One of my favorite parts of working for the Council on Foreign Relations is writing “In Briefs,” which are Q&A-style explainers of a current event. They’re aimed at anyone from high school students facing a term paper to people who’ve been in the field for a long time but

In this essay for The New York Review of Books, I explore the sensitive issue of who will succeed Xi Jinping. As a jumping-off point, I review two new books on succession in China and the Soviet Union. The upshot is we could be in for a long wait for a successor, with decay setting in. […]

In the current (Aug. 18) issue of The New York Review of Books I have an essay on four impressive new books about Hong Kong by Ho-fung Hung, Louisa Lim, Karen Cheung and Mark Clifford. These books give real insider accounts by people who were either born there, raised there, or simply lived most of

“Wang Xiaobo seemed to have come out of nowhere, and he left nearly as quickly, dying of a heart attack in 1997, at age 44. In just a few years he wrote an avalanche of novels, stories, essays and newspaper articles, many of them published posthumously.” My review of his most significant

For a decade now, China has made the countries of central and eastern Europe one of its diplomatic focal points. Today, however, Europe has become one of China’s biggest foreign-policy headaches. In part, the current situation is a result of economic miscalculations by both sides, which overestima

Apologies for this late posting of an op-ed I wrote on March 10, 2022, arguing that people calling for China to play a broker’s role in the Russia-Ukraine war miss an important point: Under Xi Jinping, China has tried to win more allies not by joining the international order but by courting ro

We’re a few days into the new Chinese lunar year, the Year of the Tiger, but it might better be called the Year of Politics. That’s because 2022 is shaping up to be a critical point in the now-decade-long-rule of Xi Jinping. That makes it a perfect chance to step back and take a wide-ang

As part of my project on memory and history in China, I’m revisiting a magazine that I wrote about in an two-part series for The New York Review of Books in 2014 (part 1 here and part 2 here on the NYRB website, both reprinted without a paywall by the Asia Society’s ChinaFile website her

Ever since the 1980s, I’ve been interested in Chinese Medicine as a Chinese cultural practices that is still widely in use today. This probably stems from my having roomed with Nigel Wiseman, who was just starting out on what would become a career as one of the most prolific translators of Chi

In my first piece for Foreign Affairs since joining the Council on Foreign Relations, I look at diplomatic ties between the two countries that I know best: Germany and China.  I speculate that the end of the Angela Merkel era will mean a (slightly) more forceful German foreign policy, especiall

Is the deal to sell nuclear subs to Australia a foreign-policy meisterstroke or another example of America’s overreliance on the military to deal with a rising China? My take via the Council on Foreign Relations.

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