By Michael Pillsbury

Michael Pillsbury assesses threat perceptions in the Taiwan Strait, arguing that should tensions reach breaking point, the US and China could well find themselves on a collision course. This is a timely debate that explores China?s national interest in the wider context of Pacific regional security.


The Sixteen Fears: China’s Strategic Psychology 
By Michael Pillsbury, October 1, 2012

Reading China Wrong
By Michael Pillsbury, The Journal of International Security Affairs

Watching China and DPJ’s Japan
By Michael Pillsbury, September 17, 2009

An Issue for President Obama’s First Visit to?China: China’s Worry About?Japan’s Military
By Michael Pillsbury, September 17, 2009

Beijing Suspicious after Obama?s First Speech on China ? ?Arduous Negotiations on Touchy Issues?
By Michael Pillsbury, August 10, 2009

Obama’s Cautious Approach to Reducing China-Taiwan Tensions
By Michael Pillsbury, June 2009


The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower 
By Michael Pillsbury

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One of the U.S. government’s leading China experts reveals the hidden strategy fueling that country’s rise – and how Americans have been seduced into helping China overtake us as the world’s leading superpower.

For more than forty years, the United States has played an indispensable role helping the Chinese government build a booming economy, develop its scientific and military capabilities, and take its place on the world stage, in the belief that China?s rise will bring us cooperation, diplomacy, and free trade. But what if the “China Dream” is to replace us, just as America replaced the British Empire, without firing a shot?

Michael Pillsbury is an author of two books on China available for free download at NDU Press:

I. Pillsbury, Michael (2000). China Debates the Future Security Environment. ISBN 9781410218568.

Comments on Michael Pillsbury’s Book China Debates the Future Security Environment, 2000 that appear on the book jacket:

Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to the President, wrote:
“The Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment and Dr. Mike Pillsbury deserve our congratulations.  This book compiles more than 600 quotations from over 200 Chinese authors since 1994, and demonstrates the value of translating China’s open sources.  It presents many of the basic premises China uses to assess the next two decades.  I strongly agree with the author that we need to strengthen our military exchange program with China and include a new focus on influential Chinese strategists.”

Paul Wolfowitz wrote: 
“Once again Andy Marshall has sponsored a critical piece of research that illuminates a question of fundamental importance for America’s security.  There is no country whose strategic thinking is more important for us to understand than China’s.  Yet it remains largely unknown to us, even though — as this important book demonstrates — much of it is available through the open literature.  It takes Michael Pillsbury’s rare combination of facility in Chinese language and understanding of strategic thought to identify the important materials that he makes available here for the first time to an English-speaking audience.  Visitors to China should take a copy of Pillsbury’s book with them so they can ask the questions that need to be raised.”

Richard Armitage wrote: 
“Dr. Pillsbury’s book is a most valuable and yet most troublesome work.  The remarkable ability of Chinese leaders to misperceive, to revel in paranoia, and to go to almost absurd links to justify the world as they want to see it, not as it is, reveals itself fully in this book. We owe Dr. Pillsbury and the National Defense University a huge debt of gratitude.”

Former Ambassador to China James R. Lilley wrote: 
“Mike Pillsbury has again accomplished what no other American China scholar has.  He has documented authoritative Chinese views of the security environment in their own words.  It is a tough read but a must read.”

Thomas Christensen, Princeton University, wrote: 
“In this carefully researched and well-crafted work, Dr. Michael Pillsbury has made another important contribution to our understanding of China’s strategic thinking.  Those who blithely assume that optimistic American views of global trends are normal and widely shared will be startled and educated.”

Aaron Friedberg, Princeton University, wrote: 
“International politics of the 21st century will be shaped to a very considerable degree by the evolving relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.  Yet we know surprisingly little about how China’s top strategists think about us, about themselves, and about their place in the world.  In this fascinating and disturbing book, Michael Pillsbury uses hundreds of recent Chinese books and articles to shed light on these critically important questions.  Essential reading for anyone interested in the future of US-China relations.”

Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University, wrote:
 “Mike Pillsbury has done a terrific job presenting a range of Chinese voices and focusing our attention on how a combination of ancient historical analogies in traditional realpolitik analysis informs many public arguments about security today.  Pillsbury’s rich database sets an analytical agenda critical to a more nuanced understanding of China: how similar or different are US and Chinese assessments?  How does each construct images of the other?  How do language and metaphor constrain Chinese debates?  How authoritative and influential are individual Chinese institute analysts?”

Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania, wrote:
“Based on the reading of thousands of Chinese documents and on hundreds of hours of Chinese-language interviews, Pillsbury’s ingenious account is the best book on Chinese military and strategic thinking of recent years.”

II. Pillsburg, Michael, ed (1998). Chinese Views of Future Warfare. ISBN 9781579060169.

Comments on Pillsbury’s Chinese Views of Future Warfare, 1998, revised edition, NDU Press that appear on the book jacket.

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry wrote:
 “This book reflects the keen interest that its sponsor, the Director of Net Assessment Andy Marshall, has shown in Chinese views of a potential revolution in military affairs.  Translation and publication of these articles enhance our understanding of how some of China’s authoritative military strategists see the revolution in military affairs in the 21st century.”

James Schlesinger former Secretary of Defense wrote:
 “American relations with the People’s Republic of China have now become the single most critical bilateral relationship in the world.  On it rests the stability of East Asia, and it represents the most significant challenge to the effectiveness of US foreign policy.  Yet far too little is known about China, and in particular how the Chinese military think about the future.  Michael Pillsbury has performed a signal service in selecting, translating, and interpreting these revealing and hard-to-obtain writings by senior Chinese officers.  The reader is in for a surprise.  Rather than parading the tired slogans of People’s war, these analysts examine a military future marked by information deterrence, crippling attacks on information systems and similar notions, and by a search for new measures of effectiveness.  The future remains uncertain, but the best preparation — as Sun Tzu might say — is to understand the mind of those with whom we must deal.”

Robert Ellsworth former Deputy Defense Secretary wrote:
 “Michael Pillsbury’s new book is must reading for every executive of every Western firm doing business in China, and every member of Congress… readers will be impressed by China’s ambitions in space, information warfare, stealth, and robots, in future warfare.  No one with serious interests in East Asia can afford not to have read this book.”

Frank Langfit, Baltimore Sun, 2000, wrote in an article: 
Pillsbury’s book provides a rare glimpse of how the Communist Party’s security analysts see the United States and the world. It also raises questions about the effectiveness of the Clinton administration’s policy of engaging China rather than trying to contain its rise as a world power. “He’s opened up a whole Pandora’s box of material there that normally doesn’t reach the U.S. government,” says David Shambaugh, an expert on the Chinese military and director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University. “The engagement school is suffering from a severe case of cognitive dissonance.”

U.S. China Commission Congressional Reports:

Congressional & Senate Testimonies:

Journal Articles:

Rand Reports:

  • Pillsbury, Michael (1975). Personal Ties and Factionalism in Peking. RAND Corporation. OCLC 1575577.
  • Pillsbury, Michael (1975). Taiwan’s fate: Two Chinas But Not Forever. RAND Corporation. OCLC 1575589.
  • Pillsbury, Michael (1975). The Political Environment on Taiwan. RAND Corporation. OCLC 1462258.
  • Pillsbury, Michael (1975). SALT on the Dragon: Chinese Views of the Soviet-American Strategic Balance. RAND Corporation. OCLC 2218652.
  • Pillsbury, Michael (1975). Soviet Apprehensions about Sino-American Relations, 1971-74. RAND Corporation. OCLC 1549446.
  • Pillsbury, Michael (1976). Statement to the Subcommittee on Future Foreign Policy Research and Development, Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives. RAND Corporation. OCLC 2731888.
  • Pillsbury, Michael (1975). Chinese Foreign Policy: Three New Studies. RAND Corporation. OCLC 2379124.