September Reading Group
The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower
by Michael Pillsbury
Friday, September 25, 2020
7:30 - 9:00 am PDT
Online Zoom Meeting
About the Book
The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury is the recommended book by member Shashi Jasthi for the September book review session. Shashi believes that:
- Pillsbury raises some very important points that have not yet been discussed well enough in the U.S. Foreign Policy community.
- Pillsbury has the experience, skills, and a front-row to US-China relations for more than 40 years. So, it behooves us to pay attention to what he is saying.
While the ground covered by this book is extensive, the main points raised by the author can be summarized as follows:
- Our China policy is guided more by what we want China to be, rather than the practical realization of what China is and what China wants to be.
- The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is implementing a long-term plan to rewrite the world order to its own advantage. We are blind to that fact due to many reasons.
- Beyond a few China experts that have deep skills in Mandarin, Chinese History, and deep connections to a broad swath of the mainland Chinese society, the U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment’s understanding of China is shallow. We need to fix that on a war footing.
- To counter the CCP’s ‘marathon’ plan, we need to: (a) Understand the Warring States history and terminology that guides the CCP hawks (Ying Pai), (b) Understand, and work to counter some inherent asymmetries that exist in a competition between an open society as ours with a totalitarian state as China, (c) The CCP’s information warfare is multi-pronged and sophisticated. In addition to creating a carefully curated worldview for the masses within China, it distorts and weaponizes information in many countries, including the U.S. We need a plan to protect our information infrastructure, and (d) We need a cadre of professionals specifically trained for China – because China, ‘a Civilizational level’ adversary, thinks, plans and implements using paradigms that are foreign to us. We need more Sun Tzu than Clausewitz; more Go than Chess; and we need to understand the many layers of meaning in Mandarin speech that are opaque to a foreigner.
Pillsbury’s 40-year ties with the CIA, FBI and the Pentagon places him in a unique position to describe China’s foreign policy. In January, 27, 2015 review of Pillsbury’s book, Wendall Winnick wrote that Pillsbury, like others, thought that the Nixon-China trade discussion would move China more into the liberal democratic political landscape, but what Pillsbury learned was “…it has been a failure…In short, China has failed to meet nearly all of our rose expectations. Instead, China has done everything it can to thwart reconstruction efforts and economic development.” Pillsbury says that China has a 100- year plan of world domination which date back to the planning of Mao in 1949.
To kick off the book review, we propose these initial questions:
- After seeing the evidence presented in this book and its Notes, do you think there is a clear and present danger from the CCP? Or, is Michael Pillsbury being a bit of an alarmist?
- How do Michael Pillsbury’s conclusions about our China Policy align with the policy implemented by the Trump Administration (eg: Robert Lighthizer, Peter Navarro, etc.) and by the Foreign Policy ecosystem (eg: Nadia Schadlow, Richard Haass, etc.)?
- How do we avoid a see-saw foreign policy due to change of administrations between two parties that do not see eye to eye? How can we get a bi-partisan consensus on China policy that can outlast Xi Jinping?
I am sure you have answers for these questions and the place for those answers is at the ZOOM PCFR book review session in September. We want your opinions, so please add this event to your calendar and register now.