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James Lee

James Lee is a postdoctoral research associate for the project on great power competition at IGCC. His research is on U.S. grand strategy in Europe and East Asia, with a focus on the Taiwan question in U.S.-China relations. At IGCC, he is working on a project on how Taiwan’s semiconductor industry relates to the United States’ strategic interest in the security of Taiwan. He is also a member of UC Berkeley’s Institute of East Asian Studies U.S.-Taiwan Next Generation Working Group. He received his Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University in 2018, and he was a fellow in the Max Weber Program for Postdoctoral Studies at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy in 2018-2019. He also previously served as the Senior Editor of Taiwan Security Research (TSR) from 2017-2020.

Lee’s research interests are at the intersection of international security, international political economy, and international history. He studies grand strategy and great power politics in periods ranging from the Peloponnesian War to the Cold War to the present day. He is particularly interested in geoeconomics and economic statecraft. His academic research has been published in the Journal of East Asian Studies, the Journal of Strategic Studies, and the Journal of Chinese Political Science. He is currently working on a book that compares the United States strategy toward economic reconstruction and development in Western Europe and East Asia during the Cold War. His research connects the creation of the East Asian developmental state to the history of the Marshall Plan.

Lee is also interested in public policy. He has served as a contributor for East Asia Forum, with opinion pieces on Taiwan’s security. At IGCC, he has published a policy brief on 5G and U.S. national security. At the European University Institute, he published a policy brief on the Taiwan question in U.S.-China relations and its implications for the European Union.


Recent Publications

Will the U.S. Go to War Over Taiwan? (Podcast)
Oct. 29, 2021 | Lindsay Morgan interviews James Lee
Questions about Taiwan’s status are fueling rising tensions between the island and China, and between China and the U.S. Will there be war in the Taiwan Straits? Why is Taiwan important to the U.S. and might the Biden administration revise U.S. policy towards Taiwan? In the latest episode of the Talking Policy podcast, James Lee, a postdoctoral research associate at the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, weighs in on Taiwan’s future.

The One-China Policy: Adapting to Tensions in the Taiwan Strait
Oct. 29, 2021 | IGCC Policy Brief
Tensions are growing in the Taiwan Strait. Chinese warplanes have violated Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone in record numbers, prompting fears of an invasion and leading some to ask whether the United States should change its One-China policy. In this policy brief, IGCC postdoctoral research associate James Lee explains what the One-China policy is and shows how it can be both flexible and stable. As the United States engages in great power competition with China, it will need to continue to adapt the One-China policy to keep the peace in the most vigorously contested flashpoint in the Indo-Pacific.

How Will the U.S. Meet the Rising Challenge of Artificial Intelligence?
July 9, 2021
A new generation of technologies is transforming the nature of warfare. How well-positioned is the United States to address potential challenges? This report summarizes findings from the National Security Innovation Forum, which brought together experts from government, academia, defense, finance, and start-ups in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada to discuss the potentials and challenges of AI for U.S. national security. A collaboration between IGCC, the Silicon Valley Defense Group, and the National Security Innovation Catalyst, the Forum identified specific, urgent challenges—and practical solutions.

Why the U.S. Should Prioritize Security in Its 5G Roll Out
May 12, 2021 | IGCC Policy Brief
Policies related to the rollout of 5G in the United States have tended to focus on mitigating security risks, but does protecting security come at the cost of expanding U.S. global influence—or does it simply cost too much? This policy brief by IGCC postdoctoral research associate James Lee analyzes the three main criteria for deciding what a “good” 5G policy should look like, and recommends that the United States’ 5G strategy prioritize security first, influence second, and efficiency third.

Taiwan's Semiconductor Industry and the Geoeconomics of Great Power Competition
May 10, 2021 | IGCC Expert Presentation
IGCC postdoctoral research associate James Lee presents on a panel hosted by UC Berkeley on the Taiwanese economy. His presentation explores Taiwan's semiconductor industry and the geoeconomics of great power competition, and is based on research done as part of IGCC’s project on Great Power Competition in the 21st Century.

Supply chains critical to Taiwan’s security
March 10, 2021 | James Lee Op-Ed
Tensions are rising in the Taiwan Strait. Drawing on responses from foreign policy experts, the Council on Foreign Relations' Preventive Priorities Survey has raised Taiwan to the level of a 'Tier 1' (high priority) contingency, with a recent report stating 'Taiwan is the issue with the greatest potential to turn [U.S.-China] competition into direct confrontation.' This op-ed op-ed focuses on Taiwan's semiconductor industry as the basis for a long-term U.S. strategy in the Taiwan Strait.

The Political Economy of Great Power Competition: An Interview with James Lee
July 29, 2020 | Lindsay Morgan interviews James Lee
In this interview, James Lee, a postdoctoral research associate at IGCC, talks about U.S.-China relations, Taiwan’s position in the region, and the implications of China’s new security law for Hong Kong. Lee received his Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University in 2018, and was a fellow in the Max Weber Program for Postdoctoral Studies at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

  • U.S. grand strategy
  • U.S.-Taiwan relations
  • Europe and East Asia
  • Developmental state
  • Political economy of national security
  • Great power politics
  • Cold War
  • Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War
Great Power Competition