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U.S.-China: Searching for Common Ground

U.S.-China: Searching for Common Ground

By David Skidmore and Kyle Munson
The transition between administrations in Washington, D.C., and the global effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic provide the opportunity to reassess U.S.-China relations and whether our two nations might reclaim common ground for building a more productive partnership. This podcast—a public extension of Drake University Professor David Skidmore’s Spring 2021 course on U.S.-China relations—will gather insights from diplomats, scholars, journalists, businesspeople, and others involved in the affairs of both nations. We’ll analyze sources of conflict as well as opportunities for cooperation.
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Business: Kit Spangler

U.S.-China: Searching for Common Ground

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The Future: Student Voices
The topic: As a final wrap-up episode we look back at everything we've heard throughout the series and what the collective wisdom suggests for the future of U.S.-China relations. Our guests: It's time to give the students more of a voice in this discussion. What have they remembered most from all our conversations with U.S.-China watchers? What are their hopes and fears for this crucial bilateral relationship? The 18 students of Professor David Skidmore's class weigh in with a variety of heartfelt insight. The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a bo
46:49
May 9, 2021
Podcasting: Matt Sheehan and Holly He
The topic: Producing any podcast series is a journey featuring plenty of twists and turns. And producing a series on U.S.-China relations can be especially challenging considering such a vast intertwined history to be addressed, on top of all the modern divergent views, outright disputes, and key players. As we near the end of our own podcast series, “Searching for Common Ground,” Professor David Skidmore and I thought it made sense to compare notes with another duo who recently published their own U.S.-China podcast just over a year ago. Our guests: Matt Sheehan and Holly He are the team behind “Heartland Mainland: The Iowa China Podcast,” a 2020 production of the Chicago-based Paulson Institute’s think tank, MacroPolo. Matt is a nonresident fellow at MacroPolo who has served as a foreign correspondent in China and previously lived on the mainland for more than five years. He researches and writes on the Sino-U.S. technology relationship and ties between California and China. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, studied political science at Stanford, and in 2018 was shortlisted for the Young China Watcher of the Year Award. In 2019 he published “The Transpacific Experiment,” a book exploring the pre-pandemic ties and tensions between Silicon Valley and China. Holly is a research associate at MacroPolo, where she also works in web analytics and multimedia production. She previously worked as a multimedia fellow for the Texas Tribune, scripted and edited documentaries for CNN International, and worked with the Kindling Group in Chicago. She graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Full episode transcript: https://david-skidmore.medium.com/kyle-munson-and-david-skidmore-interview-with-matt-sheehan-and-holly-he-961eb903d708. The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member w
53:52
April 15, 2021
Business: Kit Spangler
The topic: Often in this podcast series we focus on the big picture: Taiwan’s relationship to the Mainland, the contrasting strategies of U.S. presidents in tackling trade, or the massive influence of technological expansion. But what about the details of playing out international relations on the ground in China, as a U.S. businessperson with decades of experience? What about a frontline view of the economic and cultural forces shaping the bilateral relationship while simultaneously reflecting its larger themes? What cues can we take from this history of everyday business and other interaction between our two countries that may identify common ground or a productive path forward despite a widening political divide? Our guest: Business and travel between the U.S. and China has been Kit Spangler’s life. He’s a man of two languages and cultures who only this year retired from a career focused on the bilateral relationship. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, most recently he worked as China strategy and business development director for Diamond V, a company (and Cargill subsidiary) producing animal feed additives to improve livestock health and nutrition. He previously worked in a series of roles that focused on the agricultural trade—specifically dairy and livestock. He began his journey as an Iowa farmer who studied Chinese language and culture to expand his career options in the wake of the 1980s farm crisis. He has traveled throughout much of China and brings to this conversation a wealth of firsthand anecdotes about U.S.-China business relationships, agriculture, food security, trade, and citizen diplomacy. Full episode transcript: https://david-skidmore.medium.com/fri-4-9-3-34pm-40-32-b15e8668e9a7. The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit
41:53
April 9, 2021
Biden and the pandemic: Thomas Wright of Brookings
The topic: How will--and should--the Biden administration go about fashioning its policies across the range of issues that make up U.S.-China relations? Should we expect major shifts compared to the approach of the Trump presidency? What can we glean from the views and backgrounds of Biden's key advisers? How might domestic politics impact policy-making toward China? Just what sort of challenge does China present to the U.S. and our allies?  Our guest: Thomas Wright is the director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. He's also a contributing writer for the Atlantic and a nonresident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. He's the author of "All Measures Short of War: The Contest for the 21st Century and the Future of American Power," which was published by Yale University Press in May 2017. His second book, "Aftershocks: Pandemic Politics and the End of the Old International Order," co-authored with Colin Kahl, will be published in 2021 by St. Martin's Press. Wright also works on U.S.l foreign policy, great power competition, the European Union, Brexit, and economic interdependence. Full episode transcript: https://david-skidmore.medium.com/kyle-munson-and-david-skidmore-interview-with-thomas-wright-3e991bd67de7. The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
