Council Event Listings

World Affairs Council of Orange County | Webinar With Professors Thomas Fingar and Jean Oi

September 16

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020 – 1:15 PM PDT

The World Affairs Council of Orange County Presents:

Fateful Decisions: China’s Domestic Challenges and their Implications for US/China Relations

A free webinar with Professors Thomas Fingar and Jean Oi

The current narrative depicting China as an unstoppable juggernaut determined to displace the United States atop the international system underestimates the magnitude of looming domestic challenges and overestimates the likelihood that political leaders will make effective policy choices.  Jean Oi and Thomas Fingar will describe key challenges, constraints, and choices facing Chinese leaders and examine their implications for US-China relations.

Questions you might wish to pose:

  • Many commentators discuss China’s rise and future prospects in almost mechanistic terms but you emphasize the importance of political choices and factors that will shape policy decisions.  Can you explain why you take this approach?
  • Your new book examines a wide range of looming domestic and foreign policy challenges.  Could you enumerate and describe some of these challenges? 
  • Many now claim that the US policy of engagement with China was foolish and unsuccessful.  Do you agree with that assessment?

Dr. 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 in 2010-2015 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. Dr. Fingar served previously as Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2000-2001 and 2004-2005), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (2001-2003), Deputy Assistant Secretary for Analysis (1994-2000), Director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (1989-1994), and Chief of the China Division (1986-1989). 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. Dr. 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 Reducing Uncertainty:  Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford, 2011), 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, editor (Stanford, 2017), and Fateful Decisions: Choices that Will Shape China’s Future, edited with Jean C. Oi (Stanford, 2020).

Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics in the Department of Political Science and a Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University.  She also directs the China Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at FSI and is the founding Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University.  A PhD in political science from the University of Michigan, Oi first taught at Lehigh University and later in the department of government at Harvard University before joining the Stanford faculty in 1997.

Oi has published extensively on political economy and the process of reform in China.  Recent books include Fateful Decisions: Choices That Will Shape China’s Future, co-edited with Thomas Fingar (2020); Zouping Revisited: Adaptive Governance in a Chinese County, co-edited with Steven Goldstein (2018); and Challenges in the Process of China’s Urbanization, co-edited with Karen Eggleston and Yiming Wang (2017).  Recent articles include “Reflections on Forty Years of Rural Reform” in Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein, eds., To Get Rich is Glorious: Challenges Facing China’s Economic Reform and Opening at Forty (2019); “China’s Challenges: Now it Gets Much Harder,” co-authored with Thomas Finger, The Washington Quarterly (Spring 2020); and “After COVID-19: Rebooting Business in China,” co-authored with Jennifer Choo, Christopher Thomas, and Xue (Xander) Wu, The Diplomat (July 2020). 

Her current research continues to explore central-local relations, including local government debt.  She is also in the early stages of a project on China’s Belt and Road Initiative.   

Summary of Fateful Decisions: Press Here for Summary of Book
Purchase Fateful DecisionsPress Here to Purchase
Listen to Their Podcast: Press Here to Listen

Find out more

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