I’ve just come out of the first plenary session of the Valdai conference on the Middle East, which is being held here in Malta. There are some interesting ideas being put forward, and I’ll talk about some of them a little later on. It’s being conducted on the basis of the Chatham House Rule, which essentially means the ideas can be reported on, but without specific attribution. WikiLeaks fans will probably cringe at the idea, but the reasoning is that it allows delegates to be more open and free in expressing their ideas without having to worry about how it might reflect on their official duties.
In the meantime, though, I received an email this week from Jim Arkedis that I thought might be of interest to readersof this blog basedin Washington. Jim is director of the Progressive Policy Institute's National Security Project and he passed along details of an event PPI is hostingon December 14 entitled ‘China's Choice: Regional Bully or Global Stakeholder?’
It’s a great looking line-up of speakers and panelists. Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be giving the opening remarks, followed by a keynote address by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy (who some tip as a possible future defence secretary). Featured panelists are Joseph Nye, James Fallows and Michael Chase of the Naval War College.
It’s a fascinating and timely topic and sounds well worth a visit if you’re in the area. I’ve been told space is limited, so call ahead at: +1 202 525 3926.