David Shambaugh

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Jiang Zemin at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, October 2002

When he was thrust into the limelight as China’s paramount leader in the immediate aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Jiang Zemin was dismissed by many analysts as a likely short-lived transitional leader. At the time of his sudden elevation, despite having been Shanghai’s party secretary and former mayor and having already served as a member of the ruling Politburo for two years, Jiang was a relatively obscure figure, even within China. He had almost no senior political patrons of any import, no real ties to the main party factions, no relations with the military, and no geographic base other than Shanghai.…  Seguir leyendo »

Now that China is becoming a world power, it is beginning to recognize the importance of its global image and the need to enhance its “soft power.” It is tracking public opinion polls worldwide and investing huge amounts into expanding its global cultural footprint, “external propaganda work” and public diplomacy. Unfortunately for China, that’s not enough.

While pockets of positive views regarding China can be found around the world, public opinion surveys from the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project and the BBC reveal that China’s image ranges between mixed and poor. And the negative view is expanding: for almost a decade, European public opinion toward China has been the most negative in the world, but that is now matched in America and Asia.…  Seguir leyendo »

With the unveiling of China’s new leadership, observers and journalists the world over are all contemplating the same question: Will the new group at the top of the Communist Party be able to engineer the reforms needed to tackle the plethora of challenges afflicting virtually every realm of policy and governance — domestic and international — in China?

The answer, unfortunately, is no. Those inside and outside of China anticipating a return to an ambitious reformist agenda that will further open and decentralize the economy; liberalize the polity; reduce social inequities and tackle pervasive corruption; and rectify strains in China’s relations with its neighbors in Asia, the European Union and the United States will be disappointed.…  Seguir leyendo »

The visit by China’s vice president, Xi Jinping, to Washington this coming week offers a unique opportunity to take the measure of the man who will lead China for the next decade.

While Xi has traveled the world since being anointed Hu Jintao’s designated successor in 2007, he has not been to the United States during this grooming period (he did visit earlier as a provincial official).

This will be a good opportunity for Xi to familiarize himself with America and vice versa. As he is not well known outside of China and enigmatic even inside the country, observers will be looking for clues to Xi’s domestic and international orientation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nationwide ceremonies and a deluge of media coverage have been mobilized by China’s ruling Communist Party to mark its 90th anniversary today. But all the hoopla cannot conceal the party’s insecure state.

Central China Television (CCTV) has been airing long narrative documentaries about the party’s history; bookstores are full of red-covered histories; museums have mounted special exhibitions — including the new National Museum’s “Road to Rejuvenation.” And the buildup will be capped by a nationwide address by the party’s general secretary, President Hu Jintao.

The main theme in all these celebrations has been that the party has provided China prosperity and dignity following a “century of shame and humiliation.”…  Seguir leyendo »

China’s new public diplomacy is ramping up to complement its traditional diplomacy. Chinese leaders are traversing the globe and receiving foreign leaders at home, but less noticed has been the blitz of China’s new soft-power efforts.

Discussions here in Beijing indicate that the Chinese government is more aware of its tarnished international image and is undertaking numerous coordinated steps to improve it.

The most recent BBC/Globescan poll of 28 nations showed, for example, that China’s global image remains mixed. Only in Africa and Pakistan is it consistently positive, while in Asia, North America, and Latin America it is neutral to poor.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Post asked foreign policy experts if Obama's trip was a success or an embarrassment. Below are contributions from Michael Auslin, Michael Green, Victor Cha, Danielle Pletka, Douglas E. Schoen, Richard C. Bush, Elizabeth C. Economy, David Shambaugh and Yang Jianli.

The optics of the president's trip fulfilled his stated intention of announcing that the United States was "back" in Asia, but the lack of tangible policy results suggest it was a success of style over substance.

Meeting with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a statement that the United States will "engage" with the free-trade Trans Pacific Partnership does not substitute for a full trade policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

With President Obama's trip to Canada, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touring Asia, The Post asked foreign policy experts to assess the expectations on the Obama administration. Below are responses from Danielle Pletka, Daniel P. Serwer, Aaron David Miller, Rick Barton, Karin von Hippel, Shannon Hayden and David Shambaugh.

Danielle Pletka, vice president, foreign and defense policy studies, at the American Enterprise Institute.

It's foolish to expect too much from a maiden voyage overseas. But if we are filled with an unreasoning hope for change, the blame lies at the feet of candidate Barack Obama, who led us to believe his ascent would do miracles for America's global influence.…  Seguir leyendo »