David M. Lampton

David M. Lampton

Professor Emeritus of China Studies
Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute
China Studies

Rome 505
1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036


  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • American Defense Policy
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Developing Nations
  • Domestic Influences On Foreign Policy
  • Energy Issues
  • Energy and Security
  • Nuclear Power
  • Governance
  • Politics
  • Strategic and Security Issues
  • U.S. Congress and Foreign Policy
  • U.S. Presidency and Foreign Policy
  • Chinese

Background and Education

David M. Lampton is Professor Emeritus and former Hyman Professor and Director of SAIS-China and China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, having also served as Dean of Faculty from 2004-2012. Formerly President of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, he is the author of many books including, The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money, and Minds (University of California Press, 2008), with prior publications appearing in: Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The American Political Science Review, The China Quarterly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other venues popular and academic in both the western world and in Chinese speaking societies. He received his BA, MA, and PhD degrees from Stanford University. Dr. Lampton headed the China Studies programs at the American Enterprise Institute and at The Nixon Center (now The Center for National Interest), having previously worked at the National Academy of Sciences and having started his teaching career at Ohio State University. He has an honorary doctorate from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies, is an Honorary Senior Fellow of the American Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was the inaugural winner of the Scalapino Prize in July 2010 awarded by the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and is a Gilman Scholar at Johns Hopkins. His newest book, Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping, will be published by University of California Press in January 2014. He consults with government, business, foundations, and is on the board of several non-governmental and educational organizations, including the Executive Committee of the National Committee on US-China Relations and Colorado College’s Board of Trustees. He was a fireman at Stanford University in his undergraduate days and was in the enlisted and officer ranks of the US Army Reserve.

Download Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Seeking a Durable Foundation for U.S-China Ties
Executive Summa...

Executive Summary     
This essay considers recent calls for a new major-power relationship between the United States and China and examines concrete steps that both countries could take to pursue such a relationship.

Main Argument   
During his trip to Washington, D.C. in February 2012, Xi Jinping called for "a new type of relationship between major countries in the 21st century."  Over the last year, this vague but potentially useful concept has been generally endorsed by leaders in Washington.  The core premises of such a relationship are the major conflict between the United States and China is not inevitable, that it would be catastrophic for each country and for the world should it occur, and that the opportunity costs of simple noncooperation on key issues are enormous.  This essay argues that features of a new type of relationship based on cooperation inlude greaty expanding the number and scale of employment-generating enterprises that each country establishes in the other; developing better internal coordination of foreign and security policy in each nation; augmenting crisis-management capabilities; broadening, deepening, and institutionalizing malitary-to-military cooperation and strategic dialogue; and building economic and security institutions in Asia that include both countries, rather than each side trying to build organization that exclude the other.

Policy Implications
Leaders in both the United States and China should take the following concrete steps to build a new major-power relationship:

  • Encourage greater employment-generating FDI in each other's country and knock down roadblocks to investment, in part by bringing to fruition a bilateral investment treaty
  • Rethink the U.S.-China bilateral dialogue mechanism and appoint a very senior official on each side to be clearly in charge of relationship management
  • Institutionalize and broaden military-to-military cooperation and exchange to all levels and all services and emphasize strategic discussions
  • Improve each side's management of key third-party actiors
  • Avoid gratuitous acts that alienate citizens in the other country


Spring 2014 
Analyzes the ev...
Analyzes the evolution of the People’s Republic of China’s foreign policy. Deals with China’s objectives, institutions, instruments of policy, changing alignments and growing role in the international system. Directs considerable attention to specific policy issues and the policy process.
Fall 2013 
Analyzes the do...
Analyzes the domestic politics of the People’s Republic of China, with particular emphasis on the reform era. This introductory course covers political history, policy process and institutional issues, leadership, and the challenge of socioeconomic modernization. Focuses on recurrent and substantive policy issues in Chinese politics.
Spring 2014 
Examines U.S. p...
Examines U.S. policy toward China and specific U.S.-Chinese political, economic, cultural and security relations, with emphasis on the post-1949 period. Gives special attention to the foreign policy process in each nation, recurrent policy issues and their implications for each nation’s behavior, and relations with third parties.