Foreign policy expert talks international future

Foreign policy expert and internationally published columnist C. Raja Mohan visited the Geneseo campus on Wednesday to discuss the unpredictable future between the United States and "rising Asia."

Mohan, the Henry A. Kissinger chair in foreign policy and international relations at the John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress, spoke to a diverse group of students, faculty and staff on the many possibilities that could arise as Asia, particularly China and India, continue to grow economically.

"What is happening today is an unprecedented historical shift of power from the West to the East and it's a rapid shift," Mohan said. "We call it the Great Reverse. These are two very large states and economies that are trying to devise their own sense of where they belong on an international scale."

Mohan organized his talk around five major points: the changing distribution power in international system, regionalism in Asia, the impact of U.S. military and alliances, U.S. policy and strategy towards Asia and the transforming India-China relationship.

Mohan noted that the exceptional growth within Asia presents a "potential conflict within Asia itself." It also, however, presents innumerable opportunities.

"The rise of Asia creates new options but also opens up interesting options for America," Mohan said. "It is not clear what role the United States should play [in] it or how it should handle this situation."

Though much of Mohan's presentation was very hypothetical, he did stress that the U.S. will remain among the top powers in the international system.

"There is no question that the United States will be a central power for a long time," Mohan said. "China and India are not in the place to create the same university system that we have, for example. While America might not have the same power it has enjoyed for decades, it will still be among the most powerful."

Mohan left ample time for an interactive question-and-answer session with the audience. Students in attendance said they generally found the discussion intriguing and timely.

"I found it really interesting, especially since I'm Indian," said freshman Abhishek Naik. "It's also a very relevant topic in our current international climate."

Freshman Rino Ito agreed: "I found it really interesting as well, particularly because I am Japanese. It will be interesting to see where we are in a few years."

Mohan has been published in the Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo) and the Oriental Morning Post (Shanghai). He is currently a visiting professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.