Mackinder Forum Virtual Seminar # 21: “China: A Faltering Challenger” by Andrew Latham

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Our next-to-last seminar for 2020 was scheduled on Sunday, December 6, 2020, 1:30-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, US. Professor Andrew Latham of Macalester College presented a talk on “China: A Faltering Challenger.”

ABSTRACT: Over the past year or so, China has made a series of bold moves across the Indo-Pacific region – moves that seem to reflect a growing confidence in Beijing that China’s moment has arrived. Whether it is aggressive actions along the border with India, continuing efforts to assert sovereignty over the South China Seas, the finalization of a new strategic partnership agreement with Iran, the crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong, or dropping the word “peaceful” from its annual call for unification with the island democracy, Chinese actions seem to suggest that Beijing believes it is now powerful enough that it can finalize its bid for regional, perhaps even global, hegemony. In short, they seem to suggest that China’s leadership has come to believe that China is no longer merely a rising power, but a rising power whose time has come. But what if this is wrong? What if China is not a rising power? What if China is, instead, a once-rising power that is now faltering?

BIOGRAPHY: Andrew Latham received his PhD in International Relations and Strategic Studies from York University in Toronto, Canada; and he is currently a professor of International Relations at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has served as: Assistant Director of the Centre for International and Security Studies, York University, Toronto; Nonproliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament Research Fellow, with the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Lecturer, at the Canadian Armed Forces School of Aerospace Studies, Winnipeg, Canada; Research Associate, at Centre for Defence and Security Studies, University of Manitoba, Canada; consultant to the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND); and as a member of several Canadian diplomatic delegations to international nonproliferation, arms control and disarmament negotiations. In addition to publishing in a range of academic journals, he has published in magazines such as The Hill, The Diplomat, RealClearDefense, Public Discourse, The Conversation, Canadian Defence Quarterly, First Things, Ethika Politika, and Crisis. In 2012, Routledge published Andrew Latham’s study, Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics: War and World Order in the Age of the Crusades.

Readings:

•Andrew Latham, “Is China on the Path to War with the US?” Providence Magazine, 26 June 2020: https://providencemag.com/2020/06/china-path-war-us-thucydides-trap/.

•Andrew Latham, “Idealists Are Wrong about China’s Peaceful Rise,” Providence Magazine, 9 July 2020: https://providencemag.com/2020/07/idealists-wrong-china-peaceful-rise/.

•Andrew Latham, “China as a Faltering Contender,” RealClearDefense, 14 September 2020: https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/09/14/china_as_a_faltering_contender_577273.html.

•Andrew Latham, “China: A Faltering, Not Rising, Power,” The National Interest, 19 November 2020: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/has-china-peaked-172911.