Michael Paul Pillsbury (born February 8, 1945) is an author, and former public official in the United States. He has been the Director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. since 2014. Before coming to Hudson, he held various postings in the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Senate throughout his career. He has been called a "China-hawk", and an "architect" of Trump's signature policy on China.
He was described by President Trump as the leading authority on China in 2018. Pillsbury is the author of three books on Chinese foreign policy strategy and Sino-American relations. His most recent book, The Hundred-Year Marathon, appeared as a selection of the 2017 U.S. Special Operations Command, Commanders Reading List, as well as number one on the Washington Post bestsellers list. According to The New York Times, Pillsbury's book "has become a lodestar for those in the West Wing pushing for a more forceful response to the threat that China's rise poses to the United States." Pillsbury's work has not been siloed to the American right, finding bipartisan interest as many Democrats look to continue his work in incorporating a version of Trump's China doctrine in the incoming Biden Administration. In December 2020, the Trump administration announced it intended to appoint him as the chair of the Defense Policy Board.
During the Reagan administration, Pillsbury was the Assistant Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning and responsible for implementation of the program of covert aid known as the Reagan Doctrine. In 1975–76, while an analyst at the RAND Corporation, Pillsbury published articles in Foreign Policy and International Security recommending that the United States establish intelligence and military ties with China. The proposal, publicly commended by Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, and James Schlesinger, later became US policy during the Carter and Reagan administration's.
Pillsbury served on the staff of four US Senate Committees from 1978–1984 and 1986–1991. As a staff member, Pillsbury drafted the Senate Labor Committee version of the legislation that enacted the US Institute of Peace in 1984. He also assisted in drafting the legislation to create the National Endowment for Democracy and the annual requirement for a DOD report on Chinese military power.
In 1992, under President George H. W. Bush, Pillsbury was Special Assistant for Asian Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, reporting to Andrew W. Marshall, Director of the Office of Net Assessment. Pillsbury is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
In 2015, a former CIA Director revealed that a book called The Hundred-Year Marathon "is based on work Michael Pillsbury did that landed him the CIA Director's Exceptional Performance Award." The official website has declassified documents and photos that illustrate the book.
Pillsbury's scholarship has been questioned by Washington Monthly assistant editor Soyoung Ho, in his article "Panda Slugger, the dubious scholarship of Michael Pillsbury, the China hawk with Rumsfeld's ear", published in the July/August issue in 2006.
Pillsbury played a role in three Presidential actions:
US–China military and intelligence ties
According to three books, Pillsbury participated in President Jimmy Carter's decision in 1979–80, as modified by President Reagan in 1981, to initiate military and intelligence ties with China.:58–59
According to Raymond L. Garthoff, "Michael Pillsbury first floated the idea of arms sales and broad range of American military security relationships with China in a much-discussed article in Foreign Policy in the fall of 1975. Not known then was that Pillsbury had been conducting secret talks with Chinese officials … his reports were circulated to a dozen or so top officials of the NSC, Department of Defense and Department of State as secret documents.":696 According to the book US–China Cold War Collaboration, 1971–1989, "The man spearheading the effort was not a public official, and enjoyed deniability. Michael Pillsbury, a China analyst at the RAND Corporation… spent the summer of 1973 secretly meeting PLA officers stationed under diplomatic cover at China's UN mission… The DoD managed Pillsbury. Pillsbury filed a report, L-32, in March 1974… L-32 was a seminal paper on which subsequent US-PRC military cooperation blossomed.":81 James Mann wrote, "Outward appearances indicate that Pillsbury may have been working with American intelligence agencies from the very start of his relationship with General Zhang… In the fall of 1973, Pillsbury submitted a classified memo suggesting the novel idea that the United States might establish a military relationship with China… This was the genesis of the ideas of a 'China card,' the notion that the United States might use China to gain Cold War advantage over the Soviet Union. The idea would eventually come to dominate American thinking about the new relationship with China.":58–59
Arming the Mujahedeen with Stinger missiles
Pillsbury participated in President Reagan's decision in 1986 to order the CIA to arm the Afghan resistance with Stinger missiles. According to the UN Undersecretary General who negotiated the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, "Initially, the Stinger campaign was spearheaded by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Fred Ikle and his aggressive Coordinator for Afghan Affairs, Michael Pillsbury… The Stinger proponents won their victory in the face of overwhelming bureaucratic resistance that persisted until the very end of the struggle.":195 Mann wrote, "For Michael Pillsbury, the covert operations in Afghanistan represented the fulfillment of the decade-old dream of American military cooperation with China… To help him win the argument, Pillsbury made use of his China connections.":137–139 George Crile stated in Charlie Wilson's War that, "Ironically, neither [Gust] Avrakotos nor [Charlie] Wilson was directly involved in the decision and claims any credit.":419:33–36:126–127,257–261,428–429:240–242:27–28
