Abstract: Before the CCP came to power, China lay broken. Today it is a force on the global stage, but its leaders remain haunted by the past. Sulmaan Khan will tell the story of the grand strategies pursued by China’s paramount leaders: the shrewd, dangerous Mao Zedong, who made the country whole and kept it so; the caustic, impatient Deng Xiaoping who dragged the country into the modern world; Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao who served as cautious custodians of Deng’s legacy; and Xi Jinping who combines assertiveness with insecurity. For all their considerable costs, China’s grand strategies have been largely successful. But whether or not they can meet the challenges of the twenty-first century remains to be seen.
Sulmaan Wasif Khan teaches international history and Chinese foreign relations at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, where he also directs the Water and Oceans Program at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy. He is the author of Haunted by Chaos: China’s Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping (Harvard University Press: 2018), which was named a top book of 2018 by The American Interest, and Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy: China’s Cold War and the People of the Tibetan Borderlands (University of North Carolina Press: 2015). He has written for The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The American Interest, and YaleEnvironment360, among others, on topics ranging from Burmese Muslims to dolphin migration through the Bosphorus. He received his Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 2012.