The Pacific Century

Hoover Institution

The 21st century may be the Pacific Century, and China appears poised to become America’s greatest rival for global power and influence. Hosts John Yoo and Michael Auslin broadly address developments in China and Asia. They discuss the latest politics, economics, law, and cultural news, with a focus on US policy in the region.

All Episodes

Misha talks with Professor John Mearsheimer about the inevitable clash between America and China, and why engagement with China was the biggest strategic blunder in recent history.

Dec 1

51 min 8 sec

Misha talks with General David Berger, Commandant of the US Marines Corps on how the Marines are preparing to face China, working with allies, and what the Corps will look like in the future to maintain its edge in the Pacific.

Nov 18

32 min 34 sec

Misha and John talk with Columbia professor Andrew Nathan on the domestic drivers of China’s foreign policy, Xi Jinping’s leadership, Taiwan, human rights, and CCP politics.

Nov 12

41 min 21 sec

Misha talks with Bonnie Glaser, head of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund about how Beijing uses its foreign and security policy to displace the US, weaken Taiwan, and undermine global institutions.

Nov 2

40 min 36 sec

Misha and John are joined by Alexander Downer, Australia’s longest serving foreign minister and former high commissioner to Great Britain, to discuss Beijing’s economic war against Australia, the new AUKUS agreement, how AUKUS differs from the Quad, why Australia has some of the world’s most stringent COVID policies, and more.

Oct 25

32 min 11 sec

Misha and John talk with George Washington University's David Shambaugh, about his new book From Mao to Now, a history of each of China's leaders. He ranks them in terms of effectiveness, and also ranks the US presidents who dealt with them.  In between, he talks about the role of the Chinese Communist Party and the Leninist party-state.

Oct 15

50 min 52 sec

Misha talks with Adrian Wooldridge, political editor of The Economist, about his new book, The Aristocracy of Talent.  They discuss the history of meritocracy in China, and look at how meritocracy works and doesn’t work today, in China, Singapore, Japan, and the West. Plus, he names his favorite “meritocracy movie”!

Oct 4

38 min 33 sec

Misha talks with Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN), former US Ambassador to Japan, about Japan’s new leader, the US-Japan alliance, China, Taiwan, whether the US should rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and what the Biden Administrations needs to do to keep peace in the Pacific.  And, he reveals his favorite Japanese restaurant!

Sep 30

27 min 36 sec

Misha and John are joined by Kenneth Juster, US ambassador to India from 2017-2021. Juster explains how Scottie Pippen refused to play him in horse after he showed off his basketball skills on the grounds of the US Embassy in New Delhi.  Ken then discusses the effect of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan on India and the region, the foundations for a stronger US-India relationship, and meeting with India's leaders and people.

Sep 3

34 min 40 sec

Misha and John are joined by Vinnie Aggarwal, professor of political science and senior faculty fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Vinnie shares his expertise on the US-China rivalry, and the prospects in the Indo-Pacific region in the areas of international trade, finance, and industrial policy.

Aug 24

47 min 28 sec

Misha and John are joined by essayist and blogger Tanner Greer of the Scholar’s Stage to discuss whether Taiwan can actually defend itself and what Americans get wrong about China.

Aug 12

55 min 15 sec

Is Kim Jong-un dying?  Why has he allowed the naming of a deputy?  Will the Biden administration ignore the Korean peninsula?  What role is Xi Jinping playing?  Misha and John are joined by eminent North Korea expert Andrei Lankov, of Seoul’s Kookmin University.

Jul 29

41 min 19 sec

Long-time China investor Dan Rosen joins John and Misha to talk about the prospects for the Chinese economy, the prospects for economic reform, the real threat to China’s economic future, and the question of whether the West was right to invest politically and economically in China. 

