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A U.S. View on China’s So-Called “Debtbook” Diplomacy Agenda

For the past year or so, senior U.S. government officials been accusing China of engaging in so-called “debtbook” diplomacy, a tactic that Washington contends intentionally burdens developing countries with billions of dollars of loans. When these countries, many of them some of the poorest in the world, invariably can’t pay them back, Beijing extracts concessions that further China’s geopolitical interests, according to the theory that is now widely held among U.S. politicians, academics, and strategists.

Just before they graduated with master’s degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, then students Gabrielle Chefitz and Sam Parker wrote a paper on the subject that went viral, at least among those in the close nit U.S. national security community. Sam and Gabrielle join Eric & Cobus to talk about China’s so-called “debt book diplomacy” strategy and how specifically how it applies in Africa.

Show Notes:

About Gabrielle Chifetz:

About Gabrielle Chifetz and Sam Parker:   Gabrielle Chefitz received a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard Kennedy School in 2018 where she studied U.S. foreign policy with a focus on national security.After receiving her B.A. from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Chefitz served as a Research Assistant for the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Previously, she spent a year at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a legislative intern covering the Middle East and was an intern with the Department of Defense working on U.S. security policy towards the Gulf States.  

About Sam Parker:

Sam Parker received his Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard Kennedy School in 2018. A Belfer Center International and Global Affairs (BIGA) student fellow while at the Kennedy School, his interest is in national security policy and crisis communications.After studying government and economics at Colby College, Sam Parker served at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Previously, he worked at the Queens District Attorney’s Office’s Special Victims Bureau and assisted with message development for the “It’s On US” campaign against campus sexual assault as a White House intern. At Colby, his senior thesis predicted and analyzed how demographic changes over the next 30 years will affect the electoral map.

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