GMF-Paris & CSIS Breakfast Debate with Dr. Alexander Lennon
The Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) organized a private breakfast discussion with Alexander Lennon, editor-in-chief of The Washington Quarterly and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), on “The Real China Challenge”. The discussion took place at the Rousseau Café, on December 6th.
Alexander Lennon presented a comprehensive overview of the key transitions that define current Chinese affairs and frame the Sino-American dialogue on international issues. According to Lennon, China is experiencing four main transitions: the evolution of its attitude towards global governance, the reevaluation of its core interests and the designing of a more assertive foreign policy, the economic transition based notably on a slow shift towards a more consumption-driven economy, and the current transition in its leadership, made more difficult by underlying corruption scandals. He also argued that the Chinese regime may not experience a transition towards democracy per say, but towards a more liberal trend.
In the course of the discussion with the attendance, Lennon was asked, among other questions, to comment on the U.S. strategy of ‘rebalancing’ to Asia. He explained that it was generally misunderstood by Europeans as it did not constitute a withdrawal from Europe but rather an attempt at lessening the American involvement in Middle Eastern affairs. Besides, the ‘rebalancing’ is not only geographical, but also instrumental, as it implies an evolution in the tools of U.S. foreign policy towards a less militarized diplomacy. He finally emphasized the need for a constructive dialogue on China between Europeans and Americans, stating that Europeans are perceived as focusing on the economic opportunities of the Chinese market and not on the security issues related to China’s rise as a global power.
The breakfast was attended by foreign affairs journalists, academics and fellows from the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).