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Recent events, such as tensions with North Korea and Vice-President Pence’s visit to the region, confirm that that United States has not forgotten about Asia. But the key question is: does the Trump Administration have a strategy, or is it just reacting to events? There remains uncertainty about how Washington will deal with deep strategic challenges, such as China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea. In this public seminar, two prominent US security experts will offer their assessments of the region’s chief strategic problems and what the US can and should do. This will include insights from new research by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Chinese maritime coercion and how it can be countered.
David B Shear was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia-Pacific Security Affairs between September 2014 and June 2016, and Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy between September 2014 and January 2017. He was previously US Ambassador to Vietnam and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Mr Shear joined the US Foreign Service in 1982. He has served in Sapporo, Beijing, Tokyo, and Kuala Lumpur. In Washington, he has served in the Offices of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Affairs and as the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. Mr Shear was Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs during 2008-2009 and was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary in September of 2009. He was a Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy during 1998-99 and is the recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and the Defense Department’s Civilian Meritorious Service Award for his work on US-Japan defense relations. Mr Shear graduated from Earlham College and has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has also attended Waseda University, Taiwan National University and Nanjing University. Mr Shear has a first degree rank in the practice of Kendo, or Japanese fencing. He speaks Chinese and Japanese.
Dr Zack Cooper is Senior Fellow for Asian security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Dr Cooper has authored numerous CSIS studies, including Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025: Capabilities, Presence, and Partnerships (CSIS, 2016); The ANZUS Alliance in an Ascending Asia (Australian National University, 2015); Federated Defense in Asia (CSIS, 2014); Assessing the Asia-Pacific Rebalance (CSIS, 2014); and Strategic Japan: New Approaches to Foreign Policy and the U.S.-Japan Alliance (CSIS, 2014). His research has also appeared in Security Studies, the Washington Quarterly, the National Interest, and International Security, and he works closely with the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. Prior to joining CSIS, Dr Cooper worked as a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He previously served on the White House staff as assistant to the Deputy National Security Adviser for combating terrorism. He also worked as a civil servant in the Pentagon, first as a foreign affairs specialist and then as a special assistant to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. He received a B.A. from Stanford University and an MPA, MA, and PhD from Princeton University. His doctoral dissertation, entitled ‘Tides of Fortune: The Rise and Decline of Great Militaries,’ explains how changing perceptions of relative power alter national defense policies.