Confronting and Competing with China

Confronting and Competing with China


In the past decade, China has become more aggressive in the Indo-Pacific region and has heightened its ambitions on the global stage, where it has attempted to reshape international institutions and thwart democratic norms. Hoover scholars are committed to research centered on how America can better understand Beijing’s worldview, and confront the challenges it poses now and in the decades to come.


Featured Publications

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The World According to China

The World According to China

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Silicon Triangle: The United States, Taiwan, China, and Global Semiconductor Security

Silicon Triangle: The United States, Taiwan, China, and Global Semiconductor Security

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The Boiling Moat: Urgent Steps to Defend Taiwan

The Boiling Moat: Urgent Steps to Defend Taiwan

The [Chinese Communist Party’s] ultimate goal is global hegemony—to make China the world’s leading power, dominating not only global trade (and, someday, finance) and resource flows but contested spaces like the Arctic, outer space, and international institutions. In the near term, China seeks to push the United States out of the Indo-Pacific, or at least greatly diminish its role, so that China can become the regional hegemon—dominating the resources and sea lanes of the South China Sea, sidelining the United States in trade and diplomacy, pushing US military forces progressively further out into the distant Pacific Ocean, and eventually compelling Taiwan to ‘reunify with the motherland’ under terms that will belie the promise of ‘one country, two systems.

Senior Fellow Larry Diamond and Research Fellow Glenn Tiffert

American Purpose, April 4, 2022

I believe that the United States has a comparative advantage over China in terms of our ability to expand and strengthen our network of allies and partners. In promoting freedom and the rule of law, the United States offers an attractive vision to the rest of the world. By contrast, China demonstrates coercive behavior, not only to its citizens but also in international organizations and in its relationships with other countries.

Research Fellow Joe Felter

Hoover Institution Q&A, January 13, 2022

Even as the bilateral U.S.-China relationship remains overwhelmingly competitive, the United States should keep the door open to cooperation with China. There is legitimate space to elevate the world’s capacity to respond to climate change, pandemics, and global disasters through U.S.-China cooperation. Reconstituting a bilateral dialogue that supports discussion and negotiation on singular, targeted issues of mutual concern, such as visas or maritime safety, would also be beneficial. And supporting civil society exchanges, such as the Fulbright program and Peace Corps, that offer the opportunity to share U.S. perspectives and values, have little downside for the United States and significant potential upside.

Senior Fellow Elizabeth Economy

Testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 17, 2021

Fellows in this Conversation

Larry Diamond

William L. Clayton Senior Fellow

Larry Diamond is the William L. Clayton Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, the Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. He is also professor, by courtesy, of political science and sociology at Stanford. He co-chairs the Hoover Institution’s programs on China’s Global Sharp Power and on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region.  At FSI, he leads the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy, based at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, which he directed for more than six years.  He also co-leads (with Eileen Donahoe) the Global Digital Policy Incubator based at FSI’s Cyber Policy Center. He served from 1989-2021 as the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and continues to serve as senior consultant to the National Endowment for Democracy. His research focuses on democratic trends and conditions around the world and on policies and reforms to defend and advance democracy. His latest edited book (with Orville Schell), China's Influence and American Interests (Hoover Press, 2019), urges a posture of constructive vigilance toward China’s global projection of “sharp power,” which it sees as a rising threat to democratic norms and institutions He offers a massive open online course (MOOC) on Comparative Democratic Development through the edX platform and is now writing a textbook to accompany it.

Diamond’s book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency, analyzes the challenges confronting liberal democracy in the United States and around the world at this potential “hinge in history” and offers an agenda for strengthening and defending democracy at home and abroad. A paperback edition with a new preface was released by Penguin in April 2020. His other books include: In Search of Democracy (2016)The Spirit of Democracy (2008), Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation (1999), Promoting Democracy in the 1990s (1995), and Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria (1989). He has also edited or coedited more than fifty books on democratic development around the world, including a forthcoming volume on the challenges confronting India’s democracy.

During 2002–03, Diamond served as a consultant to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and was a contributing author of its report, Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to universities and think tanks around the world and to the World Bank, the United Nations, the State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development. During the first three months of 2004, Diamond served as a senior adviser on governance to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. His 2005 book, Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq, was one of the first books to critically analyze America's postwar engagement in Iraq.

Among Diamond’s other edited books are Democracy in Decline?; Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab WorldWill China Democratize?; and Liberation Technology: Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy, all edited with Marc F. Plattner; and Politics and Culture in Contemporary Iran, with Abbas Milani. With Juan J. Linz and Seymour Martin Lipset, he edited the series Democracy in Developing Countries, which helped to shape a new generation of comparative study of democratic development.

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Frank Dikötter

Senior Fellow (adjunct)

Frank Dikötter is chair professor of humanities at the University of Hong Kong and senior fellow (adjunct) at the Hoover Institution. Before moving to Asia in 2006, he was professor of the modern history of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He was born in the Netherlands, educated in Switzerland, and received his PhD from the University of London in 1990. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Leiden.

