U.S.-China relations have entered perhaps their most trying period since normalization in 1979. As both countries rethink the trajectory of their relationship, the last 40 years of diplomacy are invaluable to informing new ideas on a way forward. With this notion in mind, Georgetown University recently launched the “U.S.-China Dialogue Podcast,” a series of interviews with former U.S. cabinet secretaries, ambassadors, and other senior officials who helped sculpt U.S.-China relations over much of the past four decades. These edited recordings, now being released individually, trace the negotiating history of major periods of conflict and cooperation between the two countries, including anti-Soviet coordination, the Tiananmen crackdown, nonproliferation, cyber theft, China’s WTO accession, its role in G-20 summits, and much more. In gleaning the lessons of the past, policymakers and the public may gain a clearer perspective on the road ahead for U.S.-China relations.
On April 22, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings welcomed James Green, the host of “U.S.-China Dialogue Podcast.” Green moderated a conversation with three highly esteemed experts who have shaped U.S.-China relations through their extensive careers in government—Amy Celico, David Shear, and Dennis Wilder—two of whom have been guests of the podcast. The group weighed the insights and oversights gathered through four decades of interacting with the Chinese government. Questions from the audience followed the discussion.