Jun 4

50 min 53 sec

Critics of the US say that Washington is forcing a new Cold War with the PRC.  But liberal nations around the world are pushing back on Beijing’s aggressive actions, separately from the US.  From the UK to Japan, Australia, and India, democratic states are deciding that the PRC threatens their interests.  John and Misha talk about what it’s not about (Washington, London, or Tokyo), but about Beijing.

May 19

37 min 7 sec

Misha and John are joined by Eunice Yoon, the Beijing bureau chief for CNBC.  They discuss China’s view of Biden and the US, whether the Chinese economy is as strong as touted, Xi Jinping, Belt and Road, and the AI race.  Eunice also talks about how she wound up in Beijing, whether she’s surveilled by the police, and why she’s such a fan of cars.

May 5

35 min 18 sec

Misha and John are joined by Admiral Phil Davidson, Commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, for his last public interview before retiring from the Navy.  Adm. Davidson discusses what it’s like to run the world’s largest military command, the weapons systems he’d like to have, China’s growing challenge, the threat of Chinese and North Korean nuclear weapons, and working with allies.

Apr 28

51 min 40 sec

Misha and John are joined by Robin Harding, Tokyo bureau chief for the Financial Times. They discuss the summit between President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Suga, their plans to deepen the US-Japan alliance, the threat from China, cooperation on 5G, and the future of Japanese politics.

Apr 20

35 min 7 sec

Misha and John are joined by special co-host Mike Gallagher to talk with their new Hoover colleague, Matt Pottinger, former Deputy National Security Advisor.  Matt discusses Chinese pressure on western businesses, the role of Congress in dealing with Chinese investment policies, how to think about the military competition, and how he got involved in Chinese studies.

Mar 31

38 min 45 sec

Misha is joined by Tom Tugendhat MP, Oxford’s Rana Mitter, and Cindy Yu, of The Spectator, to talk about the UK’s new Integrated Review and its focus on China and the Indo-Pacific.  They discuss London’s focus on expanding Britain’s presence in Asia, how London will deal with China, the role of US-UK cooperation in Asia under the Biden Administration, and how Britain will work with Asian partners like Australia, Japan, and India. 

Mar 25

1 hr 4 min

John and Misha are joined by Eric Schmidt, former Chairman and CEO of Google/Alphabet and chairman of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Eric discusses the ways in which the US can win the tech competition with China, why AI is the crucial technology of the future, the proper role of government policy, the divide between Washington and Silicon Valley, where the US fell short in 5G, building talent at home, and how to work with techno-democracies.

Mar 18

48 min 13 sec

John and Misha are joined by Tom Tugendhat MP, from London, for a discussion with Michele Flournoy, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Obama Administration, on the China challenge, whether the US is maintaining its edge in the Pacific, the role of allies, the impact of new technologies, and the threat of war.

Mar 3

32 min 9 sec

Taking a short break from Asia, Misha and John welcome back their friend and colleague H.R. McMaster, to remember his pivotal role in the Battle of 73 Easting in the Iraq War, on February 26, 1991—the last great tank battle of the 20th century.

Feb 25

34 min 6 sec

Misha hosts the Royal Navy’s White Ensign, for a talk with Britain’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin. They discuss why the Royal Navy is returning to the Asia-Pacific, the upcoming deployment of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth to the South China Sea, the China challenge, and cooperation with the US Navy, Royal Australian Navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Feb 21

32 min 59 sec

Misha and John travel to Hong Kong to talk with Dominic Ziegler, longtime Asia correspondent for The Economist and the author of the paper’s “Banyan” column. They discuss whether there will be blood in Burma after the military coup last week, then they switch to talking about new Chinese threats to the South China Sea, what Asia fears about Joe Biden’s policies, and finally, the tragedy of Hong Kong under PRC rule.

