CC In the World

 

CAMDEN CONFERENCE IN THE WORLD-May 2019

With a conference on “The Role of Media in Global Affairs” in prospect for 2020, it’s a good moment to see what some of the many journalists are up to who have spoken to our community in years past on places and problems spanning the globe. A lot it turns out, and from a lot of directions. From Russia, 2015 speaker and editor of Russia in Global Affairs, Fyodor Lukyanov, recently described the grappling underway in Russia to understand the end of the post-Soviet era and the mix of opportunities and uncertainties the country now faces in a multi-polar world. Soon after, Natalie Nougayrède — a 2018 conference speaker, Guardian columnist and faithful adherent to classic European ideals — celebrated the April election as president of Ukraine of comedian-recently-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Nougayrede sees the election and expected peaceful turnover of power as proof that a pro-European, non-expansionist Ukraine is “the…

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Camden Conference in the World-April 2019

The themes that dominated the 2019 Camden Conference on “Is This China’s Century?,” and the speakers who came to the Midcoast to address them, remain in sharp news focus. Two 2019 speakers, MIT professor Yasheng Huang and retired senior US diplomat Susan Thornton, again shared the stage at an Intelligence Squared debate on The “Techonomic Cold War with China.” The two agreed – in opposition to the other three debaters – that China’s Belt and Road initiative is a “Trillion-Dollar Blunder.” With Chinese President Xi Jinping on a tour of Europe in March aimed in part at furthering the Belt and Road initiative, 2019 speaker and University of Michigan professor Yuen Yuen Ang argued in a Newsweek interview that Europe should be cautiously open to working with Beijing. Likewise, when interviewed by France’s RFI during Xi’s visit, 2019 keynoter and author Martin Jacques suggested that good relations with China could…

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Camden Conference in the World-February 2019

Speakers from the 2018 Camden Conference on New World Disorder have been making news of late, on topics including the 2019 China theme. Harvard professor and 2018 keynoter Stephen Walt argued in Foreign Policy that Europeans who want to keep a skeptical US President Donald Trump committed to NATO would do well to join the US in restraining China’s military might. “European concerns about Chinese ambitions have grown in recent years, as have their fears about a total U.S. withdrawal” from NATO. This might provide a rationale for a “new trans-Atlantic” bargain at a time when “China’s rise continues to draw U.S. attention away from Europe and toward Asia,” Walt wrote. Natalie Nougayrede, who also spoke in Camden last year, took on the sprawling trans-Atlantic debate over truth in the media in one of her recent Guardian columns. “Outlandish claims of secret cabals can arguably go further in Europe than…

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Camden Conference in the World-December 2018

Camden Conference speakers past and future have been weighing in on China-US tensions that are dominating headlines worldwide – and will figure prominently in the February 2019 conference Is This China’s Century? The Trump administration has an important story to tell about “the challenge that China poses to the fundamental principles embraced by market democracies globally: free trade and open markets, freedom of navigation, and good governance,” 2019 speaker and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations Elizabeth Economy wrote last month in a Council on Foreign Relations blog post. “Understanding the nature of the challenge is the first step toward developing an appropriate strategy to address it,” she continues. American diplomat and author Chas Freeman presents a sharply different take on the tensions in a November interview with Xinhua, the official Chinese state press agency: China and the United States “have no alternative to living and…

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Camden Conference in the World-November 2018

“When developing countries and partners think of the China Model, they often, incorrectly, think of it as purely a top-down model,” 2019 Camden Conference speaker Yuen Yuen Ang told an audience in Cambodia recently, in a display of the “fresh perspectives” for which she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow earlier this year. In fact, “different parts of China have followed many different paths to economic and social development over the last several decades. Their commonality is the adaptation of central mandates to local conditions.” Praising attempts to revive the traditional Cambodian silk weaving industry, University of Michigan professor Ang suggested that China itself needs to learn that other countries “want to build their future their own way, too.” MIT Professor and fellow 2019 Camden Conference speaker Yasheng Huang, who has his own insightful take on the Chinese development model, argued recently in the MIT Technology Review that China’s adoption…