48:29
March 20, 2021
Citizen diplomacy: Kim Heidemann
The topic: U.S.-China relations rest upon more than the formalized chess moves of presidents and diplomats. Far greater in scope and depth are the people-to-people exchanges in business, education, arts and culture, journalism, nonprofits, tourism, and so much more. These societal ties provide ballast for U.S.-China relations even when the political situation is at its most tense. Iowa's people-to-people connections with China are particularly strong and extend back nearly half a century, continuing a tradition in which Iowa also helped to play a moderating force with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. How have these connections been built and sustained over time? What forms do they take? How do Iowans and their Chinese counterparts benefit from such ties?  Our guest: Kim Heidemann is an international programming consultant, adjunct instructor at Des Moines Area Community College, staff member with the Republic of Kosovo Consulate in Des Moines, and an expert administrator in citizen diplomacy. During her 15 years with Iowa Sister States, she traveled extensively and helped to shape the grassroots ties between Iowa and several partner nations, including China's Hebei province, as "old friend" Xi Jinping returned to visit in 2012, triggering a heightened phase of trade and cultural exchange between the two nations. Full episode transcript: https://david-skidmore.medium.com/kyle-munson-and-david-skidmore-interview-with-kim-heidemann-bfefce55cca5. The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
43:38
March 10, 2021
Tech: Professor Tom Lairson of Rollins College
The topic: Huawei, ZTE, TikTok, WeChat: The list of Chinese high-tech companies that have been characterized as threats to American national security continues to grow. But how real are such purported threats? And are efforts to digitally "decouple" from China realistic? Are there alternative ways to address security concerns?  Our guest: Tom Lairson is emeritus professor of political science and international business at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Tom received his doctorate in political science and a bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky. He was also the first Ford Foundation professor of international relations at the Institute for International Relations in Hanoi, Vietnam, and founder of the Rollins in Shanghai program. Full background on this episode: https://medium.com/p/b68039dab91. The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
43:09
March 2, 2021
Agriculture: Bill Niebur, crop scientist
The topic: In the wake of the Trump-era trade war and COVID-19 pandemic, what will become of the heavy ag trade between the world's two superpowers? What are the primary food security concerns for each nation? How do other large international markets such as Brazil affect the relationship? How might the post-pandemic marketplace reshape the dynamic? Is it still possible for agriculture to act as a moderating force on the political relationship between the two nations? Our guest: Bill Niebur, president and chief operating officer of Hi Fidelity Genetics in Des Moines, is a seed and crop scientist and consultant who has spent decades working in research and development in both the U.S. and China, most of that time with DuPont and DuPont Pioneer. He began his career as a corn geneticist in Illinois before extensive work in both Europe and Asia. In 2015 he was named one of 50 people "Shaping the Future of the U.S.-China Relationship" in the Pacific Power Index. Complete episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/w8rvnrr5. The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
46:58
February 24, 2021
Security: Professor Zhu Feng of Nanjing University
The topic: As China’s military modernization shifts the balance of power in East Asia, the naval forces of the U.S. and China find themselves facing off in tense encounters across the maritime routes off China’s coastline. How can the dangers of military conflict and escalation be controlled as disputes related to the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and Taiwan play themselves out? What are the roles to be played by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other coalitions? Can a security architecture be constructed that reconciles the core interests of all players? Our guest: Professor Zhu Feng is Executive Director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea, Nanjing University. He writes extensively on regional security in East Asia and China-U.S. military and diplomatic relations. He is co-author of "America, China and the Struggle for World Order." Complete episode transcript: tinyurl.com/3v5gl9cm.  The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
49:41
February 15, 2021
Politics: Professor Ren Junfeng of Fudan University
The topic: How does American politics appear from the perspective of a Chinese scholar? How do Chinese observers process the U.S. electoral system through the prism of China’s own historical and contemporary political development? What are the most important things that Americans and Chinese people misunderstand about politics in the other country? Our guest: Ren Junfeng is a professor of political science at Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Professor Ren specializes in Western political thought and American political history. He has served as visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong, St. Anthony’s College, and Oxford University in England, and as a visiting Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University. He visited Iowa to observe the lead-up to the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses. A Beijing publication recently featured his reflections upon that experience.  Complete episode transcript: tinyurl.com/1tebagrj.  The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
