Dr. Andrew Scobell is a distinguished fellow with the China program at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He focuses on U.S.-China relations, China’s armed forces and defense policy and China’s foreign relations with countries and regions around the world — with a particular emphasis on the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

He previously spent more than 10 years as a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, where his research and publications focused on China and the Indo-Pacific. Prior to RAND, Scobell was an associate professor at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service and founding director of the China Certificate Program at Texas A&M University. From 1999 to 2007 he served as associate research professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Dr. Scobell’s research interests include authoritarianism, communism and post-communism, civil-military relations, patterns and processes of cooperation and conflict, the use of armed force, crisis management, coercive diplomacy, deterrence, grand strategy and military strategy. He has authored or co-authored two books, 30 reports and more than 40 journal articles. He has also edited or co-edited 20 volumes.

Dr. Scobell earned a doctorate from Columbia University, a master’s from the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and a bachelor’s from Whitman College. His awards include the Donald Bren Chair in Non-Western Strategic Thought at Marine Corps University, the Silver Star Award at Texas A&M University, the John Madigan Award at the U.S. Army War College, the Victor Olorunsola Award at the University of Louisville. He has also been a foreign language and area studies fellow at Columbia University and a foreign affairs and national defense fellow at the Congressional Research Service. Dr. Scobell was born and raised in Hong Kong.

Publications By Andrew

Neither Summit, nor Sidebar: Assessing the Biden-Xi ‘Virtual Meeting’

Neither Summit, nor Sidebar: Assessing the Biden-Xi ‘Virtual Meeting’

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

By: Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.;  Jennifer Staats, Ph.D.

To address growing tensions between the United States and China, particularly over Taiwan, President Joe Biden and General Secretary Xi Jinping met virtually on Monday night (Tuesday morning in Beijing) for a three-hour discussion that covered a wide array of contentious issues. Both sides downplayed expectations for the session beforehand and have been relatively subdued albeit somewhat positive in their respective post-meeting statements and spins. Less formal than a summit and more structured than a sidebar, what if anything did the extended virtual top-level bilateral discussion achieve?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

How China Responds to Instability on Its Periphery: Lessons from Afghanistan and Myanmar

How China Responds to Instability on Its Periphery: Lessons from Afghanistan and Myanmar

Monday, November 1, 2021

By: Alison McFarland;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.

China’s timid rhetoric and underwhelming actions vis-à-vis recent political upheaval in two different neighboring countries belie the image of a confident and assertive Beijing. What explains this apparent paradox? Despite the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s outward bravado, combined with unprecedented expansion of China’s regional and global activities and presence, Xi Jinping and his Politburo colleagues remain wary when it comes to taking risks abroad. Certainly, when China believes its interests are being directly attacked, such as in recent disputes with Australia and India, the state has opted for riskier, more aggressive moves. But where Beijing is not a direct party to the conflict, caution can override its willingness to take action that would show its hand or put China in a situation where it is not guaranteed to avoid a messy exit, à la the United States in Afghanistan.

Global PolicyConflict Analysis & Prevention

What’s Next for U.S.-China Relations Amid Rising Tensions Over Taiwan

What’s Next for U.S.-China Relations Amid Rising Tensions Over Taiwan

Saturday, October 9, 2021

By: Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi held a six-hour meeting in Zurich on October 6 in an attempt to manage “intense competition” between their two countries. The meeting took place against a backdrop of growing Chinese incursions of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone and a decision by the Biden administration not to remove Trump-era tariffs on Chinese goods until Beijing keeps its trade commitments.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

China and the U.S. Exit from Afghanistan: Not a Zero-Sum Outcome

China and the U.S. Exit from Afghanistan: Not a Zero-Sum Outcome

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

By: Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.

It has become fashionable to characterize recent events in Afghanistan as a loss for the United States and a win for China. This zero-sum interpretation framed in the narrow context of U.S.-China relations is too simplistic and off the mark. The reality is far more complex and nuanced. The end of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and the collapse of that country’s pro-Western government do not automatically translate into significant Chinese gains, nor do they trigger a swift Beijing swoop to fill the vacuum in Kabul left by Washington.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

How the Region is Reacting to the Taliban Takeover

How the Region is Reacting to the Taliban Takeover

Thursday, August 19, 2021

By: Gavin Helf, Ph.D.;  Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.;  Garrett Nada;  Tamanna Salikuddin;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.

While the Taliban’s swift advance into Kabul over the weekend has left much of the West reeling, Afghans themselves will bear the brunt of the militant group’s rule. Beyond Afghanistan’s borders, its neighbors will feel the most immediate impact. Earlier this year, Russia, China and Pakistan affirmed that the future of Afghanistan should be decided through dialogue and political negotiations. How will they engage with the Taliban now?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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