Wednesday, October 14, 2020 | 4:00 PM EDT - 5:00 PM EDT

Zoom Webinar | David Lampton

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the One Belt One Road policy, later known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global development strategy involving infrastructure projects and associated financing around the world. While the Chinese government frames the plan as one promoting transnational connectivity, critics see it as part of a strategy to achieve global dominance.

Rivers of Iron examines one aspect of the BRI: China’s effort to create an intercountry railway system connecting China and its seven Southeast Asian neighbors (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). The book explores the political strengths and weaknesses of the plan, as well as the capacity of the countries involved to resist, shape, and perhaps take advantage of China’s actions. The authors seek to explain how domestic politics in the eight Asian nations shape their varying responses and behaviors. How does China wield power using infrastructure? Do smaller states have agency? How should we understand the role of infrastructure in broader development? Does industrial policy work? How should other global powers respond?

The National Committee held a virtual program on October 14, 2020 with Professor David M. Lampton.

David M. Lampton

David M. Lampton is a senior research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Foreign Policy Institute. Immediately prior to taking up his current post, he was Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center from 2019 to 2020, and Hyman Professor and Director of China Studies at SAIS for more than two decades prior to that. Having started his academic career at The Ohio State University, Dr. Lampton is former chairman of the The Asia Foundation, former president and current board member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and former dean of faculty at SAIS.

Among many works, academic and popular, Dr. Lampton is author of: Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing U.S.-China Relations, 1989-2000 (University of California Press, 2001); The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money, and Minds (University of California Press, 2008); Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping, initially published in January 2014 by University of California Press and reissued in a second edition with a new preface in 2019); and, The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy (editor, Stanford University Press, 2001). His most recent book (with Selina Ho and Cheng-Chwee Kuik) is, Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power in Southeast Asia (University of California Press, 2020).

Professor Lampton received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in political science where, as an undergraduate student, he was a firefighter. Dr. Lampton has an honorary doctorate from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies. He served for many years on the board of trustees of Colorado College and was in the U.S. Army Reserve in the enlisted and commissioned ranks.