IAS/SIR Speaker Series: Professor Andrew Mertha

Constraining China's International Influence Lessons from History of the Sino-Cambodian Relationship, 1975-1979

For this Friday's speaker series, the International and Area Studies Program was happy to bring Professor Andrew Mertha back to Washington University, where he was an assistant professor in Political Science and IAS from 2001 to 2008. Professor Mertha presented the history of the Sino-Cambodian relationship during the 1970s as a valuable case study for understanding China's current vulnerabilities in today's international arena. Despite the widespread assumption that China is rapidly expanding its global influence, Professor Mertha argues that the country's international power is undermined due to its domestic weaknesses, such as the "highly fragmented, institutionalized state structure" and the many protests and corruption scandals within the country. As demonstrated through the Sino-Cambodian history, the Chinese government will struggle to exert extreme international influence if it does not first gain control of its domestic politics, economics, and social environments.