U.S. Ambassador David Shear

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Event Description

A dual crisis haunts America’s Asia policy at a time when China is challenging the United States-led regional order. Early visits to the region by senior Trump administration officials, along with intense attention to the North Korean nuclear problem, point to an illusory continuity in Asia policy. Political squabbling at home and ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rob Washington of the senior attention and resources needed to blunt China’s rise. This is the crisis of strategic distraction. At the same time, an erratic administration has undermined allied confidence in the credibility of our commitments in the Western Pacific, as our friends begin to question America’s long-term reliability as a trustworthy ally. This is the crisis of American credibility. To discuss this important strategic issue, join AmCham for a Morning Briefing on December 1, 2017 with former US Ambassador to Vietnam David B. Shear.

The United States and its allies need all the diplomatic leverage they can muster as a surging China attempts to reshape the Asian region to suit its great power interests. But America’s dual foreign policy crises threaten to squander this leverage. The crisis of strategic distraction invites Beijing to fill the gaps between US commitments in Asia and the insufficient resources we devote to fulfilling those commitments. The crisis of credibility invites our potentially dispirited allies and partners to either sit on the fence or gravitate towards Beijing, opening further gaps for China to fill. Unsurprisingly, China’s President Xi Jinping is already seeking to fill these gaps by portraying China as the new standard-bearer for global free trade and Asian regional order.

Given the current distaste in both Washington and Beijing for an across-the-board confrontation or general war, these crises set the stage for the peaceful erosion of American power in Asia. It doesn’t have to be like this. The right thing for America to do is to implement a strategy of peacetime competition in which we compete for influence with China on the basis of a coherent, whole-of-government strategy designed to maximize our diplomatic and strategic leverage. Our allies and partners can bear with us not by bandwagoning with China, but by helping us close the gaps in American influence. Rather than waiting for Washington to return to normal, allies should be taking the initiative to build their own capabilities and strengthening cooperative ties among themselves.

Agenda

08:30 amRegistration
09:00 amWelcome, Introduction
09:05 amPresentation, followed by Q&A
10:30 amEvent ends

Costs

AmCham Members: VND 650,000 | Non-members: VND 900,000

Reservations/cancellations must be received by 24 hours before the event, and must be made on-line, by email, or by fax. We are unable to accept reservations/cancellations by telephone.

Speaker

David B. Shear, Senior Advisor, advises clients on matters throughout Asia 

He previously served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs from 2014 to 2016, when he performed the duties of Principle Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Prior to 2014, Ambassador Shear served for 32 years in the US Foreign Service, most recently as the US Ambassador to Vietnam. He has also served in Sapporo, Beijing, Tokyo, and Kuala Lumpur. In Washington, Ambassador Shear has served in the Offices of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Affairs and as the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He was Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs in 2008-2009 and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in 2009-2011.

Ambassador Shear was a Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy from 1998-1999. He is the recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and the Defense Department’s Civilian Meritorious Service Award for his work in US-Japan defense relations.

Ambassador 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 attended Waseda University, Tai-wan National University, and Nanjing University, and he speaks Chinese and Japanese.

Steven Okun, Senior Advisor, advises clients on issues throughout Asia. 

The Founder and CEO of APAC Advisors, Mr. Okun is widely considered a leader on corporate public affairs, sustainability and stakeholder engagement in the Asia Pacific region. He also serves as the ASEAN representative for the Emerging Market Private Equity Association (EMPEA).

Living and working in Singapore since 2003, Mr. Okun created and led Asia Pacific public affairs for both global investment firm KKR and global logistics firm UPS, as well as being a leader of multiple business chambers and industry associations, including having been elected three times each as Chairman of both the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC). He remains on the boards of both.

As KKR’s first Director of Asia Pacific Public Affairs, Mr. Okun’s responsibilities encompassed government affairs, communications, stakeholder engagement and environmental and social responsibility issues for KKR, as well as in supporting those efforts for its portfolio companies across the region. In particular, his responsibilities included working on Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) initiatives. Also, he created and led KKR’s impact investing pro bono program, a model for strategic philanthropic engagement for which KKR was awarded the Gold Standard Award for Corporate Citizenship by PublicAffairsAsia.

Mr. Okun led UPS Asia’s public affairs matters on aviation, competition and trade from 2003 until 2010, and before that worked in UPS’Washington, DC office. He was instrumental in UPS Airlines obtaining it first-ever authority to operate in China in 2001.

Mr. Okun served in the Administration of President Bill Clinton as Deputy General Counsel at the US Department of Transportation, being at the Department from 1994 to 1999. For his public service, he was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Special Service Commendation.

He represents and advocates the views of the US business community in Asia, including as a periodic guest host on CNBC. A sought after expert on public affairs, he speaks frequently in the media, at universities, businesses and conferences across the region, as well as is the author of numerous articles. Mr. Okun received his BA from the University of Virginia and his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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