In The Hundred-Year Marathon, one of the U.S. government’s leading China experts, Michael Pillsbury reveals the hidden strategy fueling that country’s rise – and how Americans have been seduced into helping China overtake us as the world’s leading superpower.
For more than forty years, the United States has played an indispensable role helping the Chinese government build a booming economy, develop its scientific and military capabilities, and take its place on the world stage, in the belief that China’s rise will bring us cooperation, diplomacy, and free trade. But what if the “China Dream” is to replace us, just as America replaced the British Empire, without firing a shot?
Based on interviews with Chinese defectors and newly declassified, previously undisclosed national security documents, The Hundred-Year Marathon reveals China’s secret strategy to supplant the United States as the world’s dominant power, and to do so by 2049, the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Michael Pillsbury, a fluent Mandarin speaker who has served in senior national security positions in the U.S. government since the days of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, draws on his decades of contact with the “hawks” in China’s military and intelligence agencies and translates their documents, speeches, and books to show how the teachings of traditional Chinese statecraft underpin their actions. He offers an inside look at how the Chinese really view America and its leaders – as barbarians who will be the architects of their own demise.
Pillsbury also explains how the U.S. government has helped – sometimes unwittingly and sometimes deliberately – to make this “China Dream” come true, and he calls for the United States to implement a new, more competitive strategy toward China as it really is, and not as we might wish it to be. The Hundred-Year Marathon is a wake-up call as we face the greatest national security challenge of the twenty-first century.
#1 National Bestseller
“China’s ambition to become the world’s dominant power has been there all along, virtually burned into the country’s cultural DNA and hiding, as [Pillsbury] says, in plain sight… The author is correct to assert that China constitutes, by far, the biggest national challenge to America’s position in the world today.”―The Wall Street Journal
“Provocative…. detailed and rigorous. [Pillsbury is] right that for Washington, assessing the nature of China’s ambition, and responding to it effectively, may be the central foreign policy challenge of our time.”―Newsweek
“Pungently written and rich in detail, this book deserves to enter the mainstream of
debate over the future of U.S. Chinese relations.”―Foreign Affairs
“The Hundred-Year Marathon looks at the critical issues of who is in fact making policy in the Chinese capital and, as a result, it will be read, analyzed and debated for years. Think of Pillsbury as our time’s Paul Revere.”―Gordon Chang, The National Interest
“This is a highly engaging and thought-provoking read. It does what few books do well, and that is to mix scholarship, policy, and memoir-style writing in an accessible but still intellectually rich fashion. . . . Pillsbury . . . draw[s] on his extensive knowledge of Chinese historical military writings and theory as well as his interactions with Chinese defectors and senior military officers to develop a compelling analytical defense of this thesis. . . . In the end, whether you agree with Pillsbury or not, the book is well worth a careful read.”―Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations
“Despite dealing with a weighty subject, Pillsbury says everything that he wants to say . . . [in] this highly readable book. It deserves to be widely read and debated.”―The Christian Science Monitor
“Pillsbury’s scholarship is buttressed by an eye-popping amount of declassified material…. Pillsbury’s key claim [is] that China… is methodically undertaking a ‘hundred-year marathon’ strategy to displace the United States as the global hegemon… The time is ripe to examine the trajectory of American relations with the world’s second-largest economy [and] the marathon is hardly over.”―The Weekly Standard
“Following the Communist victory in the Chinese civil war, Americans agonized over ‘Who lost China?’ If we do not recognize the Chinese party-state for the predatory animal that it is, in 20 years the question we will be asking ourselves is ‘Who lost the world?’ The answer will be, ‘We did.’”―The Washington Times
“A presentation of China’s hidden agenda grounded in the author’s longtime work at the U.S. Defense Department…. Fodder for concerned thought.”―Kirkus Reviews
“This is without question the most important book written about Chinese strategy and foreign policy in years. Michael Pillsbury has spent more than four decades for the Pentagon and the CIA talking to and learning from a core of Chinese ‘hard-liners’ who may be the driving force behind Chinese foreign policy today under Xi Jinping. Based on meticulous scholarship and written in lively, engaging prose, this book offers a sobering corrective to what has long been the dominant, soothing narrative of Sino-American cooperation.”―Robert Kagan, author of The World America Made and Of Paradise and Power
“A provocative exploration of the historical sources of China’s grand strategy to become #1.”―Graham Allison, Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
“Michael Pillsbury has been meeting with, talking to, and studying the ‘hawks’ in China’s military and intelligence apparatus for more than four decades, since back when America and China were cooperating against the Soviet Union. In this fascinating, provocative new book, he lays out the hawks’ views about the United States and their long-term strategies for overcoming American power by the middle of this century. In the process, the book challenges the wrong-headed assumptions in Washington about a gradually reforming China. Given the direction China has been taking in the past few years, Pillsbury’s book takes on immediate relevance.”―James Mann, author of About Face: A History of America’s Curious Relationship with China, The China Fantasy, and Beijing Jeep
“The Hundred-Year Marathon is based on work that Michael Pillsbury did for the CIA that landed him the Director’s Exceptional Performance Award. It is a fascinating chronicle of his odyssey from the ranks of the ‘panda-huggers’ to a principled, highly informed, and lonely stance alerting us to China’s long-term strategy of achieving dominance. He shows that we face a clever, entrenched, and ambitious potential enemy, suffused with the shrewdness of Sun Tzu conducting a determined search for the best way to sever our Achilles’ heel. We have vital work to do, urgently.”―R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence and chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
About the Author
Michael Pillsbury is the director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute and has served in presidential administrations from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Educated at Stanford and Columbia Universities, he is a former analyst at the RAND Corporation and research fellow at Harvard and has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and on the staff of four U.S. Senate committees. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He lives in Washington, D.C.