Speaker: Zachary Burdette, Research Fellow, International Security Program

Growing tensions with China have raised concerns about how the United States should manage the security implications of the U.S.-China trade relationship. The Trump administration repeatedly floated the idea of "decoupling" the two economies, and the Biden administration has instead called for "de-risking" the relationship. But what exactly decoupling and de-risking mean — and what constitutes the broader range of strategic options available — remains unclear.

This seminar draws on a dissertation project that develops a typology of strategies for how states manage their trade relationships with their security competitors, offers a theory to explain how decisionmakers choose from the menu of strategic options, and uses archival evidence to test this theory and competing explanations against the historical record. In particular, the seminar will focus on how different threat perceptions and economic incentives contributed to variation in U.S. and British strategies toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It will also highlight the implications for contemporary U.S.-China competition.

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

For more information, email the International Security Program Assistant at susan_lynch@harvard.edu.