The S.T. Lee Distinguished Annual Lecture by Professor Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi
From Partners to Foes: The changing U.S.-China Relationship and its Implications for Asia
No bilateral relationship matters more for Asian — and global — security than the one between the United States and China. That relationship is undergoing a fundamental transformation that holds long-term implications for power equilibrium, stability and security for Asia in particular. Beijing’s partnership with Washington in the second half of the Cold Way helped open the path to China’s rapid economic modernization. The U.S., after co-opting China against the Soviet Union, directly aided China’s economic rise. Indeed, President Jimmy Carter sent a memo to various U.S. government departments instructing them to help in China’s rise. But now President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, according to Chinese state media, is potentially laying the foundation of a new Cold War. How will a U.S.-led pushback affect China’s reliance on large trade surpluses and foreign-exchange reserves to fund its expanding global footprint? Will such a squeeze undercut China’s current advantage in mobilizing vast state funds in support of, for example, Belt and Road projects — an advantage the U.S. cannot match because it must rely on drawing private funds? In contrast to China’s use of economic tools to achieve strategic objectives, the U.S. has too often reached for the gun instead of the purse. Will the U.S. now borrow a page from the Chinese playbook? And how will the changing Sino-American relationship shape Asian security and strategic equilibrium?
About the Speaker
Brahma Chellaney is a geostrategist and author. He is presently a professor of strategic studies at the independent Center for Policy Research in New Delhi; a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin; a trustee of the National Book Trust; and an affiliate with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. He has served as a member of the Policy Advisory Group headed by the foreign minister of India.
As a specialist on international strategic issues, he held appointments at Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and the Australian National University.
His scholarly essays have been published in numerous journals, including International Security, Orbis, Survival, Terrorism, Washington Quarterly, and Nature. He is the author of nine books, including an international bestseller, Asian Juggernaut (New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2010).
His latest books focus on the geopolitics of natural resources, especially water: the recently released Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield); and Water: Asia’s New Battleground (Georgetown University Press), the winner of the 2012 Bernard Schwartz Award.
In addition to being a strategic thinker and author, he is a columnist and commentator, including for Project Syndicate. His opinion articles appear in the Nikkei Asian Review, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, The Times of India, Mint, Japan Times, The Globe and Mail, La Vanguardia, South China Morning Post, and other important newspapers. And he has often appeared on CNN and BBC, among others.