Description: The bulk of the lecture will focus on how Southeast Asia is responding to the rise of China, and the policy implications of these developments for U.S. Asia policy and U.S.-China relations. It will review how countries are responding collectively, through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as individually as sovereign states. Toward the end of the lecture, Dr. Stromseth will also introduce and discuss his new book, China’s Governance Puzzle: Enabling Transparency and Participation in a Single-Party State, co-authored with Edmund Malesky and Dimitar Gueorguiev (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Bio: Jonathan Stromseth is a senior fellow at Brookings, where he holds the Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asian Studies in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies. He also holds a joint appointment with the Brookings John L. Thornton China Center.
Stromseth has broad experience as a policymaker, scholar, and development practitioner. From 2014 to 2017, he served on the secretary of state’s policy planning staff, advising the State Department’s leadership on China, Southeast Asia, and East Asian and Pacific affairs. Previously, he was The Asia Foundation’s country representative to China (2006–2014) and to Vietnam (2000–2005), and is a three-time recipient of the Foundation’s President’s Award for extraordinary program leadership. He has also conducted research as a Fulbright Scholar in Singapore, worked for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia, and taught Southeast Asian politics at Columbia University.
In the scholarly domain, Stromseth is co-author with Edmund Malesky and Dimitar Gueorguiev of “China’s Governance Puzzle: Enabling Transparency and Participation in a Single-Party State” (Cambridge University Press, 2017). This study not only documents the origins and scope of reforms promoting transparency and participation in China, but analyzes the impact of these reforms on important governance outcomes. Comparing across provinces and over time, the book argues that the reforms are resulting in lower corruption and enhanced legal compliance, but these outcomes also depend on a broader societal ecosystem that includes an active media and robust civil society.
Stromseth’s publications also include a multi-volume series on U.S.-Vietnam relations as well as articles on policymaking in Vietnam and foreign aid trends in Asia. At Brookings, Stromseth is focusing his research on how Southeast Asia is responding to the rise of China, and the policy implications of these developments for the United States. In addition, he plans to examine economic and governance reforms in Vietnam and assess the prospects for democratic consolidation in Myanmar.
Stromseth has extensive experience implementing governance reform projects in the region. In Vietnam, he created programs to encourage private sector growth through improved economic governance, culminating in a Provincial Competitiveness Index, which ranks all Vietnamese provinces based on key governance indicators. In China, he designed and managed a multi-year project to strengthen public participation in policymaking, working with legislative authorities and China’s top law schools to train officials and support policy innovations. He also led a program to promote government transparency by supporting Open Government Information (OGI) initiatives at the provincial level.
He holds a doctorate in political science from Columbia University, where his studies focused on comparative politics and international relations in the Asia-Pacific region. His academic awards include a Columbia President’s Fellowship as well as research fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the Institute for the Study of World Politics.