William Ratliff

Biography: 

William Ratliff was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Independent Institute. His BA is from Oberlin College; his PhD in Chinese/Latin American histories is from the University of Washington. He passed away April 11, 2014.

He wrote and lectured on the history and politics of Asia and Latin America and how traditional cultures and institutions influence modern conditions and prospects for political and economic development. He also wrote on Chinese relations with Latin America and on US foreign policy.

Ratliff’s studies include "Development with Chinese Characteristics: Asia’s Sinic Revolutions in Global Historical Perspective," in P. Caringella, ed., Revolutions: Finished and Unfinished (2012), chapters for B. Creutzfeldt, ed., China en América Latina (2012) and M. Nilsson, ed., Latin American Responses to Globalization (2012). He also wrote Vietnam Rising: Culture and Change in Asia’s Tiger Cub (2008), Doing It Wrong and Doing It Right: Education in Latin America and Asia (2003), and Law and Economics in Developing Countries (2000) with E. Buscaglia. He has coauthored studies of US policy toward Cuba and Latin America with R. Fontaine and on Juan Peron with S. Amaral. He is coauthor of The Civil War in Nicaragua (1993) with R. Miranda and Inside the Cuban Interior Ministry (1994) with Juan Antonio Rodriguez Menier.

Ratliff lived and traveled widely in Asia and Latin America, published commentaries in all major US and many foreign newspapers and been interviewed on CNN, NPR, PBS, BBC, Voice of America, and China Radio International. On the Internet, he has written for "The Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and MSNBC’s "Opinion" section. He taught and lectured for nongovernmental organizations and at Stanford University, Tunghai University (Taiwan), the Austrian Defense Academy (Vienna), and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Beijing). For two decades he wrote classical music reviews and features for the Los Angeles Times and the Metropolitan Opera's Opera News.

His research papers (collection 1, collection 2, and collection 3) are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Recent Commentary

Taiwan’s Voice of Experience

by Tai-Chun Kuo, William Ratliffvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

If China wants an example of progress, it need only look across the Taiwan Strait.

Featured Commentary

Frankenstein in Havana

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Friday, October 11, 2013
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Frankenstein in Havana

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cuba is struggling with the legacy of Fidel Castro.

Featured Commentary

Venezuela After Chávez

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Friday, April 12, 2013
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Venezuela After Chávez

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas
Friday, April 12, 2013

The demagogue is dead! Long Live Demagoguery!

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The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A way forward on one of the most interminable and seemingly intractable international disputes.

Featured Commentary

The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Featured Commentary

Cuba's Tortured Transition

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Cuba's Tortured Transition

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

As the island inches toward liberalization, Congress should lift the outdated embargo.

Featured Commentary

It's the Culture, Stupid

by William Ratliffvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, December 6, 2012

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