Haunted by Chaos: China’s Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping

Before the Chinese Communist Party took power, China lay broken. Today it is a force on the global stage, but remains haunted by the past. Sulmaan Wasif Khan chronicles the grand strategies pursued by China’s paramount leaders: Mao Zedong, who unified the country and kept it whole; Deng Xiaoping who dragged that country into the modern world; Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, cautious custodians of Deng’s legacy; and the powerful, insecure Xi Jinping. Despite the costs, China’s grand strategies have been largely successful. But success brings significant challenges—ones ever more pressing in the twenty-first century.

Sulmaan Wasif Khan teaches international history and Chinese foreign relations at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, where he also directs the Water and Oceans Program at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy. He is the author of Haunted by Chaos: China’s Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping (Harvard University Press: 2018) and Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy: China’s Cold War and the People of the Tibetan Borderlands (University of North Carolina Press: 2015).

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

Speakers

Moderator

  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Eric Arnesen

    Fellow
    Professor of History, The George Washington University

Speakers