President Trump’s National Security Strategy marked a fundamental shift in U.S.-China policy. It acknowledged that engagement has not only failed to integrate China into the international order; it has allowed China to develop rapidly and challenge that order. It labels China as a revisionist  power and commits the U.S  to  compete with China across all dimensions of national power. What does a new era of strategic competition with China look like? Why is such a competition necessary, and what are its stakes? What are China’s objectives, and how do its leaders seek to achieve them? How can the U.S. reshape its strategy to avoid  –  and yet be prepared for – conflict? Fellows will study with leading experts on the Chinese economy, political warfare, and the role of regional allies through different theaters of competition.

Taught by leading scholars in the field, SSS will consist of 15 evening sessions that meet from September-May and will afford participating fellows an opportunity to gain a breadth of knowledge on critical subjects, forge relationships with senior scholars and practitioners, sharpen analytical frameworks through written and oral arguments, and build a cohort with their peers. Through the lens of strategic competition with China, fellows will examine:

  • What are our goals and how do we achieve them?

  • What does the strategic competition look like? What are we competing over?

  • What do we need to understand about our adversary in order to achieve our goals?

Image: Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China | Photo by Liu Jun

Aaron Friedberg on the rise of China

Preview the Syllabus by Week/Session

Assigned Reading:


Discussion Questions:

  1. We are in a competition with China, Iran, and Russia. We compete in order to win. What does winning the competition mean?
  2. What do we need to understand about ourselves in order to develop an appropriate strategy for competing with China, Iran, and Russia?
  3. What can we learn from our most recent great power competition with the Soviet Union that is relevant to our current competition?

Assigned Reading:


Discussion Questions:

  1. What was President Nixon’s initial approach to China upon taking office in January 1969? What was the Soviet approach? How did each relate its China strategy to its Cold War strategy?
  2. What was the Shanghai Communiqué, and what did it achieve? How does it compare to the objectives of the key players at the beginning of U.S.-China negotiations?
  3. Who emerged as winners and losers post-negotiations? How do you judge the performance of the key decision-makers in Washington and Beijing?

Assigned Reading:


Discussion Questions:

  1. Chinese leaders are often hailed for their long-term planning and commitment to the plan. What factors in Chinese politics bolster or hinder such planning?
  2. What is the “Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation” and how does the Chinese Communist Party intend to achieve it?
  3. What observations can be made between the Chinese Communist Party’s organizational structure and its objectives and methods?

Assigned Reading:


Discussion Questions:

  1. With the benefit of hindsight, what were the main misapprehensions regarding the long-standing assumptions about the presumed benefits of deep engagement with China?
  2. Under the CCP’s guidance, China is in the process of becoming – or perhaps already is – a tech superpower. Do the U.S. and other democracies sufficiently understand the ways in which the Chinese authorities use technology for purposes of domestic control – and the potential wider implications of China operating from a privileged position in the tech realm?
  3. In what ways does China’s internal governance arrangement and CCP control inform and animate China’s external behavior?

About the Program

About the Security & Strategy Seminars

In partnership with the Alexander Hamilton Society and the Public Interest Fellowship, we are pleased to sponsor in-depth educational opportunities for public policy professionals in Washington, DC. Ideal candidates are 25- to 35-year old professionals working in national security and foreign policy institutions and organizations, such as government, academia, think-tanks, media, defense and intelligence communities, etc.

About the Alexander Hamilton Society

The Alexander Hamilton Society is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit, national organization that seeks to identify, educate, and launch young men and women into foreign policy and national security careers imbued with the Hamiltonian perspective of strong and principled American leadership in global affairs.

About the Public Interest Fellowship

The Public Interest Fellowship provides exceptional young men and women with professional opportunities and a continuing education in the tradition of freedom. The unique combination of work and study is designed to advance fellows’ pursuit of careers devoted to enriching the political and cultural life of the United States.

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