Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers
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Perils of the Pivot to the Asia-Pacific

Wesseling, Germany (January 29, 2013)—During a recent Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers Winter Seminar, guest speaker Hall Gardner, professor at The American University of Paris, presented his views on the shifting American foreign policy focus toward the Asia-Pacific. On the one hand, Chinese government efforts to restore Chinese influence in the region have led the United States to respond by seeking to rebalance its political, economic and military relations with countries throughout the area. On the other hand, this new strategic situation could provide a ripe opportunity for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to engage in cooperative efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific. 

CIOR’s Winter Seminar is held annually and provides its membership with an opportunity to explore a variety of issues being discussed within NATO.  This year’s seminar took a closer look at NATO’s implementation efforts since the 2012 NATO Chicago Conference.  Additionally, CIOR members discussed areas of political military interest, such as the Asia-Pacific. 

“Fu-xing, or the ‘restoration’ of China’s status or role as a major power, has become the principal foreign policy focus for the new Chinese leadership,” said Gardner. 

During Professor Gardner’s presentation to an audience of about 50 CIOR participants, he outlined how the looming financial crisis in the U.S. and Europe, coupled with sensitive relations between China and Japan, is adding complexity to maintaining peace and stability along trade routes, both by land and sea, in Central Asia and throughout the Indo-Pacific region. 

“NATO and the Chinese military officials need to talk with each other to see precisely which areas they can work on together, such as the protection of shipping against piracy,” said Gardner.
This fragile backdrop is also colored by China’s quest to build up its economic capacity, which will create a more international competitive environment as countries in the region try to compete with China for guaranteed access to resources, such as petroleum, natural gas, rare minerals and fishing, for example, Gardner explained.  Gardner furthermore speculated that China, in an effort to bolster its emerging middle class, will need to implement more market reforms; this process could create significant domestic socio-political instability. 

“As China rises, I think NATO and Russia need to start talking again,” said Gardner.  “There is a whole range of problems that NATO and Russia need to seriously address as soon as possible….”

Professor Gardner’s presentation not only provided CIOR members with a wealth of information about emerging issues in the Asia-Pacific, but also represents the precursor to his next book, “Surmounting the Global Crisis,” not yet in print. 

This recent briefing was hosted by CIOR. CIOR represents the interests of over 1.3 million reservists across 36 participating nations within and beyond NATO, making it the world’s largest military reserve officer organization.

Photo Released by CIOR/Henry Plimack (USA).

© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers