“The China Dream”

“The China Dream”

Photo credit: Janet Donovan

The China Dream: It’s complicated.  With China dominating the news, we took a look back at Dr. Michael Pillsbury’s expertise.  The below article was first printed on June 3, 2015.  It’s a fascinating conversation on the China-USA relationship.

If you think that all house parties are the same, you obviously weren’t at the book party for Col. Liu Mingfu’s The China Dream at the Georgetown home of Susan and Dr. Michael Pillsbury. “Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s program is structured psychologically. We have a Peking Duck, lamb, salmon, and various other delicious things to eat that are going to be on the table in the dining room right after we finish asking questions of our guest of honor,” said Pillsbury.


Dr. Michael Pillsbury

“So we need to be brief, but also ask a lot of good questions,” he added suggesting that those who aspire to speak Mandarin should watch their tones because every word has a tone. “If you get the tone wrong, it’s very embarrassing. Some private personal parts of your body may be one tone off from like, your favorite sandwich. So you think you’re saying, ‘you know, I really love tuna sandwiches,’ when actually you’ve said something quite different, and this causes enormous laughter on the part of the Chinese.”  Hollywood on the Potomac didn’t ask any questions.


The book is so highly controversial, that even the best of scholars and policy wonks disagree on the intentions of Col. Mingfu that include Dr. Henry Kissinger. “Kissinger spent three pages talking about The China Dream. But unfortunately, as Col. Mingfu and I both know, Dr. Kissinger does not speak Chinese. As far as I know, that’s his only flaw,” explained Pillsbury.  “So he relied upon another person’s article to say that Colonel Mingfu had profit motives, was an extremist, was a sort of a hawk who was advocating war and conflict. The book is actually quite sophisticated. It is mainly about American grand strategy, and what kind of a country America is, and in that environment what China should do over the next thirty or forty years.”


Prof. Andy Oros and Atlantic Media’s Steve Clemons

Pillsbury is a policy wonk, but it’s his life’s journey that’s straight out of James Bond. Hollywood on the Potomac recently interviewed him at the Kalorama home of Juleanna Glover and Christopher Reiter: “Dr. Michael Pillsbury, as he is known in literary circles, was the guest of honor in Washington, DC to celebrate the publication of his new book The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower. Off hand that doesn’t sound very sexy, but If you go to Amazon you might be surprised. Yesterday it was number 5 on the overall best seller list, edging out 50 Shades of Gray which is number six.  Pillsbury is one of the leading experts on China and in his book he reveals the hidden strategy fueling China’s rise and how Americans have been seduced into helping China overtake the US as the world’s leading superpower. His intellectual love affair with all things Chinese began at an early age and at a time when most young students would not have been that attracted to the subject matter.  But then again, he went to Stanford which has churned out alumni that includes the founders of Google and Yahoo, a bunch of billionaires, a cluster of astronauts and lots of other forward thinkers.”  He also speaks Mandarin – the right way we might add.


“My wife Susan and I have put on a lot of parties for Chinese delegations at our house in Georgetown. We have a lot of Chinese art, Tong Dynasty and Song Dynasty sculptures.” Speaking of Georgetown we come full circle back to the Bond Factor. Michael Pillsbury was highlighted on the January cover of Washington Life Magazine which read: ‘Michael Pillsbury deconstructs the Georgetown Set.’ “I wrote a book review on Gregg Herken’s book with a map on where CIA and State Department people lived during the Cold War in Georgetown.”  As a Georgetowner myself who lives just a few blocks away from the Pillsburys, I’m beginning to wonder: “Who really owns my mortgage?”  For the straight out of Bond interview click here.

Pillsbury is a Senior Fellow and Director for Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute and is heading to China in several weeks to discuss US-China policy.  “Three weeks from now, we’ll be in Beijing- asking the various think tanks to help Hudson understand Chinese strategy by providing books and articles about grand strategy, the subject as a whole, including Colonel Liu’s National Defense University.”

“China and America, to avoid war, need a new model, a new style of great power relations. Not the old stuff.”  Col. Liu Mingfu


And yes, we got our Peking Duck!  And the salmon, and the lamb……


“The China Dream”