The Rise of China Requires a Values-Driven and Bipartisan Approach to International Affairs

March 4, 2021 (WASHINGTON, DC) – The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University is proud to welcome former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper as its first John S. McCain Distinguished Fellow.

As Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Army, Dr. Esper dealt with the unique challenges posed by the rising economic, military and technological capabilities of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Liberation Army.

In his new role as the McCain Institute’s John S. McCain Distinguished Fellow, Secretary Esper will lead a bipartisan team to assess, discuss and promote policy solutions to the challenges facing U.S. national security decision-makers in the Executive Branch and Congress.

The discussions will center around four key principles: modernizing our armed forces, strengthening and expanding our alliances and regional relationships, reinvigorating America’s soft power globally by supporting our diplomatic and development assistance initiatives, and utilizing a whole-of-government approach alongside our allies to counter China. The McCain Institute is excited that this new endeavor will also work with some of our existing platforms such as the America’s Alliances Working Group and the Great Power Competition Working Group to present new policy recommendations to promote U.S. national security interests.

“I’m very pleased to welcome Secretary Esper to the McCain Institute,” said McCain Institute Board of Trustees Chair Cindy McCain. “Mark’s deep knowledge and expertise partnered with the convening power of the McCain Institute will produce valuable insights for policy makers on both sides of the aisle and throughout our government.”

“Any effective approach to the rise of China will need to reflect American values, be bipartisan and have the weight of the entire U.S. government and our allies behind it,” said former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. “These are hallmark characteristics of Senator McCain, and I look forward to tackling this important work at the McCain Institute.”


About the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University
Inspired by the character-driven leadership of Sen. John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute implements programs and initiatives to make a difference in people’s lives across a range of critical areas: leadership development, human rights, rule of law, national security, preventing targeted violence and combating human trafficking.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.