Watson Institute at Brown University
International and Public Affairs
Chas Freeman

Chas Freeman

+1 401 863 5689
111 Thayer Street, Room 227


Downloadable CV

Chas Freeman

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs

Areas of Interest: Diplomacy, defense policy, China, Middle East, Africa, South Asia.


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.

Edited Volumes

"Sino-American Interactions, Past and Future" in
By Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, Pamela Aall, Routledge, 2020

"United States - China Military Relations: From Enmity to Entente and Maybe Back Again " in
ENGAGING CHINA: Fifty Years of Sino-American Relations
Ed. by Anne Thurston, Oxford, 2021

Talks & Media

January 11, 2021:  The International Landscape Awaiting the Biden Administration
Full Text

December 17, 2020:  War with China over Taiwan? Remarks to a Salon of the Committee for the Republic

November 12, 2020:  Edgerton Series | Under Pressure: Taiwan, the United States, and China

February 5, 2019:  Tales of American Diplomacy - Chas Freeman: Interpreting Nixon

February 7, 2017: Interesting Times: A Conversation With Ambassador Chas Freeman

February 18, 2016:  Recovering Diplomatic Agility - Part 3

Full Text     Video (short)     Video (full)

February 11, 2016:  The United States in the New World Disorder - Part 2

Full Text     Video (short)     Video (full)

February 4, 2016:  The Crumbling of the Pax Americana - Part 1 

Full Text     Video (short)     Video (full)

October 20, 2021: Acceptance of the Committee for the Republic’s Defender of Liberty Award

September 10, 2021: The Sino-American Split: At Sea with a Broken Compass

September 2, 2021: Sino-American Relations in the Evolving Global Context

Originally scheduled for August 23 -24. Postponed twice due to outbreaks of COVID-19. Sino-American Relations: A Contest of Innovative Capabilities

June 9, 2021: Sino-American Relations: A Candid Conversation with Chinese Friends

May 19, 2021: The Fadeout of the Pax Americana in the Middle East - Remarks to the Institute of Peace and Diplomacy, Canada

April 15, 2021: Sino-American Antagonism: How Does This End? Remarks to the Confucius Institute, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho

February 11, 2021: Playing at War Games with China - Remarks to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs

December 27, 2020: China, US must rebuild relations brick by brick: Charles W. Freeman Jr.

December 25, 2020: Veteran diplomat: US confronts China to protect supremacy, not security

December 22, 2020: The growing peril of war with China over Taiwan

October 14, 2020: Notes for the Panel on Geopolitics: Post-COVID and Post-US World Disorder

September 25, 2020: The Struggle with China is not a Replay of the Cold War - Remarks to the Asia American Forum

June 15, 2020: The Global Geopolitical Outlook - Remarks to Participants in the Saudi Aramco Management Development Seminar

May 7, 2020: Remarks to the Harvard College China Forum 2020

April 14, 2020: The United States and a Resurgent Asia - Remarks prepared for delivery to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs (Not delivered due to the suspension of public gatherings during the Covid-19 Pandemic)

March 19, 2020: On Diplomatic Relationships and Strategies - Remarks as prepared for delivery at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs (Not delivered due to the suspension of public gatherings caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic)

February 20, 2020: America in Distress: The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change - Remarks to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Watch video

October 23, 2019: Remarks of the opening keynote address at the Gulf International Forum 

October 17, 2019: Nixon’s China Legacy and its Contemporary Reversal: Remarks to a Panel at the Woodrow Wilson Center

October 17, 2019: Arabia, the Persian Gulf, and Great Power Competition: Remarks to the Gulf International Forum

September 27, 2019: Ready, Fire, Aim: U.S. Interests in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria Contribution to a Panel Discussion at the DACOR Annual Conference

September 26, 2019: Deglobalization and its Discontents - Remarks to the 2019 Saudi Aramco Management Development Seminar

August 19, 2019: The 1981-82 Sino-American Taiwan Arms Sales Negotiations - Remarks to a “Master Class in Diplomacy” of the Center for the Study of the Conduct of Diplomacy

June 13, 2019: The Sino-American Split and its Consequences - The Foreign Policy Association’s Centennial Lecture Series 
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May 3, 2019: On Hostile Coexistence with China - Remarks to the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies China Program

April 16, 2019: The American Warfare State and its Costs: Introduction of the Speakers to a Committee for the Republic Salon

April 5, 2019: The State of Sino-American Relations and their Global Context: Remarks to the Brown China Summit

March 11, 2019: Order in Turmoil: Making Sense of Kaleidoscopic Change in the Middle East: Remarks to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Harvard Middle East Seminar

