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New course on the US-China Strategic Relationship: A student’s perspective

The story below, written by IWP student Jonathan, first appeared in the newspaper of the Student Government Association, Denial and Deception. 

US China relations 444x718This spring, IWP will be offering the new course “The U.S.-China Strategic Relationship” taught by Ambassador Joseph R. DeTrani. This course will detail the period from the late Ming dynasty to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the present. However, Ambassador DeTrani wanted to make it clear to students that this is not going to be a heavily academic class. Amb. DeTrani will put some issues with China into historical context, and also rely heavily on his experience working issues related to China. 

He wants to create a course that exposes IWP students to an important country, regionally and globally: “We need to better understand China, its people, history, and culture. From our exposure to the media we draw conclusions that need to be put into a greater context.”

Ambassador DeTrani appreciates that issues between the U.S. and China are complex, but these are not zero sum games. “We need to find common ground when possible.  We need to better understand China’s calculus and why they see things differently.  Many of the issues with China are complex and require greater collaboration.”

Amb. Joseph DeTraniAmbassador DeTrani is currently President of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization, with over 150 corporate members and others from the academic community and private sector that works closely with the Intelligence Community and National Security agencies analyzing national security issues for public distribution. He has served as the Senior Advisor to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center (NCPC) and as the North Korea Mission Manager for the ODNI.

Ambassador DeTrani served at the Department of State as the Special Envoy for negotiations with North Korea, as the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO). He still follows closely issues on North Korea and Northeast Asia. He comments, “[Our relationship with] North Korea is an issue I will to continue to work on until it is resolved.”

For two decades beforehand, Ambassador DeTrani served his country at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  He started as an analyst in the Analytical Division before eventually moving to the National Clandestine Service. “I had many good years at the CIA, most in East Asia. One of my first tours was as Executive Assistant to Bill Casey. The man was brilliant.” 

Amb. DeTrani served at the CIA as the Director for East Asia, Director for Europe, Director of Technical Services, Director of Public Affairs, and Director of the Crime and Narcotics Center. He served numerous tours abroad, in China, Taiwan, Burma, South Korea, Hong Kong and Iran as well as in Washington, D.C. “The CIA is a great agency, and some of my best years were spent working with Bill Casey and as the Director of  the Political and Psychological staff, getting information into Russia and Afghanistan. We had an important impact in reaching the people and getting information to them that they otherwise wouldn’t have received.”  Some of the numerous awards he received at the CIA include: the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Donovan Award and the Commandant’s Award.

Ambassador DeTrani now brings his distinguished career and expertise to IWP.  He started a similar course at Missouri State University, Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, and stated it was one of the more popular classes on China.

Ambassador DeTrani became interested in working with IWP after talking to Dr. Lenczowski during William J. Casey’s 100th birthday celebration in March. “He talked to me about his desire to expand on the current China related classes at IWP and since I was impressed with what IWP was doing we started working on the class.” 

Ambassador DeTrani wants students to walk away from “The U.S.-China Strategic Relationship” course with a better understanding of the China dynamic and “the road ahead.” “I have a more positive but realistic point of view about our relationship with China and believe more people need to better understand China.” The course will be offered spring 2014 on Mondays from 6:30-9:30 PM.

-By Jonathan, who currently serves as Editor of Denial and Deception, the newspaper of the IWP Student Government Association