The Drivers of Chinese Foreign Policy | 2021 | Events

The Drivers of Chinese Foreign Policy
Arne Westad
Arne Westad
Yale University
October 6, 2021


Over the past decade China’s foreign policy has become significantly more assertive, both in a regional and a global context.  What are the drivers for this change?  What is the interplay between ideological and perceptual changes and bureaucratic politics?  Are there clear links between China’s domestic challenges and its foreign policy behavior?  And how do we best evaluate change in Chinese foreign policy, given the increasing difficulties with getting information from within the system itself?


Odd Arne Westad is a scholar of modern international and global history, with a specialization in the history of eastern Asia since the 18th century. Originally from Ålesund on the Norwegian coast, he studied history, philosophy, and modern languages in Oslo before doing a graduate degree in US/international history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Westad has published 16 books, most of which deal with twentieth century Asian and global history.

Westad joined the faculty at Yale after teaching at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he was School Professor of International History, and at Harvard University, where he was the S.T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations. At Yale, he teaches in the History Department and at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, is an adviser at Davenport College, and serves as director of International Security Studies. Westad is a fellow of the British Academy and of several other national academies, a visiting professor at Peking University, and a research associate of the Harvard Fairbank Center.