A U.S. View on China’s So-Called ‘Debtbook Diplomacy’ Agenda

A China in Africa Podcast

For the past year or so, senior U.S. government officials have been accusing China of engaging in so-called “debtbook diplomacy,” a tactic that Washington contends intentionally burdens developing countries with billions of dollars of loans. When these countries, many of them some of the poorest in the world, invariably can’t pay back the loans, Beijing extracts concessions that further China’s geopolitical interests, according to the theory that is now widely held among U.S. politicians, academics, and strategists.

Just before they graduated with Master’s degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, then students Gabrielle Chefitz and Sam Parker wrote a paper on the subject that went viral, at least among those in the close-knit U.S. national security community. Sam and Gabrielle join Eric and Cobus to talk about China’s so-called “debtbook diplomacy” strategy, and specifically how it applies in Africa.