A new Cold War?

Mackinnon.Stephen croppedOpium wars, rapprochement, booming two-way tourism, threats of heavy tariffs and military confrontation.

China’s relationship with the United States has been a roller coaster of ups and downs since the 19th century. Professor Emeritus Stephen MacKinnon will be in PebbleCreek at 10 a.m., Monday, Nov. 4, to discuss the relationship in more recent decades, beginning with normalization of ties in the 1970s. He will review the evolving state of links between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China, as the two nations established closer cultural, political and economic links in the 1980s and 1990s.

MacKinnon will also analyze the souring of ties that he asserts began about eight years ago during the Obama Administration, a situation that started with a deteriorating diplomatic relationship. He believes that President Trump’s trade-negotiation tactics have blindsided current Chinese leadership.  According to MacKinnon, trade tensions have come at a sensitive time for a Chinese economy that has been experiencing a critical period of structural change and slower growth. Both countries will be adjusting to long-term economic and military tension, if not confrontation, MacKinnon says. Meanwhile, as the world’s two foremost major powers, Washington and Beijing will often be forced to work together on multiple fronts, such as climate change and peacekeeping missions. 

MacKinnon trained in Chinese studies at Yale University and the University of California, Davis. He is an emeritus professor of history and former director of the Center for Asian Studies at Arizona State University. In addition to writing dozens of academic articles and book chapters, he is the author of several books, including Power and Politics in Late Imperial China (1981); Wuhan, 1938: War, Refugees, and Making of Modern China (2008). He recently finished a book manuscript tentatively titled, The Chinese Revolution’s International Dimension: Life and Times of Chen Hansheng (1897-2004). 

MacKinnon has studied and taught in China on many occasions since the 1970s and has been a visiting scholar at numerous, prominent institutions throughout the world. He regularly lectures on China issues in the Valley and is a founding member of the Phoenix Committee for Foreign Relations.

“Rise! Those who will not be slaves! From our flesh and blood, build our new Great Wall. The time of greatest danger to the Chinese people has arrived, forcing the final howl to erupt from each person. Arise! Arise! Arise!”  -- First stanza of China’s national anthem

Tickets to all Monday Morning Lectures are $5 at the door of the Renaissance Theater. 

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