy and the possibility of climate cooperation
13:43 – Deemphasizing national security on the American foreign policy agenda
20:23 – Potential for “positive competition”
21:50 – The concept of networked governance
36:04 – The dynamics of groupthink in US decision-making
43:05 – Hope for the younger generation’s prospective policy shift
47:38 – Does race factor into our hostility towards China?
50:19 – Potential for an affirmative vision on Biden’s China policy
54:52 – How revisionist are China’s ambitions?
59:49 – American tolerance for a diminished global role
A transcript of this interview is available at TheChinaProject.com.
Anne-Marie: To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara; A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara; The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson; What It Feels Like to Be a Bird by David Sibley
Kaiser: Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century by Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman
The 20th Party Congress postgame show with Damien Ma and Lizzi Lee
This week on Sinica, our friends at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs invited us for a live show taping before a small group. Kaiser is joined by Lizzi Lee, MIT-trained economist-turned-reporter who hosts the Chinese-language show "Wall Street Today" as well as The China Project's "Live with Lizzi Lee," both on Youtube; and by Damien Ma, who heads the Paulson Institute's in-house think tank MacroPolo. These two top-shelf analysts of Chinese politics break down what was important — and what was just a sideshow — at the 20th Party Congress, and offer their knowledgeable perspectives on the individuals named to key posts and what this likely means for China's direction. Don't miss this one!
2:40 – Findings from MacroPolo’s “fantasy PBSC” experiment
8:18 – Did China watchers overemphasize Xi Jinping’s political constraints?
12:31 – Support for Li Qiang across different political factions
17:23 – The changing factional composition of Chinese elite politics
20:20 – Return of the technocrats
23:27 – “Generation-skipping” in China’s recent political promotions
28:26 – The selection of Cai Qi
32:46 – Li Shulei as a successor to Wang Huning
37:07 – The future of China’s economic leadership
39:52 – Selection of the vice premiers
41:18 – The future of China’s diplomatic core
45:28 – The Hu Jintao episode
49:22 – Revising the “Zero-COVID” policy
51:17 – Reassessing China’s intentions vis-à-vis Taiwan
A transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.
Lizzi: Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion: Elite Power Struggles in the Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao by Joseph Torigian
Damien: Slouching Towards Utopia by Brad DeLong
Kaiser: "Taiwan, the World-Class Puzzle," a Radio Open Source podcast hosted by Christopher Lydon
Truly outstanding podcast
Hosts are superbly professional, knowledgeable and engaging, Kaiser as the main lead is just outstanding, with an extremely high quality, intelligent, humane, well-paced standard of discussion, featuring consistently expert guests on a variety of fascinating topics.
Really has helped me learn so much more about China and given me an enduring interest in learning even more about the country.
Highest possible recommendation; it’s simply the best-quality podcast I’ve come across on any topic.
Guests, content and Kaiser are brilliant.
Wish that annoying South African co host would shut up interrupting people and laughing maniacally though.
The Podcast if you wanna learn more about China!
I learned loads of things from this podcast and really like their narrative, as they try to be as objective as possible, and covers a lot of info that you can’t really get unless you dive deep into the Chinese politics and culture. One of my favorite podcasts so far!