Archive | Blog Posts

18 October 2021

Remembering Colin Powell: A Meeting in China

I am forever honored to have met Colin Powell, then Secretary of State, during his July 28–29, 2001 visit to Beijing, China.

[PHOTO: Andrew S. Erickson and fellow interns with Secretary of State Colin Powell, U.S. Embassy Beijing, July 2001. Newly-arrived Ambassador Clark T. “Sandy” Randt Jr. (雷德) stands in background.]
Powell quietly commanded respect—exuding maximum authority […]

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03 October 2021

Unique Order of Battle!—China’s Navy: Ships & Aircraft of the PRC, 1955–2021

A comprehensive compendium of PLAN, PLAAF, CCG ships & aircraft + missiles/weapons & sensors from 1955 to present, as you’ve never seen them before… Consult this unparalleled unclassified reference for analysis or gaming today! 
Larry Bond, Chris Carlson, and Peter Grining, eds., China’s Navy: Ships and Aircraft of the People’s Republic of China, 1955 – 2021 (Admiralty […]

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16 August 2021

Mind The Gap: How China’s Civilian Shipping Could Enable a Taiwan Invasion

Timely, relevant, and predictive analysis by brilliant analyst Thomas Shugart. Best read together with (1) the pathbreaking, widely-cited article by Conor Kennedy that he mentions, and (2) the Quick Look summary of the CMSI Conference to which both superstars made critical contributions. I’ve linked all three pieces here; please scroll down to access all now!
Thomas Shugart, […]

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04 August 2021

BZ! Prof. Ryan Martinson Wins Naval War College Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award

Established in 2017, the Naval War College (NWC) Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award is presented annually to the faculty member of the College who has exhibited the highest quality of achievement through research on behalf of the College over the preceding three years. This year, at Monday’s Faculty Cloister in Newport, RI, my China Maritime Studies […]

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31 July 2021

“China Is Using Tibetans as Agents of Empire in the Himalayas”—Part 2 in Pathbreaking Foreign Policy Series

It’s not often that an article opens up a major window into a vital, under-studied area. Leading Tibetan scholar Robert Barnett and colleagues do so by probing acutely the intersection of geopolitics with the lives of those compelled to serve in frontline positions by Party persistence. This must-read piece, like its predecessor in a two-part […]

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19 July 2021

Ramping the Strait: Quick and Dirty Solutions to Boost Amphibious Lift

Conor Kennedy, “Ramping the Strait: Quick and Dirty Solutions to Boost Amphibious Lift,” Jamestown China Brief 21.14 (16 July 2021).

Introduction
The threat of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) using military force to coerce or perhaps launch an amphibious invasion of Taiwan has received significant attention in the past year. Meanwhile, the recent commissioning of the PLA […]

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12 July 2021

The Middle Kingdom Returns to the Sea, While America Turns Its Back—How China Came to Dominate the Global Maritime Industry, and the Implications for the World

A fascinating, thought-provoking piece! It opens a critical window on past, present, and possible futures of America’s merchant marine and its manifold PRC counterpart efforts. China clearly views the commercial component of state-supported shipbuilding, transportation, and seapower as critical to comprehensive capabilities. How much less complete in its approach can America afford to be? Anyone […]

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23 June 2021

Jude Blanchette in Foreign Affairs—“Xi’s Gamble: The Race to Consolidate Power & Stave Off Disaster”—Plus My Diagnosis & Recs w/ Gabe Collins

Jude Blanchette, the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), hits the nail on the head! Xi has put CCP-directed policy on a highest-possible-stakes fast track for the 15 years between now and 2035, when he will be 82:
“In order to seize temporary advantages & forestall domestic challenges, Xi […]

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14 June 2021

Exceptionally Enlightening Hearing—“The United States’ Strategic Competition with China”! SASC Testimony from Matt Pottinger, Evan Medeiros, Sheena Chestnut Greitens & Bonnie Glaser

Worth watching and reading in full! The Senate Armed Services Committee had the good sense to invite a varied set of top-caliber experts to offer complementary assessments. Among their many contributions, Pottinger frames, Medeiros contextualizes, Greitens situates, and Glaser recommends…

Hearing on “The United States’ Strategic Competition with China”
Senate Armed Services Committee
Date: Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Time: 09:30 AM
Location: Dirksen […]

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02 June 2021

PRC Researcher on President Biden’s China Experts (中国通)

David Cowhig, “PRC Researcher on President Biden’s China Experts 中国通,” 高大伟 David Cowhig’s Translation Blog, 29 May 2021.
Reposted with permission. For a cornucopia of fascinating and timely insights, fully accessible in natively-nuanced English, check out David’s many other great translations here!

