Dou­glas Paal warns about ‘mega­phone diplo­macy’ BIO

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­

Dou­glas Paal, vice-pres­i­dent for stud­ies at the Carnegie En­dow­ment for In­ter­na­tional Peace, is deeply wor­ried that strate­gic com­pe­ti­tion is tak­ing over the China-US re­la­tion­ship.

The China ex­pert has watched and par­tic­i­pated in USChina re­la­tions in the past four decades in a ca­reer at the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency, the State Depart­ment, the US em­bassy in Bei­jing, the Amer­i­can In­sti­tute in Tai­wan and JPMor­gan Chase In­ter­na­tional.

“That’s what needs to be ad­justed. We need to find a way to chan­nel that strate­gic com­pe­ti­tion into a non-con­flict­ing set of poli­cies as much as pos­si­ble,” Paal said in an in­ter­view with China Daily.

Such a goal, Paal be­lieves, can be achieved since even the Soviet Union and the United States found a way to have their ships sail around each other and not get into con­flict.

To Paal, it’s nat­u­ral for China to de­velop its mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties, but it’s also nat­u­ral for the US to re­main in the Pa­cific. “We just have to find a way to not let that turn into strate­gic com­pe­ti­tion. Right now it’s turn­ing into strate­gic com­pe­ti­tion,” he warned.

Ten­sions over the East China Sea and South China Sea, China’s an­nounce­ment of the East China Sea Air De­fense Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Zone (ADIZ) and cy­ber se­cu­rity have be­come the fo­cal points in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

Such is­sues have dis­tracted the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion into talk­ing only about the neg­a­tives, Paal said.

“They have taken the view that speak­ing loudly is im­por­tant. Speak­ing loudly only wors­ens the at­mos­phere for co­op­er­a­tion,” he said, de­scrib­ing the style as “mega­phone diplo­macy”.

To Paal, the sixth China-US Strate­gic and Eco­nomic Di­a­logue (S&ED) to be held in Bei­jing in early July will be a good chance to put things back on track. But he is wor­ried that there doesn’t seem to be any­one in charge of the China pol­icy in the White House now, un­like Tom Donilon, the na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor in the first Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, or Hank Paulson, the Trea­sury sec­re­tary un­der Ge­orge W. Bush.

He de­scribed the re­cent in­dict­ment of five People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army of­fi­cers by the US Jus­tice Depart­ment for al­leged cy­ber theft as a “non-strate­gic move” and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to the ef­fort to get the is­sue un­der con­trol. “This tells me that there is no­body in charge,” said Paal, who served both Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic pres­i­dents.

He said Su­san Rice, the na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor, needs to fly to China now and talk to Chi­nese lead­ers about what the US is re­ally try­ing to do, shar­ing both con­cerns and prospects for fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion. Co­her­ent pol­icy

Paal be­lieves a co­her­ent pol­icy and a bet­ter at­mos­phere will send a sig­nal to the US bu­reau­cracy that this is some­thing that the ad­min­is­tra­tion wants to make work suc­cess­fully, in­stead of just car­ry­ing on some dis­putes in an­other fo­rum in Bei­jing, re­fer­ring to the S&ED.

A critic of Obama’s re­cent for­eign pol­icy speech at the West Point, Paal be­lieves the White House should state clearly that power shifts are tak­ing place around the world and the US has no rea­son to panic.

“But we have rea­son to be care­ful in how we ad­dress the other pow­ers in the world, so that we don’t put our­selves in a strate­gic com­pe­ti­tion that will waste vast for­tunes of tax money,” he said.

Paal be­lieves the US should also state that it is go­ing to be more ac­com­mo­dat­ing in the fu­ture to other pow­ers, but the US has cer­tain prin­ci­ples it hopes to per­suade other pow­ers to ac­cept. And the US hopes China, Rus­sia and In­dia will sup­port cer­tain in­sti­tu­tions and le­gal norms that have been very suc­cess­ful in man­ag­ing con­flicts and pros­per to­gether un­der that sys­tem.

Paal dis­agreed with the think­ing by many Chi­nese that the US is try­ing to con­tain China. How­ever, he said he un­der­stood why people would think like that. “Part of the con­tri­bu­tion is the ar­tic­u­la­tion of the Amer­i­can pol­icy to­ward China has been largely neg­a­tive and through mega­phones, not per­sua­sion,” he said. China con­nec­tion

Paal got in­ter­ested in Asia and China at an early age. He re­called that as a child at his par­ents’ farm in Penn­syl­va­nia there was a monastery type of fa­cil­ity next to the farm where priests were be­ing trained in Chi­nese and Ja­panese lan­guages.

