How China’s Communist Party Exploited the West’s Openness: Aaron Friedberg on His Book Getting China Wrong
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How China's Communist Party Exploited the West's Openness
Aaron Friedberg on His Book Getting China Wrong

Podcast with Aaron L. Friedberg
October 8, 2022

In this episode of NBR’s Asia Insight, NBR’s executive vice president Michael Wills hosts a discussion with Aaron Friedberg on his new book Getting China Wrong.

Aaron Friedberg is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1987. In 2003–5, Dr. Friedberg served as deputy assistant for national security affairs in the Office of the Vice President. After leaving government, he was appointed to the Defense Policy Board and the secretary of s​tate’s Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion. He is also a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a counselor to the National Bureau of Asian Research.


[1:00] Could you provide a basic summary of the argument you put forward in your book Getting China Wrong? Who exactly got China wrong, what was their mistake, and what are the consequences today?

[10:05] Was the strategy of engagement naive from the outset, or was it the right strategy at the time? Were there signposts along the way that we could have paid more attention to and reached this realization that China was much more of a challenge to be managed than we had first understood?

[15:53] As we look back on the 1990s with the benefit of hindsight, are there other signs we missed and should have paid more attention to?

[27:25] We’ve seen a growing debate about disengagement, decoupling, and what that looks like. As we look forward now, where do you see this debate going? What is the outlook for the economic and trade relationship?

[38:20] How are liberal democratic societies grappling with the complex issues around countering Chinese influence operations without opening up the same problems of heavy-handed suppression, repression, or policies that will lead to some form of ugly discrimination or worse?

[45:40] As we look out over the next five to ten years, what do we need to do to get China policy right?

About Asia Insight

The NBR podcast series Asia Insight features interviews with top Asia experts about key issues affecting the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on implications for U.S. policy and businesses. Subscribe to Asia Insight on Podbean and Apple Podcasts and let us know what you think of the podcast on Twitter.

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This podcast was edited by Chelsea Zhang at NBR.