Richard Bush headshot

Richard C. Bush

Richard Bush is a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for Asia Policy Studies (CAPS) at Brookings. From July 2002 to June 2018, he served as the director of the center, and from 2013 until 2020 he served as the inaugural Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies. He also holds a joint appointment as a nonresident senior fellow in the Brookings John L. Thornton China Center.

Bush came to Brookings in July 2002, after serving almost five years as the chairman and managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the mechanism through which the United States government conducts substantive relations with Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic relations.

Bush began his professional career in 1977 with the China Council of The Asia Society. In July 1983, he became a staff consultant on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs. In January 1993, he moved up to the full committee, where he worked on Asia issues and served as liaison with democratic members. In July 1995, he became national intelligence officer for East Asia and a member of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), which coordinates the analytic work of the intelligence community. He left the NIC in September 1997 to become head of American Institute in Taiwan.

He is the author of a number of articles on China’s relations with its neighbors, particularly Taiwan. He is author of “At Cross Purposes: U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1942,” a book of essays on the history of America’s relations with Taiwan published in March 2004 by M.E. Sharpe; and of “Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait,” a book on cross-Strait political relations published by the Brookings Institution Press in July 2005. Bush co-wrote “A War Like No Other: The Truth About China’s Challenge to America (Wiley, 2007), which examines the challenges that the United States faces in avoiding conflict and developing its relationship with China, with Brookings scholar Michael O’Hanlon. He is the author of “Perils of Proximity: China-Japan Security Relations” (Brookings, 2010); “Uncharted Strait: The Future of China-Taiwan Relations” (Brookings, 2013); “Hong Kong in the Shadow of China: Living with the Leviathan” (Brookings, 2016); and “Difficult Choices: Taiwan’s Quest for Security and the Good Life” (Brookings 2021), which explores how Taiwan’s democratic system is meeting current policy challenges. He is a co-author of the recently published book, “U.S.-Taiwan Relations: Will China’s Challenge Lead to a Crisis?” (Brookings Press, 2023).

Richard Bush received his undergraduate education at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He did his graduate work in political science at Columbia University, getting a master’s in 1973 and his doctorate in 1978.


  • Council on Foreign Relations, member
  • National Committee on United States-China Relations, member
  • Taipei Forum Foundation, board member
  • Areas of Expertise

    • China
    • Taiwan
    • Korean peninsula
    • Japan
    • U.S.-China relations                
  • Past Positions

    • Senior Fellow, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, John L. Thornton China Center, Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution (2002-2020)
    • Director, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution (2002-2018)
    • Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (1997-2002)
    • National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, National Intelligence Council (1995-1997)
    • Director for Minority Liaison, U.S. House Committee on International Relations (1995)
    • Director for Committee Liaison, U.S. House Committee of Foreign Affairs(1994)
    • Staff Consultant, House Committee on Foreign Affairs (1983-1993)
  • Education

    • Ph.D. (1978), M.Phil. (1975), M.A. (1973), Columbia University
    • B.A., Lawrence University, 1969
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