Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
China Initiative

CANCELED: Chas Freeman ─ On Foreign Relationships and Strategies

Thursday, March 19, 2020

4:00pm – 5:30pm

Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street


For up-to-date information, including campus travel restrictions, please visit the University’s COVID-19 Updates website.

Ambassador Chas Freeman provided his prepared remarks for this event here.

The usual American conception of strategic relationships is Manichean and militaristic.  But categories of relationship embody differing mutual expectations and propensities for coalition or antagonism.  These determine the ways in which states can build coalitions to aggregate the power of others to their own and guide their reactions to international challenges and opportunities. Nor are strategies necessarily military.  Strategy is the efficient linkage of resources and institutional capabilities to the objectives relationships make possible.  There are many kinds of strategy.  Nations switch and mix these to realize their objectives, rearrange their geopolitical environment, reweave their relationships with other nations, or reposition themselves for future gain.  An examination of contemporary international relationships and strategies, including China's strategy, serves to underscore these insights, which are key to diplomatic doctrine. The talk will examine the strategies followed by China in its "Belt and Road Initiative," NATO for the "Partnership for Peace," the United States for "containment," and Israel for the complete annexation of Palestine.

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)

Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America’s Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat’s Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School. He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.