Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Carlucci Auditorium, U.S. Institute of Peace
China in the Middle East is a daylong conference designed to explore China’s emerging role in the Middle East and its implications for regional stability, U.S. policy and Chinese grand strategy.
China’s role in the region is expanding in accordance with Beijing’s burgeoning economic, political, and to a lesser extent, military interests there. China is expected to surpass the United States as the world’s largest oil importer this year, making energy security the top issue in Beijing. China is also becoming financially invested in the future of the region; last year 22 percent of Chinese companies’ global investment was directed towards the region. While the number of Chinese nationals working and traveling in the region is still modest, Chinese tourism in the Middle East and North Africa increased more than fivefold from 2000 to 2012. Beijing has also become a marginal arms seller in the region and is the leading proliferator of small arms in the world, with Middle Eastern countries as top recipients.
Some U.S. leaders and scholars have voiced concerns about the implications of enhanced Chinese influence in the region while others have welcomed China’s increased presence and called on China to make a greater contribution to regional stability. China could leverage its significant soft power to help resolve conflicts - according to a recent Pew global poll, China's favorability in the region was higher than that of the United States. Beijing also maintains working relationships with a number of important governments in the region that the United States shuns, such as Syria and Iran. Given these unique channels, China may be able to make a positive contribution to a number of regional security issues, such as combatting Islamic terrorism. Beijing may also play a greater role in the Middle East peace process in the future, as the Palestinians view China as a more impartial actor.
This conference will evaluate China’s nascent regional role, implications for regional security, the reactions of other regional actors, and implications for U.S. policy.
This conference is co-sponsored by the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Georgetown University Center for Security Studies and made possible in part through the generosity of the Philip and Patricia Bilden Asian Security Studies Fund.
Jim Reardon-Anderson, Interim Dean, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Nancy Lindborg, President, United States Institute of Peace (USIP)
0945-1045: What is China’s Role in the Middle East?
Degang Sun, Professor, Middle East Studies Institute, Shanghai International Studies University
Dan Blumenthal, Director of Asian Studies, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Dawn Murphy, Assistant Professor, Air War College
Moderator: Oriana Skylar Mastro, Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
1100-1200: Does China Enhance Stability in the Middle East?
Steve Levine, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University
Paul Sullivan, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University
Mikkal Herberg, Senior Lecturer, University of California, San Diego
Moderator: Sarhang Hamasaeed, Senior Program Officer, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP
1230-1345: Lunch Keynote
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.), President Emeritus, Middle East Policy Council & U.S. China Policy Council
1400-1500: How Do Different Players in the Region See China’s Expanding Role?
Jon Alterman, Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director of Middle East Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
John Garver, Professor of International Affairs, Georgia Tech
Sam Chester, Analyst, Clarity Capital
Moderator: Daniel Byman, Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
1515-1615: How Should U.S. Policy Adapt to These Changes?
Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow and Co-Director, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, The Brookings Institution
Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program, Center for New American Security (CNAS)
Moderator: Thomas McNaugher, Director of Studies, Georgetown University Center for Security Studies
1615-1630: Concluding Remarks: What are Important Areas for Future Inquiry?
Oriana Skylar Mastro, Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Manal Omar, Acting Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP
David Maxwell, Associate Director, Georgetown University Center for Security Studies
1630-1800: Reception for speakers, select students