Where Great Powers Meet: America and China in Southeast AsiaVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Author David Shambaugh in conversation with Daniel Russel
As the eminent China scholar David Shambaugh explains in his new book Where Great Powers Meet, the United States and China are engaged in a broad-gauged and global competition for power. While this competition ranges across the entire world, it is centered in Asia — most notably, Shambaugh argues, in the critical sub-region of Southeast Asia. The United States and China constantly vie daily for position and influence across this enormously significant area — and the outcome of this contest will do much to determine whether Asia leaves the American orbit after seven decades and falls into a new Chinese sphere of influence. Just as importantly, to the extent that there is a global "power transition" occurring from the U.S. to China, the fate of Southeast Asia will be a good indicator of how it may play out. Both powers bring important strengths and weaknesses to bear in their competition. The United States continues to possess a depth and breadth of security ties, soft power, and direct investment across the region that empirically outweigh China's — but lags behind in diplomacy and trade. For its part, China has more diplomatic influence, much greater trade, and geographic proximity — but is weaker in hard and soft power. In assessing the competition, Shambaugh examines how ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and its member states exercise their own agency, maneuver, and align with one or the other power.
David Shambaugh is Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies, Political Science, & International Affairs and the founding Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He is an internationally recognized authority and award-winning author on contemporary China and the international relations of Asia. He previously served as Editor of The China Quarterly and was Reader in Chinese Politics at the University of London's School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS). An active public intellectual and frequent commentator in the international media, he serves on numerous editorial boards, and has been a consultant to governments, research institutions, foundations, universities, corporations, banks, and investment funds. As an author, Professor Shambaugh has published more than 30 books and numerous articles and chapters.
Daniel Russel is Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State, he most recently served as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs, where he helped formulate President Obama’s strategic rebalance to the Asia Pacific region.