Feb 12

41 min 52 sec

Misha and John are joined by their Hoover colleague and director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, Peter Berkowitz, to discuss his major report on China.  Inspired by George Kennan’s famous Long Telegram, Peter discusses the sources of Chinese conduct and the challenge to US and global interests

Jan 19

43 min 31 sec

This week, John and Misha talk with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the Trump Administration’s China policy.  What were their successes?  What more did he wish he could have done?  Most importantly, where does America go from here?  After visiting with the Secretary, Misha and John talk about China’s latest repression in Hong Kong, about threats to Taiwan, and about whether the US intelligence community is accurately analyzing China.

Jan 12

43 min 13 sec

This week, John returns as Pacific Century visits London, to talk with Tom Tugendhat MP.  Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the House of Commons and head of the China Research Group, Tom discusses the China Research Group’s new report on dealing with a more assertive Chinese Communist Party.  He explains how the UK’s China policy has evolved over the past several years, including its turnaround on Huawei.  He also looks ahead at how London might work with the new Biden administration.

Dec 2020

39 min 26 sec

This week, Pacific Century talks to General Kenneth Wilsbach, the commander of Pacific Air Forces. General Wilsbach talks about the US Air Force’s role at the tip of the spear in the Indo-Pacific. A fighter pilot who has flown America’s most advanced jets, General Wilsbach discusses the Chinese air threat, North Korea’s nukes, the crucial alliance partners of the US, and the new technologies that will change aerial warfare.

Nov 2020

49 min 19 sec

China expert and CSIS China Chair Jude Blanchette joins the Pacific Century to lay bare the political workings of the CCP.  Jude explains what the recent Fifth Plenum was and why it’s important for China’s long-term planning.  Jude also discusses the CCP’s state capitalism policy and dissects both the strengths and weaknesses of the Leninist state in a new era of competition with the United States.

Oct 2020

45 min 16 sec

Misha and John welcome an American hero to Pacific Century. Former Secretary of State and current Hoover Distinguished Fellow George Shultz discusses how China’s shrinking labor force will reduce productivity and economic growth. He also gives insights into his dealings with the Chinese during the Reagan Administration. Then, John and Misha discuss the rebirth of the “Quad” among the US, Japan, Australia, and India, and whether the Europeans can play any role in the Indo-Pacific.

Oct 2020

42 min 25 sec

Misha and John discuss John’s new book, Defender-in-Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power (St. Martin’s Press 2020). They discuss whether a Trump Doctrine exists and if so, what its core tenants are concerning the US and world power. Misha and John argue over whether Trump represents a sharp break in US foreign policy as well as what to expect concerning US relations with China in the coming years. Will the US/China relationship be the start of a new Cold War, a bump in the road, or something different?

Sep 2020

44 min 28 sec

Just two days after Pacific Century interviewed Japan’s Defense Minister, Misha returns solo for breaking news: Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, unexpectedly resigned.  Misha discusses Abe’s legacy, how he changed Japan, and what his resignation means for Japan, Asia, and the United States.

Aug 2020

25 min 14 sec

Misha gets a new sound system just in time for John and him to welcome Taro Kono, Japan’s Defense Minister. Minister Kono, who also served as Japan’s Foreign Minister, talks about the ways in which the Japanese military has modernized over the past decade, and discusses the worsening threats from China and North Korea. Minister Kono also explains the role of Japan’s alliances with the US and other nations, including Australia and India, which are a crucial part of Tokyo’s defense strategy.

Aug 2020

31 min 13 sec

John and Misha welcome their colleague, Larry Diamond, one of the world’s preeminent scholars of democracy, to talk about the global scope of the China challenge.  Larry discusses the strategy of the CCP and its comprehensive targeting of the West’s political, academic, cultural, and media cultures to both promote Beijing’s ambitions and stifle criticism.  Larry also discusses the work he spearheads at Hoover on China’s influence campaigns, “sharp power,” and Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific.