About 高大伟 David Cowhig
After retirement David Cowhig translated, with his wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu’s 2019 “Bullets […]

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27 May 2021

On the Great Wall with Joe Biden: A Retrospective

On the Great Wall with Joe Biden: A Retrospective
Andrew S. Erickson
As a summer intern at U.S. Embassy Beijing in 2001, I spent a day with then-Senator Biden on the Great Wall and in a nearby village. This afforded an unusual opportunity for extended conversation with him and observation of him interacting with others, particularly Chinese […]

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27 May 2021

Illuminating China Brief Article by Joel Wuthnow: “What I Learned From the PLA’s Latest Strategy Textbook”

Joel Wuthnow, “What I Learned From the PLA’s Latest Strategy Textbook,” Jamestown China Brief 21.11 (25 May 2021).
A must-read! Joel Wuthnow’s analysis of the new (2020) edition of PLA NDU’s Science of Military Strategy, a key PLA textbook. It contains a number of updates in response to PLA reforms, but also suggests a revision to the military strategic […]

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19 May 2021

Official Music Video: 三沙海上民兵之歌 “The Song of the Sansha Maritime Militia”

Open source intelligence pro tip #1: if you’re trying to lurk in the shadows of deniability—however implausible—don’t record and release an official music video!
Zachary Haver just published a blockbuster expose on the Sansha Maritime Militia. Among many revealing details, he mentioned that this vanguard unit of China’s Armed Forces has its own music video.
Immediately below […]

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18 May 2021

In-Depth Multimedia Exposé by Zachary Haver, Radio Free Asia: “Unmasking China’s Maritime Militia”

Zachary Haver, “Unmasking China’s Maritime Militia,” Benar News, 17 May 2021.

China has long denied that it uses maritime militia forces to assert its maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea, often describing the Chinese vessels clustered around disputed reefs and islets as just fishing boats.
But the paper trail left by the Chinese bureaucracy […]

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17 May 2021

No Ordinary Boats: Cracking the Code on China’s Spratly Maritime Militias

China tends to be much more transparent in Chinese. And careful analysis of open sources can reveal important patterns and insights. Looks like my colleague Ryan Martinson just made an revealing discovery indeed!
Ryan D. Martinson, “No Ordinary Boats: Cracking the Code on China’s Spratly Maritime Militias,” Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC), 17 May 2021.

A […]

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08 May 2021

China Is Building Entire Villages in Another Country’s Territory

It’s not often that a single article opens up a major window into a vital, under-studied area. This must-read piece does all that, and more… Be sure to read the fascinating details and view the informative maps and revealing photos—many of which show immediately why there were no substantial “settlements” in the contested but climatically […]

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12 March 2021

U.S. Territories: The Frontlines of Global Competition with China

Must-read analysis by two former officials with top-level experience and expertise!
Alexander B. Gray and Douglas W. Domenech, “U.S. Territories: The Frontlines of Global Competition with China,” RealClearDefense, 11 March 2021.
Alexander B. Gray, a Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council, served on the staff of the National Security Council from 2018 to […]

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02 March 2021

Going Nowhere Slowly: U.S.-China Military Relations, 1994-2001

Who got China “wrong”? Many, sadly… Who got China “right”? General Charles Hooper, for one!
I knew General Hooper KNEW the PRC in meeting him there when he served as Defense Attaché, U.S. Embassy Beijing (2007–09).
But it’s worth revisiting his insights from even before that, in 2006, during his second time at Harvard.
Having received an MPA […]

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24 February 2021

Xinjiang Production & Construction Corps: Key Policy Tool from Mao to Now, Under Xi

People of conscience worldwide recoil in horror at the tragic repression continuing across Xinjiang. Policy-makers of conviction, in the Biden Administration and around the world, are weighing options to respond. To help inform these vital efforts, it is important to revisit just how much Chinese Communist Party’s efforts in Xinjiang have been militarized, securitized, and […]

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