43:22
February 15, 2021
Journalism: Austin Ramzy of The New York Times
The topic: Journalists serve as critical intermediaries between American and Chinese societies, reporting and interpreting events for audiences in both countries. Yet China has become an increasingly difficult place for American journalists as Chinese authorities have denied visas, placed restrictions on activities, and leveled criticism at Western media coverage of China. In turn, Chinese journalists have been forced to leave the United States. How do American journalists on the China beat cope with such challenges? How can outsiders gain information about such charged stories as the expanding detention camps in Xinjiang? Our guest: Austin Ramzy is a Hong Kong-based reporter for The New York Times, focusing on coverage of the city as well as regional and breaking news. He previously covered major events around Asia from Taipei and Beijing. He has covered the 2015 election in Myanmar, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and mass protest movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan, where he was based in 2014. Previously, Austin reported for Time magazine (2003-2013) from both Hong Kong and Beijing. Major assignments includes the Beijing Olympics, the Wenchuan earthquake, and China’s response to the 2007-08 financial crisis.  Complete episode transcript: tinyurl.com/5yc6p6z6. The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
39:06
February 15, 2021
Superpower rivalry: Professor Wu Xinbo of Fudan University
The topic: There's little question that China’s rising power poses new challenges for American foreign policy-makers. But to what purposes does China intend to put its newfound economic and military capabilities? Do Chinese leaders seek to overturn the basic rules and institutions of the existing international order? Do they wish to challenge the global leadership of the United States? A Chinese scholar offers surprising answers. Our guest: Wu Xinbo is professor and dean of the Institute of International Studies and director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University. He teaches and researches China’s foreign and security policy, Sino-U.S. relations, and U.S. Asia-Pacific policy. Professor Wu is the author of a half dozen major books on U.S.-China relations and Chinese foreign policy, including, most recently, "China and the Asia-Pacific Chess Game" (Fudan University Press, 2017). His work has also appeared in English language journals such as International Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, Contemporary Southeast Asia, and Asian Survey. Complete episode transcript: tinyurl.com/ie5wfb3s The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University.  Your hosts:  David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation. 
41:08
February 15, 2021
Diplomacy: Former U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad
The topic: Former Iowa Governor and U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad has a history of about 40 years with China, most notably his recent service in Beijing where he led negotiations on everything from the trade war to nuclear tensions with North Korea. Branstad’s unique perspective on U.S.-China relations is based on decades of promoting economic, cultural, and civic ties while representing the agricultural state of Iowa. This Iowa farm boy ended up with a career capstone that included high-level negotiations between two superpowers on controversial issues (including national security, human rights, and the pandemic) and close personal ties with the leadership in both the U.S. and China. Our guest: Branstad, 74, is not only a farm boy but also an attorney and the longest-serving governor in American history. In 2017, President Donald Trump appointed him U.S. ambassador to China. Branstad offered unique personal credentials beyond Iowa’s robust agricultural trade with China: The governor in 1985 welcomed a young Xi Jinping to Iowa when the future Chinese president was a provincial official leading a routine trade delegation. That inauspicious connection years later would qualify Branstad as an “old friend” to the powerful leader of an emerging superpower. Branstad served a little more than three years in Beijing, returning in the autumn of 2020 ahead of the American presidential election. Episode transcript: https://link.medium.com/UqRTk1CEZdb The series: David Skidmore and Kyle Munson produced this podcast series in conjunction with Skidmore's Spring 2021 U.S.-China international relations course at Drake University. Your hosts: David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He currently chairs the board of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
48:58
February 15, 2021
Introduction to U.S.-China: Searching for Common Ground
David Skidmore and Kyle Munson outline a new podcast series intertwined with a Spring 2021 international relations course at Drake University.  Click here for a complete transcript of this episode. David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. He is past Director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship (2002-2017) and the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (2012-2017), both at Drake University. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books including a monograph titled The Unilateralist Temptation in American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles or chapters in various academic journals and books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register.  Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy.
15:00
December 28, 2020