Kevin Rudd Meet the Author

11 May 2022

Meet the Author

Kevin Rudd

May 11, 2022

6 -7 PM

Manning Clark Auditorium. Kambri Cultural Centre. ANU.

Kevin Rudd will be in conversation with Julie Bishop on his new book, The Avoidable War. The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict between the US and Xi Jinping’s China, in which the former Prime Minister of Australia, and deeply knowledgeable China watcher, proposes a way forward for the US and China to avoid a superpower conflict. Kevin Rudd offers a chilling vision of what that might look like if it was unleashed.

A war between China and the US would be catastrophic, deadly, and destructive. Unfortunately, it is no longer unthinkable. 

The relationship between the US and China, the world’s two superpowers, is peculiarly volatile. It rests on a seismic fault of cultural misunderstanding, historical grievance, and ideological incompatibility. No other nations are so quick to offend and be offended. Their militaries play a dangerous game of chicken, corporations steal intellectual property, intelligence satellites peer and AI technicians plot. The capacity for either country to cross a fatal line grows daily. 

Kevin Rudd, who has studied, lived in, and worked with China for more than forty years, is one of the very few people who can offer real insight into the mindsets of the leadership whose judgement will determine if a war will be fought. The Avoidable War demystifies the actions of both sides, explaining and translating them for the benefit of the other. Geopolitical disaster is still avoidable, but only if these two giants can find a way to coexist without betraying their core interests through what Rudd calls “managed strategic competition”. Should they fail, down that path lies the possibility of a war that could rewrite the future of both countries, and the world.

“A lifelong student of China, Kevin Rudd has become one of today’s most thoughtful analysts of China’s development. The Avoidable War focuses on the signal challenge posed by China’s evolution to America and to world order. Can the US and China avoid sleepwalking into a conflict? Rudd offers constructive steps for the two powers to stabilize their relations.” Henry A Kissinger.

Kevin Rudd AC served as Australia’s twenty-sixth prime minister from 2007 to 2010 and then as its foreign minister from 2010 to 2012, before returning as prime minister in 2013. Kevin is the global president and CEO of Asia Society and has been president of the Asia Society Policy Institute since January 2015. He graduated from the Australian National University with honours in Chinese studies and is fluent in Mandarin. He also studied at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei.

 The Hon Julie Bishop is the 13th Chancellor of Australian National University (from 1 January 2020) and the first female to hold the role. Julie Bishop served as Australia’s 38th Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 until 2018, the first female in that position as well as the first female Deputy Leader of the Federal Liberal Party, serving for 11 years from 2007 until 2018. In a political career spanning over 20 years, Julie also served as Minister for Education, Science and Training, Minister for Women’s Issues and Minister for Ageing. Julie graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide in 1978 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2017 for her exceptional service to Australian politics.

The vote of thanks will be given by Professor Helen Sullivan, Dean,  ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. From 2016 to mid -2021, Helen was Director of the ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy.

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.

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