Frank has published a dozen books that have changed the way we look at the history of China, from the classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China (Stanford University Press, 1992) to China before Mao: The Age of Openness (University of California Press, 2007). His Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China (University of Chicago Press, 2004) used archives from China, Europe, and the United States to challenge one of the cornerstones of current international drug policy, namely, the idea that opium changed China into a nation of addicts.

Most recently he has published a People's Trilogy, using newly opened files from the Chinese Communist Party’s own archives to document the impact of communism on the lives of ordinary people under Mao. The first volume, Mao's Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962, won the 2011 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Britain’s most prestigious book award for non-fiction. It was selected as a Book of the Year by The Economist, the Independent, the Sunday Times, the London Evening Standard, The Telegraph, the New Statesman and the Globe and Mail, and has been translated into thirteen languages. The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2014. The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976 concludes the trilogy and was published in May 2016. He is currently working on a history of the cult of personality seen through the lives of eight dictators, from Mussolini to Mao and Mengistu.

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Elizabeth Economy

Hargrove Senior Fellow

Elizabeth Economy is the Hargrove Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. From 2021–2023, Economy served as a senior foreign advisor (for China) in the Department of Commerce for the current administration. Economy was previously at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she served as the C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia Studies for over a decade.

Economy is an acclaimed author and expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy. Her most recent book is The World According to China (Polity, 2022). She is also the author of The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, (Oxford University Press, 2018; Thai edition, 2018; Chinese (Taiwan) edition, 2019), which was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a prestigious literary award for foreign affairs books. Her other books include By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World (Oxford University Press, 2014; Vietnamese, 2019) with Michael Levi, and The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China's Future (Cornell University Press, 2004; 2nd edition, 2010; Japanese edition, 2005; Chinese edition, 2011). The River Runs Black was named one of the top 50 sustainability books in 2008 by the University of Cambridge, won the 2005 International Convention on Asia Scholars Award for the best social sciences book published on Asia, and was listed as one of the top ten books of 2004 by the Globalist as well as one of the best business books of 2010 by Booz Allen Hamilton's strategy+business magazine. She also coedited China Joins the World: Progress and Prospects (Council on Foreign Relations Press, with Michel Oksenberg, 1999) and The Internationalization of Environmental Protection (Cambridge University Press, with Miranda Schreurs, 1997). She has published articles in foreign policy and scholarly journals including Foreign Affairs, Harvard Business Review, and Foreign Policy, and op-eds in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. Economy is a frequent guest on nationally broadcast television and radio programs, has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, and regularly consults for U.S. government agencies and companies. In June 2018, Economy was named one of the "10 Names That Matter on China Policy" by Politico Magazine.

Economy serves on the board of managers of Swarthmore College and is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group. She was also on the advisory council of Network 20/20 and the science advisory council of the Stockholm Environment Forum. She served as a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Agenda Council on the United States from 2014 to 2016 and served as a member and then vice chair of WEF’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of China from 2008 to 2014. Economy also served on the board of the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development. She has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies.

Economy received her BA with honors from Swarthmore College, her AM from Stanford University, and her PhD from the University of Michigan. In 2008, she received an honorary doctor of law degree from Vermont Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.

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Niall Ferguson

Milbank Family Senior Fellow

Niall Ferguson, MA, DPhil, FRSE, is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Pity of War, The House of Rothschild, Empire, Civilization and Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, which won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize. He is an award-making filmmaker, too, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money. His 2018 book, The Square and the Tower, was a New York Times bestseller and also adapted for television by PBS as Niall Ferguson’s Networld. In 2020 he joined Bloomberg Opinion as a columnist. In addition, he is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm, a co-founder of Ualá, a Latin American financial technology company, and a trustee of the New York Historical Society, the London-based Centre for Policy Studies, and the newly founded University of Austin. His latest book, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe, was published last year by Penguin and was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize.

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Stephen Kotkin

Kleinheinz Senior Fellow

In addition to his Hoover fellowship, Stephen Kotkin is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He is also the Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (formerly the Woodrow Wilson School), where he taught for 33 years. He earned his PhD at the University of California–Berkeley and has been conducting research in the Hoover Library & Archives for more than three decades.

Kotkin’s research encompasses geopolitics and authoritarian regimes in history and in the present. His publications include Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 (Penguin, 2017) and Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 (Penguin, 2014), two parts of a planned three-volume history of Russian power in the world and of Stalin’s power in Russia. He has also written a history of the Stalin system’s rise from a street-level perspective, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (University of California 1995); and a trilogy analyzing Communism’s demise, of which two volumes have appeared thus far: Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse 1970–2000 (Oxford, 2001; rev. ed. 2008) and Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment, with a contribution by Jan T. Gross (Modern Library, 2009). The third volume will be on the Soviet Union in the third world and Afghanistan. Kotkin’s publications and public lectures also often focus on Communist China.

Kotkin has participated in numerous events of the National Intelligence Council, among other government bodies, and is a consultant in geopolitical risk to Conexus Financial and Mizuho Americas. He served as the lead book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business Section for a number of years and continues to write reviews and essays for Foreign Affairsthe Times Literary Supplement, and the Wall Street Journal, among other venues. He has been an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow.

