Speaker: Weitz, R. (Hudson Institute)
Date: 9 May 2019
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Richard Weitz (Hudson Institute) as a part of its Future of Global Competition & Conflict Speaker Series. During his presentation, Dr. Weitz discussed his observations from last month’s Moscow Security Conference, a Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs conference, and the security sub-forum at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference in March. He first stated that the topics discussed during the 2019 Moscow Security Conference did not differ much from those of the 2018 conference. Despite this, one key difference that he highlighted was Russia’s increased ability to communicate its key messages. Dr. Weitz explained that Russia would like for this conference to become one of the standard conferences that all local Defense Ministers attend each year. He then discussed the format of the conference, as well as some of the major topics covered. Some of such topics included: 1) US withdrawal from various security agreements; 2) NATO’s build up of forces in areas, such as the Baltics and the Black Sea; 3) US “promotion of regime change and usage of humanitarian justifications to legitimize its activities abroad”; 4) Russian and US intervention in the Middle East; and 5) US efforts to restrict the world to a more unipolar system. Dr. Weitz also provided some highlights from attending the countries’ prime ministers’ speeches. He then identified the primary topics discussed during a Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs conference. Topics included: 1) the Venezuelan crisis, 2) how Russians are thinking about future types of conflict, and 3) missile defense. Dr. Weitz also spoke about the BFA conference held in China. He stated that China is not quite sure what President Trump wants or what China should do to ease the security situation. Furthermore, he highlighted that China held meetings during this conference which deliberately excluded Russia so that China would not be perceived as trying to team up with Russia and/or trying to turn against the US. To conclude, Dr. Weitz spoke about the growing Russian-Chinese security dialogue, its concrete manifestations, and its implications for US national security.