2014 Themes

Opening Session

Thierry de Montbrial, President and founder of the WPC
Park Geun-Hye, President of the Republic of Korea

Session I. The Organisation of Security in East Asia and Europe

In Asia, the major development has been the rise of China, which caused all players in the region to reposition themselves, in particular with respect to the United States, while the wounds inflicted by History remain unhealed. Unlike Europe, East Asia did not inherit any security-related structures from the past. In Europe, however, those that exist could be destroyed by the Ukrainian crisis, nearly forty years after the Helsinki Conference. How can the potentially-disastrous developments of the day be countered in order to maintain peace on the Eurasian continent?

Session II. The Outlook for the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia

This session will pick up where the previous one left off, focusing on Northeast Asia and the future of the Korean peninsula. In particular, we will endeavour to review the reunification scenarios and diplomatic initiatives, especially those put forth by Korea, likely to facilitate them.

Session III. Inequalities and Globalisation

The rampant rise of inequalities has stirred lively discussion across all continents and provides fodder to all those opposed to globalisation and, more broadly speaking, capitalism. During this session, we will aim to lay out the problem and identify the governance measures most appropriate and attainable in this area. The session will give pride of place to the institutional points of view (OECD and IMF).

Session IV. Conversation with Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia

Session V. Africa in a Global Setting

Africa is one of the recurring themes of WPC events. While the continent’s development prospects remain considerable, it is important not to underestimate the difficulties with which it is grappling, including epidemics and, in some States, terrorism. Emphasis this year will be placed on relations between Africa and Asia.

Session VI. Geopolitics and Geo-economics in Eurasia

Questions around Eurasia have attracted a great deal of attention over the past quarter-century. However, there is no single definition as to what the term implies. The Eurasian continent can be described in geographic terms as one extending from the European coastline in the west to the Eastern fronts of Russia and China in the East. However, this is by no means what Russia has in mind when it refers to an Eurasian Union. The latter’s purely geopolitical view can be likened to the Monroe Doctrine. Meanwhile, Korea has taken a rather geo-economic perspective, looking first and foremost to the construction or reconstruction of lines or groupings with trade purposes. The aim of this session will be to clarify the intentions underpinning each project.

Session VII. Trade and Policy

Commercial affairs, in the broad sense of the term, have always been a central part of international relations and always interfered with security issues. In our day and age, as a result of globalization, economic exchanges have gone largely beyond commercial exchanges (services, capital flows, direct investments, etc.) and form a more and more tightly-meshed network. The objective of this session will be to: consider the economic and political implications of today’s waning multi-lateralism alongside the mushrooming of often-competing bilateral agreements; take stock of the major negotiations underway, such as the TTIP and TPP; and also to address the problem of economic arms (sanctions) in international relations.

Session VIII. The Middle East in a Global Setting

Since the last WPC in Monaco, the situation has consistently deteriorated in the Middle East, with the unexpected emergence of the “Islamic State”. The aim of this session will be to: explain this strategic surprise; analyse the behaviour of the main players, both outside the region (including the United States, the European Union and Russia) and inside (Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Israel); take stock of the nuclear negotiations underway with Iran; and last but not least, exchange views on what lies ahead. One particular painful aspect of this dramatic situation, the future of the Christian minorities, should be discussed.

Session IX. The Economic and Political Consequences of the Big Data Revolution

The Big Data revolution is turning each and every business model on end. Where industrial organisation is concerned, it holds a risk that industrial companies (in the broadest sense of the term, in other words, including for instance insurance companies or, more generally speaking, service companies) are fated to be dependent on a Big Brother like Google. From the political standpoint, one of the main issues has to do with the relations between Big Brothers and Nations themselves, first and foremost, the United States. The question of Big Data necessarily calls for the issue of State industrial policies to be reframed. In particular, are we headed for a duopoly between China and the United States in these areas?

Session X. Conversation about the Role of China-US Relations in the World Order

Session XI. Open Discussion

As has become traditional at this annual event, the final plenary session will be dedicated to open discussion about the latest news and topics discussed during the conference.