Evan A. Feigenbaum

Nonresident Senior Associate
Asia Program
Feigenbaum’s work focuses principally on China and India, geopolitics in Asia, and the role of the United States in East, Central, and South Asia. His previous positions include deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia, deputy assistant secretary of state for Central Asia, and member of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff with principal responsibility for East Asia and the Pacific.


PhD, AM, Political Science, Stanford University
AB, History, University of Michigan



Chinese; English; French


Evan A. Feigenbaum is a nonresident senior associate in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Based in Chicago, he is also a vice chairman of the Paulson Institute, an independent center, located at the University of Chicago, established by former Treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson. Initially an academic with a PhD in Chinese politics, Feigenbaum’s career has spanned government service, think tanks, the private sector, and all three major regions of Asia.

From 2001 to 2009, he served at the U.S. State Department as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia (2007–2009), deputy assistant secretary of state for Central Asia (2006–2007), member of the policy planning staff with principal responsibility for East Asia and the Pacific (2001–2006), and an adviser on China to Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, with whom he worked closely in the development of the U.S.-China senior dialogue.

During the intensive final phase of the U.S.-India civil nuclear initiative from July to October 2008, he co-chaired the coordinating team charged with moving the initiative through the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors and the Nuclear Suppliers Group and then to Congress, where it became the U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act. He negotiated agreements with the governments of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and also has extensive policy experience with North and South Korea and Japan. He received three individual and two group superior honor awards from the State Department. 

Following government service, Feigenbaum was senior fellow for East, Central, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations as well as head of the Asia practice group and a director at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consulting firm. Before government service, he worked at Harvard University (1997–2001) as lecturer on government in the faculty of arts and sciences and as executive director of the Asia-Pacific Security Initiative and program chair of the Chinese Security Studies Program in the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He taught at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (1994–1995) as lecturer of national security affairs and was a consultant on China to the RAND Corporation (1993–1994). 

He is the author of three books and monographs, including The United States in the New Asia (CFR, 2009, co-author) and China’s Techno-Warriors: National Security and Strategic Competition from the Nuclear to the Information Age (Stanford University Press, 2003), as well as numerous articles and essays.

  • Article December 30, 2013
    Ten Trends That Will Shape Asia in 2014

    The year ahead will be volatile for Asia. Can countries in the region continue to prosper and keep disputes in check while China vigorously reforms and North Korea provokes its neighbors?

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs December 16, 2013
    After the Plenum

    To make the market “decisive,” the state must retreat. China’s leaders have declared war on powerful “vested interests” that oppose reforms, but the biggest vested interest in the Chinese economy is, in fact, the state itself

  • Op-Ed East Asia Forum Quarterly, Vol. 5 No. 2 April-June 2013 June 11, 2013
    Multiplex World

    Two difficult strategic challenges will test East Asia’s diplomats in coming years: first, the collision between economic integration and security fragmentation, and, second, the dominance of form over function in the institutions that could help to mitigate this debilitating dynamic.

  • Premier Li Keqiang
    Op-Ed Foreign Affairs April 17, 2013
    The Rise of China's Reformers?

    The conditions that facilitated China’s last major burst of economic reform in the 1990s are largely present today, potentially boosting the prospects for real and enduring economic change.

  • Op-Ed World Politics Review January 18, 2013
    The Problem With Two Asias

    There is a growing body of evidence that security competition risks undermining economic integration in Asia.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy October 31, 2012 中文
    A Tale of Two Asias

    Asia is being pulled in two different directions, as economic trends encourage peaceful integration while security concerns spark conflicts. Resolving this tension will determine the region's future.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs December 4, 2011
    China’s Pakistan Conundrum: The End of the All-Weather Friendship

    China will not simply bail out Pakistan with loans, investment, and aid, as those watching the deterioration of U.S.-Pakistani relations seem to expect. Rather, China will pursue profits, security, and geopolitical advantage regardless of Islamabad's preferences.

  • Op-Ed Eurasia Group August 1, 2011
    China’s Great Rebalancing Act

    The Chinese growth model is delivering diminishing returns. China's cautious leaders face a choice between doubling down on needed reforms or continuing to muddle through on the current path.

  • Other Publications Washington Quarterly April 1, 2011
    Why America No Longer Gets Asia

    While Asia is being reborn and remade, the United States is badly prepared for this momentous rebirth, making it less relevant in each of Asia's constituent parts.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy October 19, 2010
    Reluctant Warriors

    Assertive Chinese and job-hungry Americans are gearing up for a trade war across the Pacific. Fortunately, cooler heads will likely prevail.

  • CNBC November 10, 2013
    All Eyes on China’s Reform Process

    The central issue to be addressed by the Third Plenum is the proper role of the state in China, including the organization of the state and the relations of the state to markets and to citizens.

  • CNBC July 8, 2013
    Why Sino-U.S. Interdependence Is Not Enough

    The United States and China need to define an affirmative economic agenda to strengthen their relationship and move their economies forward.

  • CNBC March 7, 2013
    North Korea's 'Big' Threat

    Proliferation threats from North Korea remain acute given Pyongyang's alliance with rogue states.

  • CNBC December 19, 2012
    U.S.-China Trade Conflict Is New Status-Quo

    Both the United States and China are coming out of political transitions to face endemic trade conflicts and domestic structural adjustments.

  • CNBC November 13, 2012
    A Test of Political Will for China’s Leaders

    China’s new leaders have an intellectual understanding of the challenges of economic reform, but changing the status quo will require real political will to overcome opposition from vested interests.

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