Harvard University's JFK School of Government published what it called the first case study of how covert action policy is made and describes the role of Michael Pillsbury.:24 According to Charlie Wilson's War, "The moving force in this group was an engaging, well-born conservative intellectual named Mike Pillsbury, then serving as the Pentagon's deputy undersecretary in charge of overseeing covert programs. Pillsbury, a former Senate staffer and China expert, had been an early believer in the program…":415–416 According to Philip Heymann in his 2008 book Living the Policy Process, "A policy player such as Michael Pillsbury may have absorbed many of the critical rules of the game of shared policy choice without even thinking of them as rules.":52
Heymann wrote that "providing Stinger missiles was obviously of such importance or political prominence that the President would want to decide. This decision is obviously of that character for several reasons. If approved, we may be furnishing a terrifying weapon to a present or future enemy. There is a small chance that we will encourage dangerous forms of retaliation by the Soviet Union. Even the shift from a "plausibly deniable" covert action to the open support of a guerrilla force fighting the Soviet Union would raise issues in Congress that the President would want to consider in light of his staff's advice.":54–58
Pillsbury worked through the secret Planning and Coordination Group. Heymann wrote, "This committee was secret, and public details about it are sketchy… The covert action committee met every three to four weeks. Its existence was not officially acknowledged, although such a committee had operated in every administration since Eisenhower. In the Kennedy administration, for example, it was known as the Forty Committee. Any information on covert actions was protected under a compartmentalized security system given the name VEIL.":44–45
Studies of China and the Pentagon's annual report
In 1997–2007, Pillsbury published research reports and two books on China's view of future warfare. According to the Wall Street Journal in 2005, Pillsbury's findings were added to the reports the Secretary of Defense sent to Congress on Chinese military power in 2002–2005. In 2003, Pillsbury signed a non-partisan report of the Council on Foreign Relations task force on Chinese military power. The task force found that China is pursuing a deliberate course of military modernization, but is at least two decades behind the United States in terms of military technology and capability. The task force report stated it was a "non-partisan approach to measuring the development of Chinese military power.":1–3 He has discussed the threat the People's Republic of China poses to the United States of America with Tucker Carlson.
- Aided Bank of Credit and Commerce International in avoiding bad publicity in the US Senate after BCCI pleaded guilty to laundering billions of dollars in "drug money laundering, arms trafficking and support of terrorists" 
- Director of the Center on Chinese Strategy, Hudson Institute, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC, 2014–present
- Member of the Board of Directors, Freedom House, Washington, DC, 2016–present
- Member of the Advisory Council, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington D.C.
- National Geographic Society, Member of Council of Advisors and Founding Co-chairman of the Explorers Society, 2012-2014
- Eagle Donor to Republican National Committee, with reported donatation of over $100,000 since 2008
- Member, Republican Governors Association, Executive Roundtable, 2014–present
- Member of Washington DC Republican GOP Advisory Council, 2012–present
- Author of number one National Bestseller, The Hundred- year Marathon, also published in Korean, Japanese, Taiwan-Chinese and PRC-Chinese edition published by Chinese National Defense University, and published in Hindi and Mongolian; selected as "one of the 10 best books of the year" by the Christian Science Monitor;
- Member of the Board of Directors French American Cultural Center, 1430 New York Ave, Washington, DC, 2015–present
Author of two books on China, available at National Defense University Press:
Reports and articles
US China Commission Congressional Reports
House and Senate testimonies
RAND Corporation reports
Some of these are available online:
- Personal Ties and Factionalism in Peking. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 1575577.
- Taiwan's fate: Two Chinas But Not Forever. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 1575589.
- The Political Environment on Taiwan. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 1462258.
- SALT on the Dragon: Chinese Views of the Soviet-American Strategic Balance. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 2218652.
- Soviet Apprehensions about Sino-American Relations, 1971–74. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 1549446.
- Statement to the Subcommittee on Future Foreign Policy Research and Development, Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives. RAND Corporation. 1976. OCLC 2731888.
- Chinese Foreign Policy: Three New Studies. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 2379124.
- ^ Trump, Donald (Jan 15, 2020). "Remarks by President Trump at Signing of the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved Jan 15, 2020 – via National Archives.
