Discussion Group July 10, 2023: Looming Confrontation in the Indo-Pacific?

Our next discussion group meeting will be on Monday, July 10th at 5:00 p.m. PDT via Zoom on the topic of Looming Confrontation in the Indo-Pacific? following on the June 26th WACMB dinner presentation by Professor James Russell.

If you are interested in participating in the WACMB discussion group, please email us at DiscussionGroup@wacmb.org. It is free and open to the public.

U.S. policymakers are increasingly focused on China’s growing assertiveness and military build-up in the Indo-Pacific region. In a recent report to Congress, the Department of Defense described China’s navy as the “largest navy in the world and, by far, the largest of any country in East Asia.” This and other elements of China’s military modernization efforts have led to deepening the U.S.-China strategic and economic rivalry in the region.

In his presentation, Professor Russell discusses the unfolding confrontation in the Indo-Pacific. Drawing on current research he is undertaking for the U.S. Navy, he focusses on the role of the U.S. Navy in meeting this challenge.

James A. Russell serves as Associate Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School where he teaches courses on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, military innovation, and national security strategy. His articles and commentaries have appeared in a wide variety of media and scholarly outlets around the world. From 1988-2001, Dr. Russell held a variety of positions in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Near East and South Asia, Department of Defense.

The following resources are provided as background for our discussion:

A. Looming Confrontation in the Indo-Pacific? Prof. James Russell:

B. The Sino-American Split: At sea with a broken compass. Discussion with Ambassador Chas Freeman, 10 Sept 2021 at The Institute for Peace & Diplomacy. Video (1h28m) and transcript at https://peacediplomacy.org/2021/09/10/ipd-remarks-ambassador-chas-freeman-sino-american-split/

Some questions to guide our discussion:

  1. What should be the U.S. objective in the Indo-Pacific and what are the strategic options for achieving this objective?
  2. What are the benefits and risks of improving the U.S. – China relationship (moving from adversarial to cooperation) and how can improvements be facilitated?

Boyd Haight and Linda Dilger