The Rise of Asia in the 21st Century: What It Means for the United States
The Rise of Asia in the 21st Century: What It Means for the United States
With Johanna Kao, Jamie Metzl, John Pomfret and Brad Setser, moderated by Greg Dobbs
Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 23 and 24, 2019
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6 p.m.
Donovan Pavilion | Vail
Will the 21st century be the “Asian Century?” Asia is a global powerhouse of economic growth. However, Asia’s future trajectory remains uncertain due to serious challenges that are environmental, political, economic and social. Militarily, China continues to flex its muscles and extend its reach in the South China Sea while North Korea’s nuclear weapons program continues to be a grave concern. This two-day, four-session program will provide an in-depth focus on major issues impacting both Asia and the United States and the relationship between the two powers.
Session 1: Is China Ready for Global Leadership and What Does that Mean for the U.S.? with John Pomfret
With the election of Donald Trump and Britain’s Brexit vote, does China have a historic opportunity to seize the reins of global leadership from the United States and the West? What is meant by the China Solution and does it represent a viable alternative to the western world order?
China is engaged in a massive international infrastructure project called One Belt, One Road that involves Asia, Africa and Europe. The Chinese insist the initiative will increase connectivity, observers see it as a bid for dominance in global affairs and trade. However, will China’s own challenges of a declining birth rate, shrinking workforce, rapidly aging population and monumental environmental problems halt their ascent? Or, will AI and robotics be China’s trump card?
Session 2: Does Anyone Win a Trade War? with Brad Setser
The U.S. has now put tariffs on about half of its imports from China and is threatening to put a 25 percent tariff on all imports from China at the start of 2019. Are the tariffs a justified reaction to China’s failure to live up to the spirit, if not the letter, of its WTO commitments and its import-substituting policies? Or are they an over-reach that will only damage American firms and consumers? Are there alternative tools available to encourage economic reform in China? The trade situation between the US and China changes constantly; Brad Setser will provide an update and interpretation of the latest developments.
Session 1: Hear My Voice: Reflections on Democratic Change in Asia and What Lies Ahead with Johanna Kao
In the past 20 years, east Asia has witnessed profound economic and social change. The broad parameters of the Asian economic story are well known; perhaps less so is the way in which Asian societies have adopted – and adapted – democratic norms. Across the region, countries emerged from periods of authoritarian rule and took on democratic institutions and practices. It can be argued that the region as a whole is more democratic than it was 20 years ago, but perhaps less democratic than 10 years ago. With that in mind, how meaningful have these changes been and are they sustainable? What impact have these transitions had on the lives of ordinary citizens? From her perspective of two decades of work with activists and practitioners in Asia, Johanna Kao will share first-hand accounts of the civic and political leaders who have shaped the nature and trajectories of these struggles and the way that ordinary citizens have embraced democratic ideals to effect change over their lives.
Session 2: China and the Coming Post-American World with Jamie Metzl China’s spectacular rise and the largely self-inflicted damage the United States has wreaked on itself has hastened the demise of the postwar international order far more quickly than most anyone could have predicted only a few short years ago. As China seeks actively to recast the international order in its own image, how should America and the rest of the world respond? In a world where competition can be both win-win and zero-sum, what is the right response to the challenge and opportunity of China that increases the potential for mutually beneficial future developments and minimizes the chance of conflict and war?
About the speakers
Johanna Kao serves as Asia Regional Director for the International Republican Institute, bringing more than 20 years of experience in international political development, non-profit management and citizen empowerment to the role. Kao has lived and worked in Asia for most of her life in some of the region’s most challenging and dynamic countries at critical times in their political development. Working with both established and emerging political and civic leadership, Kao provides strategic advice, facilitates training and skills-building opportunities and manages a diverse portfolio of programs across 17 countries in Asia. Kao was born and grew up in Hong Kong. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in political science and completed her LLM at the University of Hong Kong.
Jamie Metzl is a Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, novelist, blogger, syndicated columnist, media commentator and expert in Asian affairs and biotechnology policy. He has served in the US National Security Council, State Department, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as Executive Vice President of the Asia Society and with the United Nations in Cambodia. Read a profile on Jamie Metzl from Psychology Today.
John Pomfret served as a correspondent for The Washington Post for many years. He is the author of the acclaimed book “Chinese Lessons” and has won several awards for his coverage of Asia, including the Osborne Elliot Prize in 2003 by the Asia Society. He holds a BA and MA from Stanford University and was one of the first American students to go to China and study at Nanjing University; he attended Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies as a Fulbright Scholar.
During his 15 year tenure at The Washington Post, Pomfret covered big wars and small in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Congo, Sri Lanka, Iraq, southwestern Turkey and northeastern Iran. Pomfret spent seven years covering China: one year in the late 1980s during the Tiananmen Square protests and then from 1998 until the end of 2003 as the bureau chief for The Washington Post in Beijing. Pomfret speaks, reads and writes Mandarin; he has been a bartender in Paris and practiced Judo in Japan.
Brad W. Setser is the Steven A. Tananbaum senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. His expertise includes macroeconomics, global capital flows, financial vulnerability analysis, sovereign debt restructuring and the management of financial crises. Setser served as the deputy assistant secretary for international economic analysis in the U.S. Treasury from 2011 to 2015, where he worked on Europe’s financial crisis, currency policy, financial sanctions, commodity shocks and Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. He was previously the director for international economics, serving jointly on the staff of the National Economic Council and the National Security Council. He did his undergraduate studies at Harvard and post-graduate studies at Oxford and Sciences-Po (Paris).
From his “boots on the ground” news coverage in more than 80 countries around the world, moderator Greg Dobbs is a professional speaker on global affairs, the author of two books (with two more in the works) and a journalist for almost 50 years, spending most of his time as a correspondent for two American television networks. Greg is the winner of three Emmy awards and the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Society of Professional Journalists; in 2017, Greg was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame.
This program is generously underwritten by Brian Stockmar and Laura Tumperi.