Friday, February 28, 2014

Off-Record Think Tank Event Signals Danger of Pacific War

All is not well in the Pacific, and more and more think tanks are starting to fret.

The Washington Post's David Ignatius reveals a frank discussion at a think tank forum in China, organized by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies and the German Marshall Fund, outlining the danger of war in the Pacific.
The changing political-military map in Asia formed the context for last weekend’s meeting of the Stockholm China Forum, an annual event organized by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States (of which I’m a trustee). The not-for-attribution discussions were surprisingly frank on all sides. But they dispelled, at least for me, the hope that China would continue deferring to a powerful United States. Instead, we’re clearly entering a period of greater Chinese assertiveness, especially in maritime issues.
It is a sign of the times that delegates here talk openly about the danger of war in the Pacific.  That's a big change from the tone of similar gatherings just a few years ago, when Chinese officials often tried to reassure foreign experts that a rising China wasn't on a collision course with the United States or regional powers.  Now, in the East and South China seas, the collision seems all too possible.

Here are more details about the Stockholm China Forum, which bills itself as the leading transatlantic dialogue on China.  The forum was established in cooperation with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2007.

Here are some pictures from the event, including David Ignatius asking a question.  SIIS described the "warm discussions" at the event.  Here is a list of some past participants.

GMF was recently ranked as the 43rd best think tank in the United States by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  SIIS was ranked as the 71st best think tank in the world.