Image of Photo of Ambassador Freeman with President Nixon and Prime Minister Zhou Enlai in 1972; photo of Ambassador Freeman today.
Ambassador Freeman (top) with President Nixon and Prime Minister Zhou Enlai (1972)

Refashioning the East Asian Order

30 November 2022 17.00 - 18.30
Add to Calendar30/11/2022 17:0030/11/2022 18:30UTCRefashioning the East Asian Order seminarfalseDD/MM/YYYY15Jesus Collegeevent_11920confirmed
Virtual seminar

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman (Visiting Scholar, Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs, Brown University; former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense; former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972), will deliver a lecture on Refashioning the East Asian Order. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.

Geography is the DNA of geopolitics. It has a way of re-expressing familiar patterns that history seemed for a while to have killed off.  Before the arrival of Western imperialism in East Asia, there was a regional order in which China coexisted and interacted with other centers of power in northeast and southeast Asia without threatening their political cultures, national identities or independence. World War II created a regional power vacuum that was filled by the United States.  This vacuum has ceased to exist as the states of the region - not just China - have prospered and strengthened. Now, as they rise and U.S. primacy fades, something like the pre-imperialist East Asian order is potentially reasserting itself. This offers opportunities for the agreed establishment of political, economic, and military checks and balances that could reduce the danger of conflict and ensure independence, prosperity, and affordable security to the countries of the region as well as the United States.

Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a visiting scholar at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He is the former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs (1993–1994), ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1989–1992), principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs (1986–1989), and chargé d'affaires at Bangkok (1984–1986) and Beijing (1981–1984). He served as vice chair of the Atlantic Council (1996-2008); co-chair of the United States China Policy Foundation (1996–2009); president of the Middle East Policy Council (1997–2009), and chair of the Committee for the Republic (2003-2020).

He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's path-breaking 1972 visit to Beijing, the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica article on diplomacy, and the author of America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East; Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige; The Diplomat’s Dictionary; and Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy.

Chas W. Freeman is a graduate of Yale University and the Harvard Law School who studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the 國立臺中教育大學.  A compendium of his speeches is available at

This is one of the events in the on-going China Forum Seminar series, hosted by the China Forum, Jesus College. The seminars, given by eminent speakers, cover a broad range of topics and disciplines.


This is a virtual seminar. Attendance is free. Advance booking is required by emailing:  Priority will be given to members of Jesus College and the University of Cambridge.