How one of the world’s most important geopolitical relationships came to be what it is in 2020.
The U.S.-China relationship has an outsized impact on global economics and politics. As that relationship comes even more into focus in the wake of COVID-19, this episode provides a historical primer.
Graham Webster is editor-in-chief of the Stanford–New America DigiChina Project at the Stanford University Cyber Policy Center. He’s also a China digital economy fellow at the New America think tank.
In this episode, Webster explains:
- Why the relationship with the U.S. has been at the forefront of Chinese policy since the People’s Republic of China was formed, but has flitted in and out of America’s focus
- Why the first most significant period in the U.S.-China relationship came between the late 1960s and 1970s, as the U.S.-China relationship normalized during the term of President Richard Nixon
- How Tiananmen Square undermined but didn’t destroy the relationship
- Why George W. Bush came into office with the intent of focusing on China but got distracted in the wake of 9/11
- Why China has spent the last decade becoming increasingly illiberal
- How the rise of social media contributed to the shift
- Why China and U.S. policy is as much a reflection of domestic self-identity in both countries as it is a bilateral political question
- Why China’s human rights abuses present such a challenge
- How COVID-19 changes the relationship