Good evening. It’s pretty rare that the publication of a book about war coincides with the outbreak of an actual war, but as our issue this week shows, two recent releases did just that. First, our cover story is an excerpt from former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd’s new book about how to avoid “sleepwalking” into a war between the U.S. and China, which he graciously updated to include his thoughts on Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. And second, we have an interview with Nicholas Mulder, author of a recent book on sanctions as a tool of war, in which he talks about what the sanctions used against Russia could mean for China. Elsewhere, we have infographics on China’s wild stock market ride; a reported piece on what comes next now that the DoJ’s China Initiative has ended; and an op-ed from Logan Wright on how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exposed a real split within China’s governing system. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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Xi’s Dangerous Decade
Even before the war in Ukraine, the 2020s were poised to be a decade of living dangerously. Now Russia’s invasion has underscored the crisis looming in the background: the changing balance of power between Beijing and Washington. In this excerpt from his new book, Kevin Rudd writes that, to avoid war and understand the foreign policy decisions coming out of Beijing, it is important to take stock of where Chinese politics stands right now, including the challenges facing Xi Jinping as a politician and how he might approach this most crucial decade.
The Big Picture: What’s Going on with China’s Stock Market?
China’s stock market has been on a wild ride this past month. While there are a number of factors at play, including Covid outbreaks, the market turbulence comes at a precarious moment for China politically. This week, The Wire’s infographics by Eliot Chen look at how investors are responding to the country’s economic challenges in a politically pivotal year.
A Q&A with Nicholas Mulder
Nicholas Mulder is an assistant professor at Cornell University, where he studies twentieth century European and international history. In January, he published The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War, which traces the emergence of sanctions as a potent instrument during the interwar period. In this week’s Q&A with Katrina Northrop, he talks about how to use sanctions as leverage, not just force; how to design and use sanctions policy optimally; and how actual decoupling from China could play out.
Illustration by Lauren Crow
The China Initiative is Over — Now What?
Although the Department of Justice recently ended the controversial program, which sought to prosecute Chinese espionage, its animating question still remains: How can the U.S. encourage and benefit from collaboration in areas like research and technology with China without risking its national security? Eliot Chen reports.
Russia Pits Political China Against Technocratic China
In the month since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Beijing’s foreign policy messages have been highly conflicted. Those mixed messages, argues Logan Wright, a partner at Rhodium Group, reflect not only the difficulty of reacting to Russian military setbacks on the ground, but a fierce and growing divide within the Chinese polity.
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