February 12, 2019: After the Trade War, a Real War with China? Remarks to the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs

January 18, 2019: Are the United States and China Headed for War? Remarks to a January 2019 Conference at the Carter Center

January 17, 2019: Sino-American Interactions, Past and Future: A Paper Prepared for a January 2019 Conference at the Carter Center Atlanta, Georgia

December 18, 2018: The Ironies of a Successful U.S. China Policy: Remarks to the National Committee for U.S.-China Relations

December 11, 2018: China and America in the New World Disorder Remarks to a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Seminar on Forty Years of Sino-American Relations

November 29, 2018: China in the Post-American World: Remarks to Le Cercle

November 13 & 14, 2018: A New Era in US-China Relations - Remarks to the Watson Institute, Brown University, and the Fairbank Center, Harvard University

November 8, 2018: The North Korean Nuclear Crisis Remarks to a panel led by Lyle Goldstein at the Harvard Club of Rhode Island

November 2, 2018: The Middle East after Khashoggi: Remarks at the Center for the National Interest

October 6, 2018: The Mess in U.S.-China Relations: Remarks to the New England Chinese Language Teachers Association

May 15, 2018: In the Time of Trump: Public Turbulence and Private Capital: Remarks to the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association

May 10, 2018: A Middle East with No Master: Remarks to the Middle East Project

May 5, 2018: On the Souring of Sino-American: Relations Remarks to the Committee of 100

April 16, 2018: Diplomacy as Risk Management: Remarks to the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs

April 5, 2018: Diplomacy as Tactics: Remarks to the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs

May 1, 2018: Fifteen Years of Forever Wars: Remarks to a Meeting of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship

March 19, 2018: Diplomacy as Strategy: Remarks to the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs

February 18, 2018: This Too Shall Pass - Remarks to the Camden Conference on The New World Disorder and America’s Future

February 8, 2018: The United States and China: Game of Superpowers

February, 2018: Diplomacy: A Rusting Tool of American Statecraft

December 11, 2017: The Middle East in the New World Disorder

November 15, 2017: The Allison Rap on Thucydides' Trap

November 14, 2017: The Troubled Sino-American Politico-Economic Relationship in Historical Perspective

October 28, 2017: Technology, Statecraft, and Unrestricted Warefare

July 27, 2017: East Asia and the Pacific in the New World Disorder - Remarks to the 2017 Summer Roundtable of the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute

May 1, 2017: Thinking about War with China - Remarks at a discussion of “Avoiding War with China”

April 26th, 2017: Greater Israel and the Prospects for Peace in the Middle East - Remarks to a panel of the Middle East Policy Council

April 6th, 2017: Reimagining the Middle East - Reimagining the International Environment: Part III

March 23rd, 2017: Reimagining China and Asia - Reimagining the International Environment: Part II

March 9th, 2017: Reimagining Great Power Relations - Reimagining the International Environment: Part 1

February 22nd, 2017: Taiwan: Into the Endgame? Remarks prepared for a Roundtable on China-Taiwan Relations in the Tsai Ing-wen Era

February 8th, 2017: The Geoeconomic Implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative - Remarks to a Conference of the University of San Francisco’s China Business Studies Initiative

February 1, 2017: Entropy in Geopolitics - Remarks prepared for a discussion at Energía México 2017

January 5, 2017: No More Presidential Wars - Remarks to the Committee for the Republic

December 7, 2016: Address to the McLean Foreign Policy Group on “Ebb in Deference to American Global Leadership”

November 14, 2016: Comments on Taiwan's Identity - Remarks to a Conference on "Transpacific Taiwan"

October 25, 2016: Visions of the World and the U.S. Role in It - Remarks to the Myra Kraft Open Classroom at Northeastern University

October 19, 2016: Discussion of the Changing Global and Regional Environment: Oil and Money Conference, London

October 13, 2016: The Middle East and the Next Administration - Remarks Prepared for a Middle East Policy Council Capitol Hill Conference

October 12, 2016: The Domestic Consequences of America’s Many Wars in the Middle East - Remarks to a Salon of the Committee for the Republic

June 9, 2016: U.S. Policy and the Geopolitical Dynamics of the Middle East - Remarks to the Center for the National Interest

September 15, 2016: Turkey in the New Geopolitical Context

May 18, 2016: Advancing American Security: the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy - sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute

May 12, 2016: America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East - A Book Talk at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

May 4, 2016: One China, Two Freemans Remarks at the Center for China - US Cooperation, University of Denver

April 23, 2016: China’s Current Problems and Prospects - Remarks to a panel at Brown University’s “China Summit”