Europeans Confront Challenge of the Pacific
PARIS -The International Institute of Geopolitics (IIG), headed by French neo-conservative Marie-France Garaud, held a conference on April 6-9 in Paris entitled "The Challenge of the Pacific: Western Hopes and Fears." The INS was represented by Allison Thomas of the National Commission on Industrial Innovation and former Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
The meeting reflected the growing European anxiety over the emergence of the Pacific Basin as the dynamic center of the international economy. French President Francois Mitterand, for example, has long believed that only development of the new information technologies born in the U.S. and Japan will enable industrial Europe to remain a significant power into the next century. Mitterand's top advisor, Jacques Attali, told New Perspectives in an interview last Spring that "all the elements for consolidation of a new global economic center now exist in the Pacific Rim - large population and markets, a skilled workforce, capital, technology and energy."
The conference agenda considered economic competition, technological change and the strategic challenge of military control of the region. Participants were asked to project "what the world will look like in the 21st Century" and "which will be the great countries then, and which will be the rejected ones by the third industrial revolution?"
Japanese Fearful of the Future
A companion poll by Gallup confirmed the premises of the gathering. When residents of 10 different countries were asked which countries will count "more" or "less" thirty years from now, China, the US and the Soviet Union received top billing as counting more. Countries quoting themselves as "great" tomorrow were precisely the Pacific Basin nations - Canada, US, Australia, Japan and South Korea. The European countries felt that they would count less in the future.
Other conference participants included MATRA President Jean-Luc Lagardere, former Prime Minister Raymond Barre and Minister of Industry Laurent Fabius of France; Mr. Heinz Riesenhuber, Minister of Research and Technology for West Germany; Saburo Okita, former Minister of Foreign Affairs from Japan and Watura Hiraizumi, director of international affairs for the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party; and Tong-Jin Park, Deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea.
Richard Perle, the Assistant Secretary of Defense and Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ambassador to the U.N., represented the US in the discussion on the strategic importance of the Pacific Basin. Steve Jobs, the Chairman of the Board of Apple Computer, was also present from the US.