Aug 2020

37 min 49 sec

With John off promoting his new book, Misha flies solo to interview retired Air Force general and current Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell.  Misha and the Assistant Secretary talk about the Trump Administration’s policy of reciprocity towards Beijing, and how that led to the closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston. They also discuss response to the new national security law in Hong Kong, the 5G race, Beijing’s propaganda campaigns, and in the South China Sea.

Jul 2020

35 min 26 sec

John and Misha welcome Julian Ku to discuss China and law.  Julian is the Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law and associate dean at Hofstra Law School and his recent work focuses on China’s relationship with international law.  He debates China’s claims to the South China Seas in light of the U.S. State Department’s new announcement opposing Beijing’s claims, the scope of China’s objectives in Hong Kong, and the differences between China’s business law and criminal law.  

Jul 2020

46 min 58 sec

John and Misha interview Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on how Taiwan beat COVID-19 and gave aid to the world, on Taiwan’s increasingly close partnership with the US and its desire to increase its global role, and how China’s new national security law in Hong Kong is the latest in a pattern of threats to stability in Asia.

Jul 2020

30 min 36 sec

The podcast snares its hardest-to-get guest: host Misha Auslin!  John Yoo interviews Misha on his new book, Asia’s New Geopolitics: Essays on Reshaping the Indo-Pacific, just out from Hoover Institution Press. John and Misha discuss Misha’s striking view comparing the Pacific to the Mediterranean, the sources of Chinese and Japanese foreign policy, and how a future historian might view a US-China military conflict. 

Jun 2020

47 min 27 sec

Michael Auslin and John Yoo welcome Nadege Rolland to the podcast. After working as a China analyst for the French Government for two decades, Rolland joined the National Bureau of Asian Research as a senior fellow.  Her new report, “China’s Vision for a New World Order” discusses how the Chinese Communist Party is using “discourse power” to delegitimize liberal ideas and values and reshape global norms. Beijing is then challenging Western and American ideas of what the global order should look like, in order to create its own hegemony. Rolland sees this new hegemony as partial, loose, and malleable, stretching across the globe, with a particular focus on the Global South. 

Jun 2020

48 min 28 sec

Michael Auslin and John Yoo welcome Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) to the podcast. Gallagher joined the Marine Corps after graduating from college and deployed to Iraq twice.  A recipient of advanced degrees in intelligence and international relations, Gallagher served as a staffer on the foreign relations committee, an advisor to Governor Scott Walker, and won election to Wisconsin’s eighth district in 2016. A member of a new congressional task force on China, Gallagher shares his thoughts on America’s bipartisan change in policy toward China, Beijing's new aggressiveness abroad, and what the U.S. can do to respond to Hong Kong, the South China Seas, and the coronavirus outbreak.

Jun 2020

40 min 30 sec

Recorded May 28, 2020 Misha and John welcome a Bill Bishop, author of the widely-read Sinocism Newsletter, called by some “the presidential daily brief for China hands.” Bishop is an entrepreneur and former media executive with more than a decade living in and decoding China. Misha and John ask him about the importance of the recent National People’s Congress meeting in Beijing and its decision to impose a national security law on Hong Kong. They end by discussing options for the United States and its allies in response to China’s tightening of control over Hong Kong.

May 2020

38 min 58 sec

Misha and John welcome a special guest, Anastasia Lin. Lin grew up in China, emigrated to Canada at the age of 13, and won the Miss World Canada title in 2015. She won international attention when Beijing barred her from participating in the world pageant because of her outspoken advocacy for human rights in China. She shares her experience growing up in China, how to change the increasing authoritarianism there, and why she became such a fierce critic of Beijing. Did you like the show? You can rate, review, subscribe, and download the podcast on the following platforms: Podbean | Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify | TuneIn | Stitcher| RSS

May 2020

44 min 38 sec

Misha and John try to hold a virus-free discussion. They first address the possible consequences of the rumored death or incapacitation of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Next they discuss South Korea’s election, with the landslide victory of the liberal ruling party. Misha and John then argue over whether China benefits from these developments and whether it is taking advantage of the pandemic crisis to bolster its position in Hong Kong and the region. Did you like the show? You can rate, review, subscribe, and download the podcast on the following platforms: Podbean | Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify | TuneIn | Stitcher| RSS

