Monthly Archives: March 2021

US-China: Searching for Common Ground

A Podcast by David Skidmore and Kyle Munson

The transition between administrations in Washington, D.C., and the global effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic provide the opportunity to reassess U.S.-China relations and whether our two nations might reclaim common ground for building a more productive partnership. This podcast—a public extension of Drake University Professor David Skidmore’s Spring 2021 course on U.S.-China relations—will gather insights from diplomats, scholars, journalists, businesspeople, and others involved in the affairs of both nations. We’ll analyze sources of conflict as well as opportunities for cooperation.

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  • Diplomacy: Former U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad
  • Superpower rivalry: Professor Wu Xinbo, Fudan University
  • Security: Professor Zhu Feng, Nanjing University
  • Biden and China: Thomas Wright, Brookings Institute
  • Journalism: Austin Ramzy, New York Times
  • Politics here and there: Professor Ren Junfeng, Fudan University
  • Tech: Professor Thomas Lairson, Rollins College
  • Agriculture: Bill Neibur, Hi Fidelity Genetics
  • Business across cultures: Kit Spangler, business development director
  • Hope or despair?: Matt Sheehan and Holly He, Paulson Institute
  • People-to-people: Kim Heidemann, international programming consultant


David Skidmore is a Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 1989. Skidmore’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations. During the 1996-97 academic year, he taught at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-2011. Skidmore is author, co-author or editor of six books. His most recent research focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His editorial writing has appeared in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, Salon, The Conversation, the Diplomat, Global Times and the Des Moines Register. 

Kyle Munson is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and content strategist who currently works in content marketing and financial services. He previously spent 24 years with The Des Moines Register/Gannett in a variety of roles, including eight years as columnist. In 2017 he was awarded an international reporting grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on U.S.-China relations early in the Trump administration as Amb. Terry Branstad began his tenure in Beijing. That resulted in the project “Iowa in the Heart of China.” Munson also reported on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2012 visit to Iowa. He has volunteered and served as a board member with Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit dedicated to citizen diplomacy. He now chairs the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.


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