The Making of China's Wolf Warrior DiplomacyVIEW EVENT DETAILS
A Fireside Chat with Peter Martin
Recent years have seen the rise of an aggressive and assertive China. Deng Xiaoping, the leader who is widely credited with China’s incredible success over the last four decades, said China must “hide its strength and bide its time.” Now, however, the days of “hide and bide” — a cautious, reticent China — appear to be over. China’s president Xi Jinping, arguably the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, in a recent speech commemorating the centenary of the Chinese Communist party before a crowd of 70,000 in Tiananmen Square, said “the Chinese people will never allow any foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us. Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against a Great Wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
An assertive China has slapped trade sanctions on Australia, clashed with India along their joint border, and effectively taken control of parts of the disputed South China Sea, where China and several Southeast Asian countries have overlapping territorial claims. Perhaps the most visible symbol of this newly assertive China on the world stage is its so-called “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy — named after two jingoistic action films released in 2015 and 2017.
How did China, which had virtually no diplomats and no international presence when the People’s Republic was established in 1949, get to this point? A new book by Peter Martin, China's Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy, provides many of the answers. As The Washington Post’s David Ignatius has written, “Peter Martin has decoded Chinese diplomacy in this fascinating and carefully researched study. He describes how China’s foreign service evolved with the country from humble revolutionary beginnings — and became a voice for a new, rising China whose self-confidence sometimes borders on arrogance. Martin’s book explains how China learned to talk like a global superpower.” Stephen J. Hadley, former U.S. National Security Advisor, writes “There’s never been a more important time to understand the motivations that drive Chinese diplomacy. Peter Martin’s superb book delves into the history of China’s diplomatic corps in a way that sheds new light on the nature of Chinese power today. It should become required reading for anyone who hopes to understand Chinese foreign policy.”
Join Asia Society Southern California for a fireside chat with Peter Martin as he discusses his important new book. ASSC Advisory Board member Dr. Ira Kasoff, himself a retired diplomat who lived and worked in China for many years, will moderate.
Peter Martin is Bloomberg's defense policy and intelligence reporter in Washington, D.C. and author of China's Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy. He was previously based in Beijing where he wrote extensively on escalating tensions in the US-China relationship and reported from China's border with North Korea and its far-western region of Xinjiang. His writing has been published by outlets including Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, and The Guardian. He holds degrees from the University of Oxford, Peking University, and the London School of Economics.
Dr. Ira Kasoff is a recognized expert on Asia. He has lived and worked extensively in the region — 10 years in mainland China (Beijing and Shanghai), eight years in Japan, eight in Hong Kong, and two in Taiwan. He is a member of the International Advisory Council of APCO Worldwide, a global public affairs consultancy.
From 2007-10 Kasoff served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia, where he oversaw Asia trade policy for the Department. From 1985 to 2007, Kasoff was a diplomat, serving in senior positions in the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, Osaka, and Hong Kong and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Earlier in his career Kasoff worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), as the Beijing representative for Fuqua World Trade Corporation, and at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Kasoff received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1973, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1982. He is the author of a book on Chinese intellectual history, published by the Cambridge University Press, and translated into Chinese and published by the Shanghai Classics Publishing House.