“I used to go there to use their swim­ming pool. I think they were say­ing to me: ‘Go to Asia, go to Asia,’” Paal said.

How­ever, what re­ally got him in­ter­ested in Asia and China was the Viet­nam War, when he was an un­der­grad­u­ate at Brown Univer­sity. With a good chance of be­ing drafted, he wanted to find out why the US was fight­ing there. And he found a China con­nec­tion. In those years, China was ac­tively sup­port­ing the com­mu­nist move­ment in South­east Asia.

“The more I stud­ied, the more in­ter­ested I got in Chi­nese his­tory, Ja­panese his­tory,” Paal re­called.

He de­cided to pur­sue a PhD in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at Har­vard Univer­sity. Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, Paal was re­cruited by the CIA in 1976 when Ge­orge H. W. Bush was the di­rec­tor un­der Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford. He stayed on when Jimmy Carter be­came pres­i­dent and ex­pressed deep in­ter­est in de­vel­op­ing a re­la­tion­ship with China.

Paal, still a young man, was made deputy na­tional in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer for China at that time and be­came very in­volved in the nor­mal­iza­tion of re­la­tions be­tween China and the US.

His CIA iden­tity was overt, even dur­ing his post at the US em­bassy in Bei­jing in 1980 when he was bor­rowed by the State Depart­ment.

Paal then worked for two years in Sin­ga­pore be­fore join­ing the State Depart­ment’s pol­icy plan­ning staff, work­ing on pa­pers and speeches.

He was cho­sen in 1986 by the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil (NSC) to be re­spon­si­ble for the Chi­nese main­land and Tai­wan. He be­came the se­nior di­rec­tor for Asia at NSC soon af­ter Ge­orge H. W. Bush be­came pres­i­dent. Joins JPMor­gan Chase

Paal founded the Asia Pa­cific Pol­icy Cen­ter in the mid 1990s. It was a non-profit re­search or­ga­ni­za­tion fo­cus­ing on in­tro­duc­ing mem­bers of the Congress to Asia. But the cen­ter died and in 2002 he be­came in 2002 di­rec­tor of the Amer­i­can In­sti­tute in Tai­wan (AIT), a non­profit, pub­lic cor­po­ra­tion un­der the aus­pices of the US govern­ment to serve its in­ter­ests in Tai­wan.

It was the last leg of Paal’s govern­ment ca­reer. In 2006, he was soon in­vited to join JPMor­gan Chase In­ter­na­tional as its vicechair­man.


Vice-Pres­i­dent for Stud­ies, Carnegie En­dow­ment for In­ter­na­tional Peace

• PhD, His­tory and East Asian Lan­guages, Har­vard Univer­sity AM, AB, Chi­nese Stud­ies and Asian His­tory, Brown Univer­sity Carnegie En­dow­ment for In­ter­na­tional Peace, vi­cepres­i­dent for stud­ies (2008-Present) JPMor­gan Chase In­ter­na­tional, vicechair­man (2006-2008) Amer­i­can In­sti­tute in Tai­wan, di­rec­tor (20022006) On the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil staffs of Pres­i­dents Rea­gan and Ge­orge H. W. Bush, as di­rec­tor of Asian Af­fairs and then as se­nior di­rec­tor and spe­cial as­sis­tant to the pres­i­dent be­tween 1986 and 1993 • US State Depart­ment, po­si­tions in the pol­icy plan­ning staff, se­nior an­a­lyst for the CIA, and at US em­bassies in Sin­ga­pore and Bei­jing

A sought-af­ter ex­pert on China, Paal has been busy trav­el­ing for var­i­ous meet­ings on China. He ad­mit­ted that he has trav­eled too much this year.

“There has been a big in­ter­est in China in the last two years,” said Paal, sit­ting in his of­fice at the Carnegie En­dow­ment for In­ter­na­tional Peace on Mas­sachusetts Av­enue re­cently, just hours be­fore tak­ing off to Tas­ma­nia for a con­fer­ence.


Dou­glas Paal, vice-pres­i­dent for stud­ies at the Carnegie En­dow­ment for In­ter­na­tional Peace, talks to China Daily in a June in­ter­view in his of­fice in Wash­ing­ton.

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