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June 2020: Protests signal warning signs in U.S. and opportunity in China

The Brief

June 8, 2020
In wake of protests in the U.S. following George Floyd’s death, the school's experts address how President Donald Trump's response has been alarming and how China is using the unrest for its own purposes.
Dean Eliot A. Cohen called for senior U.S. military leaders to stand up against President Trump's demands for military intervention at protests in a piece for The Atlantic, writing "if they are willing to take a bullet for the country, they need to be entirely prepared to take obscenity-laced tirades and a pink slip for it.”
Director of Strategic Studies Mara Karlin discussed the importance of prominent former senior military leaders speaking out against military involvement at protests on WBUR-FM’s On Point, adding “this is an anomalous moment where the military is looking around for good leadership.” 
Senior Fellow of International Affairs and Agora Fellow in Residence Anne Applebaum noted President Trump’s use the of military and language to incite violence on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast, adding “this is a president whose instincts are profoundly authoritarian.” 
Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs Vali Nasr told the The Straits Times “President Trump has made America look like so many other tinpot dictatorships.” 
Assistant Professor of International Relations and European Studies Lisel Hintz mentioned President Trump’s references to external meddlers in the protests such as Antifa on the Ahval podcast and pointed out that he is trying to “fuel a conflict that he can blame on the other side.” 
Director of SAIS China Andrew Mertha explained to South China Morning Post that China is using the protests to craft a narrative that emphasizes the United States' "instability due to poor leadership" and highlights Bejing's stability derived from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s approach to governance. 
Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Professor in Political Economy Ho-Fung Hung wrote in Foreign Policy that "Beijing points to the violence and injustice of the United States to exonerate itself from its own egregious violence and injustices." 

The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing and Communications.