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H.R. McMaster

Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow

H.R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is also the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. 

Upon graduation from the US Military Academy in 1984, McMaster served as a commissioned officer in the US Army for thirty-four years.  He retired as a lieutenant general in June 2018 after serving as the twenty-fifth assistant to the US president for the Department of National Security Affairs. From 2014 to 2017, McMaster designed the future army as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and the deputy commanding general, futures, of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). As commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, he oversaw all training and education for the army’s infantry, armor, and cavalry force. He has commanded organizations in wartime including the Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—Shafafiyat in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2010 to 2012; the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006; and Eagle Troop, Second Armored Cavalry Regiment in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. McMaster also served overseas as advisor to the most senior commanders in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

McMaster holds a PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an assistant professor of history at the US Military Academy. He is author of the bestselling books Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World and Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. His many essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare have appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

McMaster is the host of Battlegrounds: Vital Perspectives on Today’s Challenges and is a regular on GoodFellows, both produced by the Hoover Institution. He is a Distinguished University Fellow at Arizona State University.

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Amy Zegart

Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow

Amy Zegart is the Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) at Stanford University. She is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. The author of five books, she specializes in U.S. intelligence, emerging technologies and national security, grand strategy, and global political risk management.

Zegart's award-winning research includes the leading academic study of intelligence failures before 9/11: Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 (Princeton, 2007). Her most recent book is the bestseller Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence (Princeton, 2022), which was nominated by Princeton University Press for the Pulitzer Prize. She also coauthored Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity, with Condoleezza Rice (Twelve, 2018) and coedited Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations with Herbert Lin (Brookings, 2019). Her op-eds and essays have appeared in Foreign AffairsPolitico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Zegart has advised senior officials about intelligence and foreign policy for more than two decades. She served on the National Security Council staff and as a presidential campaign foreign policy advisor and has testified before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

In addition to conducting research and teaching, she led Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, founded the Stanford Cyber Policy Program, and served as chief academic officer of the Hoover Institution. Before coming to Stanford, she was professor of public policy at UCLA and a McKinsey & Company consultant.

She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, the American Political Science Association’s Leonard D. White Dissertation Prize, and research grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Hewlett Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Zegart received an AB in East Asian studies, magna cum laude, from Harvard and an MA and a PhD in political science from Stanford. She serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, and the American Funds/Capital Group.

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Michael R. Auslin

Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia

Michael Auslin, PhD, is the Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. A historian by training, he specializes in US policy in Asia and geopolitical issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

Auslin is the author of six books, including Asia’s New Geopolitics: Essays on Reshaping the Indo-Pacific and the best-selling The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World's Most Dynamic Region. He is a longtime contributor to the Wall Street Journal and National Review, and his writing appears in other leading publications, including the Financial Times, The Spectator, and Foreign Policy. He comments regularly for US and foreign print and broadcast media. 

Previously, Auslin was an associate professor of history at Yale University, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the senior advisor for Asia at the Halifax International Security Forum, a senior fellow at London’s Policy Exchange, and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Among his honors are being named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Fulbright Scholar, and a German Marshall Fund Marshall Memorial Fellow. He serves on the board of the Wilton Park USA Foundation. 

Auslin hosts the podcast The Pacific Century, where he and his guests discuss the latest politics, economics, law, and cultural news in China and Asia, with a focus on US policy in the region.

Payson J. Treat, for whom Auslin’s current Stanford position is named, held the first professorship at an American university in what was then called Far Eastern history, a post created for him at Stanford in 1906.

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Glenn Tiffert

Distinguished Research Fellow

Glenn Tiffert is a distinguished research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a historian of modern China. He co-chairs Hoover’s project on China’s Global Sharp Power and directs its research portfolio. He also works closely with government and civil society partners around the world to document and build resilience against authoritarian interference with democratic institutions. Tiffert has worked extensively on the security and integrity of ecosystems of knowledge, particularly academic, corporate, and government research; science and technology policy; and malign foreign influence. He currently serves on the executive committee of the University Research Security Professionals Association, an organization established to help heighten security awareness in academia. He has authored or contributed to numerous Hoover publications, among them Eyes Wide Open: Ethical Risks in Research Collaboration with China (Hoover Press, 2021).

A specialist on the political and legal history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Tiffert's academic scholarship includes publications in English and Chinese on the origins of the modern Chinese court system and judiciary, the drafting of the PRC Constitution, and the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to globalize its censorship regime and rewrite its turbulent past. He is pioneering the integration of computational methods drawn from data science into the study of Chinese history. He earned his PhD from the University of California-Berkeley.

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Research Programs
China's Global Sharp Power Project

China's Global Sharp Power Project

Semiconductors and the Security Of The United States & Taiwan

Semiconductors and the Security Of The United States & Taiwan

Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region

Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region

Digital Currency And Electronic Payments Working Group

Digital Currency And Electronic Payments Working Group

Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue

Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue

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