Camden Conference in the World-March 2018
Both the opening and closing speakers at the February Camden Conference on “New World Disorder” addressed ongoing attacks on diplomacy and its contemporary practitioners last month in other forums, as well. Chas Freeman looked back to historic examples of successful US diplomacy in Southern Africa and on the China-Taiwan question to argue for better attention to the Rusting Tool of American Statescraft in a lecture to a combined audience from three top US foreign policy schools delivered just before he came to Camden. Stephen Walt took a different angle, proposing means to fix a “rot” that “runs deep” in the now highly professionalized US foreign policy establishment, in this article published just after the Camden Conference.
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a 2013 Camden Conference speaker, applies the call for more and better diplomacy to the specific context of the Middle East in calling on Saudi Arabia and Iran “to openly and without preconditions enter into bilateral dialogue and put all of their security concerns and aims on the negotiations table.”
Recent Camden Conference speakers on right-wing populism have also been in the news. This year’s Matthew Goodwin suggests that the UK Conservative Party could face “total electoral meltdown” if it ignores the desire of the party faithful for a clean break with the European Union, while 2017 speaker Cas Mudde argues that the US Democratic Party could suffer mightily at the ballot box if it fixates on Russian election interference rather than “bread and butter issues” that mean more to its base.