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Pepperdine | School of Public Policy

The Steamboat Institute Campus Liberty Tour at Pepperdine University

chess players of USA and China

Event Details

Wednesday, November 15, 2023
6:30 PM - 8 PM

Willburn Auditorium
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA  


For more information about this event, please email sppevents@pepperdine.edu, or call 310.506.7490.

Is a Cold War between the U.S. and China inevitable?

The Pepperdine School of Public Policy, in partnership with the Steamboat Institute's Campus Liberty Tour, is proud to present a compelling debate on the following: “Be it resolved, a Cold War between the US and China is inevitable.” Arguing the affirmative is Kelley Currie, founding partner of Kilo-Alpha Strategies; senior fellow at the Atlantic Council; former ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues, and the US representative at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Arguing the negative is Max Baucus, former US senator from Montana and former US ambassador to China. The debate will be moderated by Robert Kaufman, Robert and Katheryn Dockson professor of Public Policy at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. 

  Ambassador Max Baucus

Max MaucusFormer United States Senator and Ambassador to China, Max Baucus is a leading voice on business, public policy, and international affairs. In his years as an elected official and diplomat, Baucus was engaged in the most consequential issues of the past half-century and continues to provide counsel as co-founder of the Baucus Group. As Montana's longest-serving senator, Baucus established himself as one of the Senate’s most productive and least partisan members, building a record of accomplishment on a broad range of policy issues both domestic and foreign. As Chair of the Senate Finance Committee for seven years, Baucus served as the principal author and advocate for the Affordable Care Act and led the passage and enactment of Free Trade Agreements with 11 countries and worked to increase US exports by knocking down trade barriers. He was also deeply involved in orchestrating congressional approval of permanent normal trade relations with China in 2000 and in facilitating China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in 2001 and is credited with holding China accountable on issues of intellectual property, human rights and currency.  Baucus currently serves on the board of directors of Ingram Micro and previously served on the board of advisors to Alibaba Group until May of 2019, and the External Advisory Board to the US Central Intelligence Agency until July of 2019.  He now devotes much of his time to the Max S. Baucus Institute at the University of Montana, founded to give young adults opportunities in politics, government, and overseas studies. 

  Ambassador Kelley E. Currie

Kelly CurrieAmbassador Kelley E. Currie is a founding partner of Kilo-Alpha Strategies, a boutique geopolitical advisory firm. Throughout her career in foreign policy, Ambassador Currie has specialized in human rights, political reform, and non- traditional security issues, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region. Ambassador Currie is currently a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, with a joint affiliation to the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Freedom and Prosperity Center. She also serves on the board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy; the board of governors of the East-West Center; and the advisory boards of Spirit of America, the Vandenberg Coalition, and the Global Taiwan Institute. Ambassador Currie was unanimously confirmed in July 2017 as the United States Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and Alternative Representative to the UN General Assembly under Ambassador Nikki Haley. She subsequently was appointed interim senior official in the Department of State’s Office of Global Criminal Justice and confirmed as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and the U.S. Representative at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. From 2009 until her appointment to the USUN leadership, she was a Senior Fellow with the Project 2049 Institute, where she founded and directed the Institute’s Burma Transition Initiative. From 2021-2023, Ambassador Currie was an adjunct senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security’s Indo-Pacific Security Project. She has held additional senior policy positions with the Department of State, U.S. Congress, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Her writing and commentary regularly appear in major media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Foreign Policy, and Just Security. Ambassador Currie received a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center with a focus on International Human Rights Law, and an undergraduate degree cum laude in Political Science from the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. 

  Robert Kaufman

Robert KaufmanRobert G. Kaufman is a political scientist specializing in American foreign policy, national security, international relations, and various aspects of American politics. Kaufman received his JD from Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C., and his BA, MA, M. Phil., and PhD from Columbia University in the city of New York. In May 2016, Kaufman received an LLM in dispute resolution from the Straus Institute at the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law. Kaufman has written frequently for scholarly journals and popular publications, including The Weekly Standard, Policy Review, The Washington Times, the Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Lifezette. He is the author of four books, including his most recent, Dangerous Doctrine: How Obama's Grand Strategy Weakened America (University Press of Kentucky, May 6, 2016). His other publications include In Defense of the Bush Doctrine; a biography, Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics, which received the Emil and Katherine Sick Award for the best book on the history of the Pacific Northwest; and Arms Control During the Pre-Nuclear Era. Kaufman also assisted President Richard M. Nixon in the research and writing of Nixon's final book, Beyond Peace. Kaufman is currently working on a new publication entitled The "Principled Realism" of President Trump—Two Cheers. Kaufman is a former Bradley Scholar and current adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation. He has taught at Colgate University, The Naval War College, and the University of Vermont. 


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This event is made possible by the partnership with the Steamboat Institute