2021 – China, Strategic Challenges Old and New
On December 8, 2021 the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and the American Academy of Diplomacy will co-host a discussion on China and the challenges for a future U.S.-China relationship. Some of the challenges of dealing with China are not new. The regime still has repressive human rights practices, evidenced in China’s treatment of Hong Kong and continued subjugation of the Uyghurs. Likewise, intellectual property (IP) challenges and the issues in the South China Sea are also longstanding, although both have new dimensions. On the other hand, China’s posture vis-a-vis the world has dramatically changed, including in its alignment with Russia and its expanded global engagement from Europe to Africa.
An expert panel will explore elements of this relationship and will be moderated by Academy President, Ambassador Ronald Neumann. Ambassadors Sylvia Stanfield, Craig Allen, and David Shear will make up the panel.
Ambassador (retired) Sylvia Gaye Stanfield was the U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam from 1999-2002 and a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service.
Asia was the focus of much of her 30 plus years with the Foreign Service. Her first overseas assignment was with the then American Embassy in Taipei, Taiwan. As a political track Chinese language officer, she had postings with the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and the American Institute in Taiwan in Taipei. She served on the State Department’s “China desk” at the time of the normalization of U.S. relations with the People’s Republic of China and later headed the Office of Taiwan Coordination Affairs. She was Director of Australian and New Zealand Affairs prior to serving as Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand. Her wide-ranging Washington assignments included those with the Bureau of African Affairs, the Bureau of International Organizations Affairs, the Office of the Inspector General, the Board of Examiners, and the Senior Seminar. She was Diplomat-in-Residence at Florida A&M University and at Spelman College before serving as Senior Advisor for Mentoring Coordination at the Department of State.
Along with continuing involvement in mentoring activities, she is a President of Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA) – an organization founded in the late 1980’s to increase African-Americans’ interest and involvement in international affairs, and a member of the Association of Black American Ambassadors executive committee. She also is a Director of the Miami University (Ohio) Foundation Board, and a past president and current member of the Western College Alumnae Association Board of Trustees.
A native Texan, she earned a B.A. degree in intercultural studies from Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. While an East West Center grantee, she received a M.A. degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii and continued her studies at the University of Hong Kong School of Oriental Studies and Linguistics. After joining the Foreign Service, she did further study in Mandarin and Cantonese at the State Department’s School of Advanced Chinese Language and Area Studies in Taiwan.
On July 26, 2018, Craig Allen began his tenure in Washington, DC, as the sixth President of the United States-China Business Council (USCBC), a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing over 200 American companies doing business with China. Prior to joining USCBC, Craig had a long, distinguished career in US public service.
Craig began his government career in 1985 at the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). He entered government as a Presidential Management Intern, rotating through the four branches of ITA. From 1986 to 1988, he was an international economist in ITA’s China Office.
In 1988, Craig transferred to the American Institute in Taiwan, where he served as Director of the American Trade Center in Taipei. He held this position until 1992, when he returned to the Department of Commerce for a three-year posting at the US Embassy in Beijing as Commercial Attaché.
In 1995, Craig was assigned to the US Embassy in Tokyo, where he served as a Commercial Attaché. In 1998, he was promoted to Deputy Senior Commercial Officer. In 1999, Craig became a member of the Senior Foreign Service.
From 2000, Craig served a two-year tour at the National Center for APEC in Seattle. While there, he worked on the APEC Summits in Brunei, China, and Mexico. In 2002, it was back to Beijing, where Craig served as the Senior Commercial Officer. In Beijing, Craig was promoted to the Minister Counselor rank of the Senior Foreign Service.
After a four-year tour in South Africa, Craig became Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia at the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. He later became Deputy Assistant Secretary for China. Craig was sworn in as the United States ambassador to Brunei Darussalam on December 19, 2014. He served there until July 2018, when he transitioned to President of the US-China Business Council.
Craig received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in Political Science and Asian Studies in 1979. He received a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1985.
Ambassador David Shear is a senior adviser at McLarty Associates, a global strategic advisory firm. He is also chairman of the National Association of Japan-America Societies. He served as assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs from 2014 to 2016, when he performed the duties of principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy. Prior to 2014, Ambassador Shear served for 32 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, most recently as the ambassador to Vietnam. He has also worked 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 deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in 2009-2011. He is the recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and the Defense Department’s Civilian Meritorious Service Award. He was a Rusk fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy from 1998 to 1999. Ambassador Shear graduated from Earlham College and holds a master’s degree in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has attended Waseda University, Taiwan National University, and Nanjing University. He speaks Chinese and Japanese.
Formerly a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Ronald E. Neumann served three times as Ambassador; to Algeria, Bahrain and finally to Afghanistan from July 2005 to April 2007. Before Afghanistan, Mr. Neumann, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, served in Baghdad from February 2004 with the Coalition Provisional Authority and then as Embassy Baghdad’s liaison with the Multinational Command, where he was deeply involved in coordinating the political part of military actions.
Prior to working in Iraq, he was Ambassador in Manama, Bahrain (2001-2004), Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near East Affairs (1997-2000) with responsibility for North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and Ambassador to Algeria (1994 to 1997). He was Director of the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs (Iran and Iraq; 1991 to 1994). Earlier in his career, he was Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and in Sanaa in Yemen, Principal Officer in Tabriz, Iran and Economic/Commercial Officer in Dakar, Senegal. His previous Washington assignments include service as Jordan Desk officer, Staff Assistant in the Middle East (NEA) Bureau, and Political Officer in the Office of Southern European Affairs.
Ambassador Neumann is the author of a memoir, Three Embassies, Four Wars: a personal memoir (2017) and The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan (Potomac Press, 2009), a book on his time in Afghanistan. He has returned to Afghanistan repeatedly and is the author of a number of monographs, articles, and editorials. His writings have focused most heavily on Afghanistan, stabilization, and Bahrain. At the Academy he has focused particularly on efforts to maintain adequate State and USAID budgets and staffing and upgrade professional formation to enable these institutions to carry out their responsibilities. Ambassador Neumann is on the Advisory Board of a non-profit girls’ school in Afghanistan, the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) and the Advisory Board of Spirit of America. He is on the board of the Middle East Policy Council and the Advisory Council of the World Affairs Councils of America.
Ambassador Neumann speaks some Arabic and Dari as well as French. He received State Department Superior Honor Awards in 1993 and 1990. He was an Army infantry officer in Viet Nam and holds a Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantry Badge. In Baghdad, he was awarded the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. He earned a B.A. in history and an M.A. in political science from the University of California at Riverside and is a graduate of the National War College. He is married to the former M. Elaine Grimm. They have two children.