Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Chas Freeman

Chas Freeman

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs


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.

Talks & Media

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)

November 13 & 14: 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”

News|Recent News

'Saudi Arabia is Joining the Orgy of Destruction if the Rule-Bound Order,' Former U.S. Ambassador Says on Khashoggi (interview with Chas Freeman)

October 12, 2018 TIME

Former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and current Senior Fellow Chas Freeman gives his insight on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, journalist and outspoken critic of the Saudi Arabian regime, "It’s certainly a gross violation of diplomatic norms to abduct people from consular premises. It’s even worse to murder them in such premises and assert immunity." 


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