Apr 2020

43 min 55 sec

Misha and John welcome to the podcast James Kraska, Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Maritime Law at the Naval War College, to discuss ways in which international law may hold China responsible for allowing the coronavirus pandemic to spread. Misha then discusses his recent article arguing that the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to blame the world for the pandemic illustrates the beginning of a new Cold War between the U.S. and China. Did you like the show? You can rate, review, subscribe, and download the podcast on the following platforms: Podbean | Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify | TuneIn | Stitcher| RSS

Mar 2020

51 min 50 sec

Misha and John discuss whether the coronavirus pandemic will help or harm China’s standing in the world.  They begin by welcoming Misha’s new book, Asia’s New Politics: Essays on Reshaping the Into-Pacific, out this May from Hoover Institution Press.  They turn to the lessons from the different responses to the pandemic in China, East Asia, Europe, and the United States.  They argue over whether China’s public relations campaign to defend itself will succeed, whether China’s relative power and influence in the world will increase or decrease because of its public health failures, and what policies we should adopt toward China now. Did you like the show? You can rate, review, subscribe, and download the podcast on the following platforms: Podbean | Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify | TuneIn | Stitcher| RSS

Mar 2020

48 min 18 sec

Misha and John mark the first anniversary of the podcast by focusing on the continuing coronavirus controversy. They discuss whether the Chinese government’s response to the epidemic will become the rare event that challenges the legitimacy of the Xi regime. They ask if Beijing’s clumsy effort will hasten an international realignment away from China. They conclude with comparisons between the US and Chinese public health systems.

Mar 2020

36 min 28 sec

Misha and John return for their first show in the year of the rat. They discuss the coronavirus epidemic sweeping China, and they observe that Beijing's ineffective response is adding to the growing distrust of the government among average Chinese. They next address Tsai Ing-wen’s landslide victory in the Taiwan 2020 presidential election. Misha and John close with their thoughts on the phase I US-China trade deal and likely next steps in the economic relationship between the world’s two largest economies. Did you like the show? You can rate, review, subscribe, and download the podcast on the following platforms: Podbean | Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify | TuneIn | Stitcher| RSS

Jan 2020

40 min 52 sec

Misha and John return after an extended sabbatical. They discuss the burning issue in Asia — the democracy protests in Hong Kong — with Jillian Melchior of the Wall Street Journal editorial page. After playing out the scenarios for how the Hong Kong protests end, Misha and John take up Misha’s recent article on the collapse of pork production in China and the political pressure of rising food prices on the Xi regime. Did you like the show? You can rate, review, subscribe, and download the podcast on the following platforms: Podbean | Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify | RSS

Nov 2019

38 min 6 sec

Xi Jinping is usually touted as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. How has he pulled power into his hands, and is there a reaction to his strength? Richard McGregor discusses this, as well as looks back at his popular book The Party, ten years after its publication. Meanwhile, Japan and South Korea are falling into a trade war; is it about economics or the poor political relations between the two? How low will relations between America's two closest allies sink? Did you like the show? You can rate, review, subscribe, and download the podcast on the following platforms: Podbean | Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify | RSS

Aug 2019

1 hr 9 min

Hoover Institution fellows Misha Auslin and John Yoo interview John Pomfret, the former Washington Post and Associated Press reporter in China.  Pomfret discusses his response to an open letter in the Washington Post, signed by dozens of leading US foreign policy and China scholars, criticizing the Trump administration for making China “an enemy.”  He explains “why the United States doesn’t need to return to a gentler China policy." Did you like the show? You can rate, review, subscribe, and download the podcast on the following platforms: Podbean | Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify | RSS

Jul 2019

50 min 33 sec