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Camden Conference in the World-October 2018

Keynoter for the 2019 conference Martin Jacques this summer provided the perfect segue to the China theme from 2018’s New World Disorder, arguing in this interview that as the first leading US politician to recognize America’s decline, President Donald Trump would also be wise to come to terms with — rather than fight via trade wars or otherwise — the “deep historical forces” leading to China’s ongoing rise. Basically answering “yes” to the Camden Conference’s 2019 title “Is This China’s Century,” global best-selling author Jacques says that at the heart of the question is: “How is the West going to handle its own relative decline?” Hear the latest on China’s tumultuous economic situation in this late September podcast by Kaiser Kuo, another speaker on the 2019 conference roster and founder of the Sinica weekly online discussion of events in China. Kuo was previously director of international communications in Beijing for…

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Camden Conference In the World-September 2018

It’s been an active summer for Camden Conference alumni speakers, including on topics directly related to our 2019 theme “Is This China’s Century?” Hannah Beech explored the state of China’s relationship with Malaysia under Malaysia’s recently returned leader of an earlier era, Mahathir Mohamad. A 2011 Camden Conference speaker on “How Asian Journalists Operate with State-Controlled Media,” Beech is now southeast Asia Bureau Chief for the New York Times, having served for a decade as East Asia bureau chief for Time magazine. Thea Lee defended a thesis that is at the core of the percolating trade war between China and the US — Globalization Has Undermined America’s Working Class – in this Intelligence Squared debate aired on public radio. For the full debate, listen here. Thea is president of the Economic Policy Institute, past deputy chief of staff and chief international economist for the AFL-CIO, and a speaker at the…

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Camden Conference in the World-July 2018

How serious are perceived threats to democracy around the world and at home in the US? A prognosis for democracy that “although hardly inspiring — is less dire than much commentary suggests” was outlined by UCLA political science professor and 2015 Camden Conference speaker Daniel Treisman in the Washington Post last month. Not only do four commonly cited ratings system reviewed by Treisman show the global proportion of countries that are democracies “at or near an all-time high,” but his own historically based research indicates a likelihood of less than one in 3,000 of a democratic breakdown in a country as wealthy and with as long of history of democracy as the US.   Cas Mudde, a University of Georgia professor and widely cited commentator who spoke on the rise of the far right at our 2017 conference on Refugees and Global Migration, argues in The Guardian that liberals, fearful…

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Camden Conference in the World-June 2018

Former US Ambassador to Nato Nicholas Burns, minced no words in recent criticism of President Donald Trump’s May decision to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal of 2016, terming the move “reckless and one of the most serious mistakes of his presidency.” While many 2013 Camden Conference attendees will remember Burn’s tough engagement on the side of the US with former Iranian nuclear negotiator Seyed Hossien Mousavian, Burns is now recalling how the subsequent 2016 accord “has dismantled Iran’s nuclear apparatus and denied it the possibility of developing a nuclear weapon for more than a decade.” Not surprisingly, Mousavian in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, took the criticism a step further: “Trump has officially declared a regime-change policy towards Iran, as his speech made clear, setting himself on an all-out confrontational path against Iran. A dangerous new US-Iran escalation will now ensue, and it will have…

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Camden Conference in the World-May 2018

Chatham House associate fellow Cleo Paskal recently explored another fascinating niche angle of the changing geopolitical landscape: Britain’s expanding post-Brexit role as a counter to China in several small Pacific countries that are also in the Commonwealth. Paskal, a popular favorite at the 2018 conference on New World Disorder and America’s Future who will be returning to Camden Aug. 14 for a Camden Conference friendraiser, writes regularly for India’s Sunday Guardian and other Indian newspapers. Natalie Nougayrede, a companion speaker of Paskal’s in Camden in 2018 and a regular columnist in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, calls French President Emanuel Macron “a poster boy for radical centrism in an age of democratic retrenchment and rampaging populism,” in an assessment of Macron’s recent state visit to Washington.   Those already looking forward to next year’s conference on China might want to check out this conversation from last month on US-China relations between 2018…

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