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Is China Exporting Authoritarianism Around the World?

The Chinese and U.S. Presidents spoke on the same day this week at the United Nations General Assembly with each offering a different vision for the future. Joe Biden challenged critics who contend that democracy is in retreat while Xi Jinping warned “the world is once again at a historical crossroads” and pushed back on a U.S.-led international order.

And there’s a lot at stake for developing countries in Africa and elsewhere in this debate as both major powers seek to align others to their worldview. In Washington, D.C., there’s a widespread perception that Beijing is increasingly using technology, money, and ideological influence to spread authoritarianism around the world to better strengthen its geopolitical position.

Charles Edel and David Shullman, two leading China analysts in the U.S., laid out the challenge in an article published in the current edition of Foreign Affairs where they detail “China’s international efforts to subvert democracy.” Charles and David join Eric & Cobus from Washington to discuss the threat they think China presents and how policymakers should respond.

Show Notes:

About Charles Edel and David Shullman:

Charles Edel is a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center and a Senior Fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Edel’s research and policy expertise is in the politics and security of the Indo-Pacific, U.S. strategy toward the region, American foreign policy, grand strategy, and American political history. He is the co-author of The Lessons of Tragedy: Statecraft and World Order (2019) and author of Nation Builder: John Quincy Adams and the Grand Strategy of the Republic (2014).  Currently, he is working on a book examining America’s history of dealing with authoritarian regimes. In addition to his scholarly publications, his writings appear in The Washington Post, Foreign AffairsForeign PolicyThe American Interest, and various other outlets. He also regularly offers foreign policy commentary on television and radio, including CNBC, ABC, Sky News, Australia’s RN, and NPR.


David O. Shullman is the Senior Director of the China Global Hub at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. Previously, Shullman was a Senior Advisor at the International Republican Institute, where he oversaw IRI’s work addressing the influence of China and other autocracies on democratic institutions and governance in countries around the world. Prior to IRI, Shullman served for nearly a dozen years as one of the U.S. government’s top experts on East Asia, most recently as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for East Asia on the National Intelligence Council. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA, a MALD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a BA in Government from Georgetown.

Transcript:(please note this transcript is produced by artificial intelligence so it’s not 100% accurate)

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