Many Americans frame frictions with China not only as a set of conflicting interests to be managed, but as a decisive battle between Democracy and Autocracy, between Good and Evil. In this formulation, our interests are often equated with the maintenance of our power and our power is viewed in millenarian terms. This tendency is baffling not only to our adversaries, but to our allies as well. Why do we lean on normative language whenever we feel threatened? And how can we make convincing arguments about the threat of Chinese Communist Party governance in a complex, skeptical world that does not view the United States as a moral exemplar and or the last hope of Christendom?
Robert Daly is the Director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.
Before going to the Wilson Center in 2013, Robert Daly directed the University of Maryland China Initiative and served as American Director of the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He began work in U.S.-China relations as Cultural Exchanges Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in the late 80s and early 90s. After leaving the Foreign Service, he taught Chinese at Cornell, worked on television and theater projects in China as a host, actor, and writer, and helped produce the Chinese-language version of Sesame Street. He is a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and American Mandarin Society and a member of the Task Force on U.S. China Policy. Mr. Daly has testified before Congress and his views are featured regularly on NPR, C-Span, CNBC, and the Voice of America. He has interpreted for Chinese leaders, including Jiang Zemin, and American leaders, including Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger. He has lived in China for 12 years.
Robert Daly directs the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center. He has thirty-five years’ experience working on political, cultural, and academic aspects of U.S-China relations. His analysis is featured regularly on NPR, C-Span, CNBC, and the Voice of America. He has interpreted for Chinese leaders, including Jiang Zemin, and American leaders, including Jimmy Carter.