- ^ Rappeport, Alan (Nov 30, 2018). "A China Hawk Gains Prominence as Trump Confronts Xi on Trade". The New York Times. Retrieved Nov 30, 2018.
- ^ Tweed, David (September 27, 2018). "This Is the Man Trump Described as 'The Leading Authority on China'". Bloomberg. p. A1. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- ^ RAPPEPORT, ALAN (November 30, 2018). "A China Hawk Gains Prominence as Trump Confronts Xi on Trade'". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- ^ Mayeda, Andrew (November 28, 2018). "There's No Cold War With China, Says Trump's Hawkish Adviser". Bloomberg. p. A1. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
- ^ Schreckinger, Ben (November 30, 2018). "The China hawk who captured Trump's 'very, very large brain". POLITICO. p. A1. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- ^ "USSOCOM COMMANDER'S READING LIST 2017". Small Wars Journal. July 10, 2017. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
- ^ "Washington Post Bestsellers Feb. 15, 2015". Washington Post. February 15, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- ^ Environment and power : Warlord strategic behavior in Szechwan, Manchuria and the Yangtze Delta (Thesis). 1980.
- ^ RAPPEPORT, ALAN (November 30, 2018). "A China Hawk Gains Prominence as Trump Confronts Xi on Trade". The New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- ^ Rogin, Josh. "Opinion | Biden is rebranding but not reinventing Trump's China policy". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- ^ "Statement on New Appointments to the Defense Policy Board". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
- ^ Montgomery, Mary E. (2003). "Working for Peace While Preparing for War: The Creation of the United States Institute of Peace". Journal of Peace Research. 40 (4): 479–496. doi:10.1177/00223433030404007. S2CID 143502362.
- ^ Ho, Soyoung. "Panda Slugger, the dubious scholarship of Michael Pillsbury, the China hawk with Rumsfeld's ear". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- ^ a b c Mann, James (1998). About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-679-76861-6.
- ^ Garthoff, Raymond L. (1983). Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan. Brookings Institution. ISBN 978-0-8157-3044-6.
- ^ Ali, Mahmud (2005). US-China Cold War Collaboration, 1971–1989. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-35819-4.
- ^ Cordovez, Diego (1995). Out of Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-506294-6.
- ^ a b Crile, George (2003). Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 978-0-87113-854-5.
- ^ a b c d Heymann, Philip (2008). Living the Policy Process. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-533539-2.
- ^ Bearden, Milt; Risen, James (2004). The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB. Ballantine. pp. 211–212. ISBN 978-0-345-47250-2.
- ^ Coll, Steve (2004). Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-59420-007-6.
- ^ Coll, Steve (2009). The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-59420-164-6.
- ^ a b Lundberg, Kirsten (1999). Politics of a Covert Action: The US, the Mujahideen, and the Stinger Missile (Report). Kennedy School of Government Case Program. C15-99-1546.0.
- ^ Sullivan, Tim; Singer, Matt; Rawson, Jessica. "What Were Policymakers' and Intelligence Services' Respective Roles in the Decision to Deploy Stinger Missiles to the Anticommunist Afghan Mujahedin During the Rebels' Struggle with the Soviet Union?". Archived from the original on 2010-12-18.
- ^ King, Neil (September 8, 2005). "Secret Weapon: Inside Pentagon, A Scholar Shapes Views of China" (Fee required). Wall Street Journal. p. A1. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
- ^ "The Pillsbury Factor". The Oriental Economist. August 2002.
- ^ Segal, Adam (2003). Chinese Military Power Independent Task Force Report. Council on Foreign Relations. ISBN 978-0-87609-330-6.
- ^ Pillsbury, Michael. "The China Threat". Hudson.org. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- ^ "Report Offers New Details On Sen. Hatch's Defense of BCCI". AP News.
- ^ "Wilson Center". Wilson Center. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- ^ "Donor Lookup". Opensecrets.org. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- ^ French American Cultural Center
- ^ Waldron, Arthur (2015). "Review of The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower, by Michael Pillsbury". Naval War College Review. 68 (3): 11.
- ^ Blanchette, Jude (2015). "The Devil Is in the Footnotes: On Reading Michael Pillsbury's The Hundred-Year Marathon" (PDF). The 21st Century China Program at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, UC San Diego.
- ^ Garlick, Jeremy (2015). "Michael Pillsbury. The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower". Asian Affairs. 46 (3): 543–544. doi:10.1080/03068374.2015.1082318. S2CID 162641429.
- ^ "Michael Pillsbury". Rand.org. Retrieved 7 November 2018.