Podcast Miniseries: China in the Middle East
August 19, 2020
Over the course of six episodes, China in the Middle East takes a closer look at how China thinks about the Middle East and how the Middle East thinks about China. Jon Alterman, senior vice president, Zbigniew Brzezinski chair in global security and geostrategy, and director of the Middle East Program, hosts the miniseries. Jon talks to some of the preeminent experts in the world, who help us uncover everything you need to know about China’s economic, security, and foreign policies in the Middle East. The entire miniseries is available now on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
In the first episode of our new podcast miniseries, China in the Middle East, Jon Alterman gives an overview of Chinese policy in the Middle East and how the Middle East fits into China’s worldview. Jon also sits down with Doug Paal, Dean Cheng, Sulmaan Khan, and Evan Medeiros for their insight into China’s foreign policy decisions.
Jon Alterman and John W. Garver, The Vital Triangle: China, the United States, and the Middle East, CSIS, May 20, 2008.
Dean Cheng, “What defines the Chinese outward cyber-posture?” ISPI, October 26, 2018.
Sulmaan Khan, Haunted by Chaos: China's Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping, Harvard University Press, 2018.
Evan Medeiros, China’s International Behavior: Activism, Opportunism, and Diversification, RAND Corporation, 2009.
Douglas H. Paal, “Will Xi Jinping’s Charm Offensive Win Over China’s Wary Neighbors,” South China Morning Post, December 11, 2017.
China in the Middle East: Part Two
In the second episode of the podcast miniseries, China in the Middle East, Jon Alterman looks at China’s economic interests in the Middle East. Jon also sits down with Scott Kennedy, Doug Paal and Karen Young for their insights into the Belt and Road Initiative, changing export markets, and how economic interests influence regional security concerns.
Karen Young, “US policy faces blind spots on China, Middle East,” Al-Monitor, June 11, 2019.
Scott Kennedy, “Building China’s One Belt, One Road,” CSIS, April 3, 2015.
Douglas Paal, “The US and China Take Their Rivalry into More Dangerous Waters After Collapse of Trade Talks,” South China Morning Post, May 30, 2019.
China in the Middle East: Part Three
In the third episode of our podcast miniseries, China in the Middle East, Jon Alterman explores China’s security interests in the Middle East. Jon also talks to Dean Cheng, Evan Medeiros, and Andrew Scobell about China’s current security capacity in the region, and how China is using a blend of military, economic, and technological capacities to advance China’s interest in stability and security in the region.
Dean Cheng, Middle East Lessons for China: Internal Stability, The Heritage Foundation, March 21, 2011.
Evan S. Medeiros, The Changing Fundamentals of US-China Relations, The Washington Quarterly, October 11, 2019.
Andrew Scobell and Alireza Nader, China in the Middle East: The Wary Dragon, RAND Corporation, December 5, 2016.
China in the Middle East: Part Four
In the fourth episode of our podcast miniseries, China in the Middle East, Jon Alterman explores the Middle East’s perspectives on China with Mohammed Sudairi and Ariane Tabatabai. They talk about how the Middle East holds high hopes for China’s future role in the region and focus on Iran and the Gulf as examples. They also discuss the myth of Chinese workers speaking fluent Arabic and what Iranian storekeepers tell shoppers about bicycles made in China.
Mohammed Sudairi, The Communist Party of China’s United Front Work in the Gulf: The “Ethnic Minority Overseas Chinese” of Saudi Arabia as a Case Study, Dirasat, March 2018.
Mohammed Sudairi, China as the New Frontier for Islamic Da‘wah: The Emergence of a Saudi China-Oriented Missionary Impulse, Journal of Arabian Studies, September 2018.
Ariane Tabatabai, The Islamic Republic’s Foreign Policy at Forty, Atlantic Council, February 8, 2019.
Ariane Tabatabai, Don’t Expect a Thaw in Iran, Foreign Policy, December 10, 2019.
China in the Middle East: Part Five
In the fifth episode of our podcast miniseries, China in the Middle East, Jon Alterman looks at U.S.-Chinese cooperation and competition in the region with Robert Manning and Dawn Murphy. The episode also features conversations with Deborah Lehr and Nadège Rolland. They discuss how the United States is changing its traditional role in the Middle East, and what that means for China’s role in the region. Jon also discusses how Somali pirates have brought China closer to multilateral military cooperation.
Robert Manning, “The beginning of the end of a US role in the Middle East?” The Hill, October 15, 2019.
Robert Manning, “AI ripe for US-China cooperation,” Global Times, October 6, 2019.
Dawn Murphy, “China’s Approach to International Terrorism,” United States Institute of Peace, September 2017.
Dawn Murphy, hearing on “China and the Middle East,” testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, June 6, 2013.
China in the Middle East: Part Six
In the sixth and final episode of our podcast miniseries, China in the Middle East, Jon Alterman looks at the future of China in the Middle East with Nadège Rolland and Deborah Lehr. They discuss the community of common destiny, political warfare, and opportunities for private company growth in the region. Jon explains why countries roll out the literal red carpet for foreign heads of state, and what that symbolism means for foreign powers acting in the region.
Deborah Lehr, “Green Financing in Egypt,” Middle East Institute, February 11, 2020.
Deborah Lehr, “How the U.S.-China Tech Wars Will Impact the Developing World,” The Diplomat, February 23, 2019.
Nadège Rolland, “China’s Vision for a New World Order,” The National Bureau of Asian Research, January 27, 2020.
Nadège Rolland, “A Concise Guide to the Belt and Road Initiative,” The National Bureau of Asian Research, April 11, 2019.