This year’s Oksenberg Conference, "Prospects for the New Sino-Russian Partnership,” explores the “why” and “so what” of this newly bolstered alliance that has been declared as a partnership “with no limits.” What does it mean for the U.S. and other non-autocratic states? Given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the unprecedented economic sanctions that the US and its allies have slapped on Russia in the wake of that attack, the more immediately important question is: What does this alliance mean for China? How strong is this new bond with Russia? China now finds itself in an extremely difficult position as it tries to protect its own economic relationships with the US and its allies in Europe and Asia. What can or will China do about Russia? How was this alliance sold to the domestic audience of each country?
A roundtable of experts on China and Russia, including those with extensive government experience, joins us to examine this critically important relationship and address the many questions that it raises. Each panelist will present 10-12 minutes of opening remarks before turning to a moderated discussion. During the last 20 minutes, the moderator will pose curated questions to the roundtable from the audience.
The Oksenberg Conference is held annually and honors the legacy of the late Stanford professor Michel Oksenberg (1938-2001), who was a Senior Fellow at Shorenstein APARC and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Professor Oksenberg also served as a key member of the National Security Council when the U.S. normalized relations with China, and consistently urged that the U.S. engage with Asia in a more considered manner. In tribute, the Oksenberg Lecture recognizes distinguished individuals who have helped to advance understanding between the U.S. and the nations of the Asia-Pacific.
Panelists in alphabetical order:
Una Aleksandra Bērziņa-Čerenkova is a political scientist, China scholar, Head of Political Science Doctoral Programme and China Studies Centre at Rīga Stradiņš University, Head of the Asia program at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, a member of the China in Europe Research Network (CHERN) and European Think Tank Network on China (ETNC). She has held a Senior visiting research scholar position at Fudan University School of Philosophy, Shanghai, China, and a Fulbright visiting scholar position at the Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University. Bērziņa-Čerenkova publishes on PRC political discourse, contemporary Chinese ideology, EU-China relations, Russia-China, and BRI and her most recent monograph is Perfect Imbalance: China and Russia.
Thomas Fingar is the former first Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, currently at Stanford as a Shorenstein APARC Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. From 2005-2008, he served as the first Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and, concurrently, as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Fingar previously served as Assistant Secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2000-2001 and 2004-2005), Principal Deputy Assistant (2001-2003), Deputy Assistant Secretary for Analysis (1994-2000), Director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (1989-1994), and Chief of the China Division (1986-1989). Fingar's most recent books are Uneasy Partnerships: China and Japan, the Koreas, and Russia in the Era of Reform (Stanford, 2017), Fateful Decisions: Choices that will Shape China’s Future, co-edited with Jean Oi (Stanford, 2020), and From Mandate to Blueprint: Lessons from Intelligence Reform (Stanford, 2021)
Alex Gabuev is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research is focused on Russia's policy toward East and Southeast Asia, political and ideological trends in China, and China's relations with its neighbors—especially those in Central Asia. Prior to joining Carnegie, Gabuev was a member of the editorial board of Kommersant publishing house and served as deputy editor in chief of Kommersant-Vlast, one of Russia's most influential newsweeklies. He has previously worked as a nonresident visiting research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and taught courses on Chinese energy policy and political culture at Moscow State University. Gabuev is a Munich Young Leader of Munich International Security Conference and a member of Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (Russia).
Michael McFaul is Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies in the Department of Political Science, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. McFaul is also an International Affairs Analyst for NBC News and a columnist for The Washington Post. He served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014). He has authored several books, most recently the New York Times bestseller From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia. Earlier books include Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can; Transitions To Democracy: A Comparative Perspective (eds. with Kathryn Stoner); Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (with James Goldgeier); and Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin.
Evan Medeiros is a Professor and Penner Family Chair in Asia Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and former top advisor on the Asia-Pacific in the Obama Administration, responsible for coordinating U.S. policy toward the Asia-Pacific across the areas of diplomacy, defense policy, economic policy, and intelligence. Prior to joining the White House, Medeiros worked for seven years as a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and served at the Treasury Department as a Policy Advisor-China to Secretary Hank Paulson Jr., working on the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. Medeiros is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a member of the International Advisory Board of Cambridge University's Centre for Geopolitics, and a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jean Oi (Moderator) is the William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics in the Department of Political Science and a Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University. She also directs the China Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at FSI and is the founding Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University. Oi has published extensively on political economy and the process of reform in China. Her books include State and Peasant in Contemporary China: The Political Economy of Village Government and Rural China Takes Off: Institutional Foundations of Economic Reform. Recent edited volumes include Zouping Revisited: Adaptive Governance in a Chinese County, co-edited with Steven Goldstein, and Fateful Decisions: Choices That Will Shape China's Future, co-edited with Thomas Fingar.