From October 1-3, the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in France, hosted Dr. Evan Feigenbaum as part of the U.S. Foreign Policy Speaker series. Dr. Feigenbaum was invited to Paris to discuss U.S. security and economic interests in East and South Asia, the future of Sino-American relations, and the implications of the U.S. rebalancing strategy for the geopolitical evolution of Asia. Dr. Feigenbaum is the vice-chairman of the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago and non-resident senior associate in the Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Previously, he served as the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Central Asia (2006-07), deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia (2007-09), and as a member of the policy planning staff with principal responsibility for East Asia and the Pacific (2001–06).
This program aimed to provide the French audience with a better understanding of the dynamics that guide U.S. engagement in the region, and to link these policies to a potential impact on France and Europe’s global standing. The program is also aimed at supporting and developing GMF’s network on Asian affairs in France and fostering the Paris office’s recognition among key French institutions. During his three-day visit, Dr. Feigenbaum met with French officials from the prime minister’s office, the French Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as European corporate representatives, journalists, scholars, academics, and students.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
On October 1, the Paris office organized a transatlantic breakfast debate on “The Economic Future of China and its Implications for U.S.-China Strategic Relations” at the Hotel Le Bristol. The discussion was introduced by Dr. Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, director of the Paris Office, and focused on China’s perception of U.S. power and the U.S. global posture and rebalance to Asia.
According to Dr. Feigenbaum, China’s prevailing growth model has several major vulnerabilities, and its leaders do not believe its success will be sustainable, mainly due to its reliance on exports to slow growth G7 economies and investment in fixed asserts, which has distorted the Chinese economy. Reforming the Chinese economy is dependent on various reforms, including price reforms but especially the introduction of more competition and de-monopolization of additional sectors of the economy. China also needs to pursue fiscal and administrative reforms that will redefine the relationship between the central and local governments. The anti-corruption initiative is aimed at re-legitimizing China’s Communist government with a skeptical public while also removing key individuals and obstacles in various centers of power.
The discussion covered China’s investment in Africa, the relationship between Russia and China, India-China relations, and the tensions between Japan and China.
The breakfast debate was attended by high-level corporate representatives and representatives of foreign embassies in Paris.
Following this event, Dr. Feigenbaum was invited to the Ministry of Defense, where he met with Luis Vassy, diplomatic advisor to the French minister of defense. In the afternoon, private meetings were organized with François Guidée, advisor on Asia and the Americas to the French foreign minister, and with Ambassador Jean-Louis Falconi, director for international affairs, strategy and technology at the general secretariat for National Defense and Security (SGDSN).
Thursday, October 2, 2014
On Thursday, October 2, the Paris Office organized a conference at Sciences Po Lyon with students on the geopolitical dynamics of Asia and the U.S. ‘rebalancing’ strategy. Dr. Feigenbaum presented his views on the recent strategic evolution of the Asia-Pacific region and its security implications. He discussed U.S. engagement in Asia under the previous and current administration, and the objectives of the ‘rebalancing’ effort. The debate with the audience addressed various issues, from the future of China-Japan relations to the risk of military conflict in the South China Sea and the defense commitment of the U.S. toward its key allies in the region. The conference was attended by more than forty students and followed by a meeting with professors of Asian studies at Sciences Po Lyon.
Friday, October 3, 2014
On October 3, the Paris Office organized a transatlantic brunch debate with Dr. Feigenbaum and Prof. François Godement on “India between China and the U.S. rebalance to Asia.” The discussion was moderated by Dr. Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer and was followed by an open debate with the rest of the participants. Godement is director of the Asia and China Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and associate researcher at the Asia Centre. The event took place at Restaurant Le Procope and brought together around twenty scholars and journalists, as well as representatives of the French policy planning staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Feigenbaum and Godement discussed the strategic relevance of India as an Asian power beyond its immediate South Asian neighborhood. Discussion focused as well on India’s relationships in Asia in the context of China’s growing power, and its implication for U.S. foreign policy, Asia strategy, and U.S.-India relations
Discussion covered the evolution of Indian diplomacy; dynamics of economic reform, especially in terms of labor and land acquisition policies; the evolution of India’s security interests, including concerns regarding China’s foreign policies and the role of China and Pakistan in Indian defense planning; the removal of obstacles to closer U.S.-Indian relations since the end of the Cold War; and Sino-Indian relations in the wider Asian context.