The London Conference

Plenary Session One: Stemming the Spread of Conflict: Strategies and Instruments for Dealing with Geopolitical Competition

Thursday 21 June, 1045 - 1145

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The context
The United States has moved away from a definition of interest based on leadership and a degree of geopolitical philanthropy to one founded on securing transactional advantage. China under Xi Jinping is emerging as a great power in the traditional mould, mixing global economic engagement with regional strategic revisionism. Restraints on the assertiveness of Russia have weakened dramatically.  Iran and Saudi Arabia are conducting an open if indirect struggle for supremacy across the Middle East.  North Korea‚Äôs progress towards an intercontinental nuclear capability is raising urgent questions about the vulnerabilities that the United States and Japan are willing to tolerate. International and regional security institutions are proving weak in the face of these challenges.  In the cracks of the international system, there is ample room for non-state armed groups and terrorists to form and adapt.

The conversation
In this evolving situation, what measures can be taken to lessen the risk of conflict and enhance cooperation? How is statecraft to be conceived? What balances will need to be struck between diplomacy, deterrence and detente?  How can a clear international legal framework concerning diverse cyber-attack scenarios be developed? Given the failure of governments to stem conflict, what active roles do international organisations, governments, businesses and NGOs have to play?

 

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