Camden Conference in the World ~ December
Seeing two people who once shared our stage in Camden come together in a lively discussion somewhere else is always fun. Particularly fun is a recent podcast in which 2019 China conference speakers Kaisar Kuo and Robert Daly talk about everything from an earlier speech by Wilson Center China expert Daly on “American Moral Absolutism and the China Challenge” – a talk that Kuo, a heavy metal musician turned Podcaster, says had him “shouting in emphatic agreement” — to Daly’s career as a popular soap opera actor in China. Daly’s earlier talk is replayed as part of this issue of Kuo’s Sinica Podcast. Daly has also been in the news of late commenting on US President Joe Biden’s meeting in San Francisco with Chinese President Xi Jinping. On National Public Radio, Daly suggested these talks could “bring some stability but not change the nature of a relationship that probably hasn’t found bottom yet.”
The joint German-US strategy of supporting Ukraine for “as long as it takes” with weapons but not with Nato boots on the ground “is not working,” 2022 and 2015 Camden Conference speaker Constanze Stelzenmuller wrote in a blunt Financial Times commentary that drew wide attention, including from the Russian state-supported media. Stelzenmuller, now chair of the Center on the US and Europe at Brookings, proposes s solution: “…a strategy of resilience, deterrence and defense for Europe for the long haul that shifts the burden from a domestically embattled America to where it belongs: Europe. Ukraine needs more weapons and ammunition. Above all, it needs an irreversible commitment from Europe that its security is our security,” including near-term negotiations for Ukraine’s entrance into both the EU and Nato.
Robin Wright, keynoter at Camden’s 2013 Middle East conference and, like Daly, a fellow at the Wilson Center, has been commenting actively on the Gaza war, most recently in this historic review of the effectiveness of hostage taking. Wright discussed Israeli and other hostages held by Hamas in Gaza earlier on CNN, and wrote a New Yorker piece in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 rampage into Israel in which she suggested: “Even a decisive Israeli military victory is unlikely to end the country’s increasingly perilous security challenges. It’s not even clear what ‘winning’ means.”
Rami Kouri, speaker from our 2005 conference on the Middle East, wrote in Al-Jazeera’s English edition about ”America’s reckoning with Israeli media manipulation” in the context of Gaza. In a commentary resonate of Camden’s 2020 conference on “The Media Revolution” as well as of its several Mideast conferences, Kouri points to skepticism about reports from all security services — US included and driven by Black Lives Matter — as a factor behind a growing tendency in the US media to question official claims from Israel relating to Palestinians. He notes the US press is also giving more coverage to Palestinian views alongside those of Israelis.
An opening presentation at the annual gathering of the famed Mont Pellerin Society of free-market economists and academics by 2023 Camden speaker Douglas Irwin, an economics professor at Dartmouth, “mapped out the rise and fall of international trade over the past 200 years,” according to a glowing review of Irwin’s talk in the Washington Examiner. In his address at the gathering held in Bretton Woods, Irwin argued that the global goals of peace and freedom “are bound up completely with a third objective: reestablishment of world trade.” Interestingly, the Mont Pellerin Society, founded in 1947 by Austrian Professor Friedrich Hayek and also associated with neoliberal economists Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises, will be meeting in New Delhi, India, in 2024 – soon after Camden hosts its conference on “India: Rising Ambitions, Challenges at Home.”