International Disorganization: State Capacity in China's Aid to The Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979

International Disorganization: State Capacity in China
Talk by Andrew Mertha, Cornell University


Thursday, February 19, 2015
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall



Observers of China tend to take for granted the fact that Chinese domestic politics are highly fragmented, yet they also tend to relax these assumptions when analyzing China as an international actor. In this talk, Mertha argues that the domestic institutional fragmentation of Chinese politics can carry over into its international behavior. Using the historical case of Chinese foreign assistance to Democratic Kampuchea, Mertha argues that the effectiveness of Chinese foreign aid -- and the influence that comes with it -- is only as strong as the domestic institutions that manage the bilateral relationship. This has potential implications to help us understand the extent of Chinese international influence today.

Andrew Mertha (Ph.D. Michigan 2001) is professor of government at Cornell University, specializing in Chinese political institutions and the policy process, and the director of the China and Asia-Pacific Studies (CAPS) Program. He has written three books, The Politics of Piracy: Intellectual Property in Contemporary China (Cornell University Press, 2005), China’s Water Warriors: Citizen Action and Policy Change (Cornell University Press, 2008), and Brothers in Arms: Chinese Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (Cornell University Press, 2014), as well as articles appearing in The China Quarterly, Comparative Politics, Crosscurrents, International Organization, and Orbis. Mertha has appeared on National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and Voice of America. His comments have appeared in The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, BusinessWeek, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Mertha lived in China for seven years as an English teacher (1988-1989), a representative for a toy company (1991-1994, 1995, and 1996), and as a scholar (1998-present); and has conducted archival and field research in Cambodia beginning in 2009.


Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies

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Published: Monday, February 23, 2015