I work on international politics, Asian affairs, and statecraft at the Free University of Brussels. I consider myself an old-fashioned academic, striking a balance between a generalist approach and mastering detail, between asking fundamental questions and explaining the practical relevance of my answers.
Hence, my books are thoroughly researched but also aim at a general readership. Most of them were widely reviewed, by publications such as the Economist, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and so forth. Several books were also translated, in Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesia, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Greek, and so forth.
China and India: Prospects for Peace (Columbia University Press, 2010)
Trapped Giant (IISS and Routledge, 2011)
China’s Coming War with Asia (Polity and others, 2015)
De Kracht van het Paradijs (De Bezige Bij, 2014)
A Political History of the World (Penguin and others, 2019)
Silk Road Trap (Polity and others, 2019)
World Politics after 1989 (Polity and others, 2021)
I have written over 40 academic papers, published in journals like International Spectator, the Journal of International Trade, the Washington Quarterly, Journal of Strategic Studies, the Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Contemporary China, etc. I lectured at universities like Harvard, Columbia, Oxford, the London School of Economics, the Central Party School, Tsinghua, Peking University, Fudan University, Delhi University, and Singapore National University. I am a guest lecturer at the senior staff courses of the defense academies of Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as well as at the generals and ambassadors course of the NATO Defense College and several other civilian leadership training programmes in Europe.
I contributed to various study projects organized by European and international institutions. In 2007 and 2008, I was coordinator of the EU-China Academic Network (ECAN), an academic forum established by the European Commission. I was invited by the European Parliament to provide advise on China’s relations with the third world, China’s economic transition, on China’s military transition, on maritime security in Asia, and on the relations between Europe and Southeast Asia. For the European Commission, I evaluated the EU’s Asia Strategy, advised on the strategic dialogue with China and India, China’s trade policy, and the security outlook in Asia.
I briefed various European member states, intelligence services, senior officials from China, India, the United States, as well as the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, NATO Supreme Alliance Commander, NATO Political Committee, US Central Command, European Military Staff, the Chiefs of European Navies (CHENS & CHANCOM), the Chiefs of the Joint Expeditionary Force, the EU Political and Security Committee, the UN Human Rights Council, the European Investment Bank, NATO Special Operations Command, NATO Ambassadors Committee, etc.
I advised Fortune Global 500 companies on their Asia strategy and am frequently invited as a speaker at internal briefings at board and high executive level.
Besides academic and policy related work, Jonathan I comment on current affairs in news media. Shorter pieces of my hand appeared in news outlets like the Financial Times, the Guardian, South China Morning Post, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, the Harvard International Review and Le Monde. I was interviewed by major television channels – such as CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, CCTV, Al Jazeera – and newspapers – like the New York Times, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He has had a weekly column in the South China Morning Post and still has in Knack.
In 2017 and 2018, I travelled along Europe’s outer frontier, from Greenland over Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East to Gibraltar, to report on the security environment for the Dutch newspaper Trouw and the Belgian magazine Knack, as well as to report to the EC leadership on the effectiveness of the EU’s foreign policy.
I am or was part of various organizations, such as the World Economic Forum, the Trilateral Commission, the Friday Group, and so forth.
I serve as a corvette captain (res.) with the Belgian Armed Forces.