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Much recent commentary on US relations with China claims that the policy of “Engagement” was a foolish and failed attempt to transform the People’s Republic into an American style democracy that instead created an authoritarian rival. This narrative mocks the policies of eight US administrations to justify calls for “Decoupling” and “Containment 2.0.” Fingar’s talk will challenge this narrative by examining the origins, logic, and achievements of Engagement and explain why Decoupling is neither wise nor attainable.
Thomas Fingar is a Shorenstein APARC Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He was the inaugural Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow from 2010 through 2015 and the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford in 2009. From 2005 through 2008, he served as the first deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and, concurrently, as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Fingar served previously as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2000-01 and 2004-05), principal deputy assistant secretary (2001-03), deputy assistant secretary for analysis (1994-2000), director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (1989-94), and chief of the China Division (1986-89). Between 1975 and 1986 he held a number of positions at Stanford University, including senior research associate in the Center for International Security and Arms Control.
Fingar is a graduate of Cornell University (A.B. in Government and History, 1968), and Stanford University (M.A., 1969 and Ph.D., 1977 both in political science). His most recent books are The New Great Game: China and South and Central Asia in the Era of Reform, editor (Stanford, 2016), Uneasy Partnerships: China and Japan, the Koreas, and Russia in the Era of Reform (Stanford, 2017), and Fateful Decisions: Choices that will Shape China’s Future, co-edited with Jean Oi (Stanford, 2020).