Increasingly in the West, China is being characterized as a threat to the liberal international order, one that must be overcome through economic, political, technological, and even military means. For those who believe that the policies of the Chinese Communist Party pose a threat to free and open societies, the U.S. and like-minded nations must band together to preserve a rules-based international order. For others, this approach spells disaster; it ignores the history and dynamics propelling China’s rise to superpower status. Rather than threatening the post-war order, China is its best, and maybe only, guarantor in an era of declining U.S. leadership, increased regional instability, and slowing global growth.
The twenty-fourth semi-annual Munk Debate, held on May 9, 2019, pits former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs H. R. McMaster and director for Chinese strategy at the D.C.-based Hudson Institute think tank Michael Pillsbury against former President of the United Nations Security Council Kishore Mahbubani and president of one of China’s top independent think tanks, the Center for China Globalization, Huiyao Wang to debate the threat of China to the liberal international order.
H. R. MCMASTER was Assistant to the American President for National Security Affairs and is currently a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He holds a Ph.D. in military history, was called one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine, and authored the bestselling book Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam.
MICHAEL PILLSBURY is the Director of the Centre on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. Hailed as a leading authority on China, Pillsbury is a key advisor to the U.S. government on relations with China. He holds a doctorate from Columbia University, has held senior roles at the U.N. and RAND Corporation, and is the author of The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI is Senior Advisor and Public Policy Professor at the National University of Singapore. As a senior diplomat for Singapore, he has held postings in Cambodia, Malaysia, the U.S., and at the U.N, where he served as President of the Security Council. Mahbubani has authored seven books, including Can Asians Think: Understanding the Divide Between East and West.
HUIYAO WANG is the founder and president of one of China’s leading independent think tanks, the Centre for China Globalization. He holds a Ph.D. in international business and management from Western University and the University of Manchester and was a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. He has published and edited extensively, and was named one of the most influential people in 2018 by Newsweek in China.