The Asia-Pacific Region’s Flashpoints: An Update

Brad Glosserman Executive Director Pacific Forum, CSIS

Brad Glosserman
Executive Director
Pacific Forum, CSIS

Pacific Forum CSIS’s Executive Director, Brad Glosserman, reviews with David Day the key tense and potentially dangerous security Flashpoints that the Asia-Pacific Region now faces.


Asia Pacific Region

Asia Pacific Region

The conversation places these Flashpoints in the context of the rising economic dynamism of the Region, the re-focus of the “whole of government and business” into the Region and its need for stability and security. Potential border spillover Flashpoints are considered with (1)  the ethnic violence in Myanmar,(2) the latest developments in the South China Sea disputes (including the possibility of China now dragging Malaysia into the fray, in addition to the Philippines and Vietnam), (3) China’s dispute with Japan over the Senkakus, and (4) the current situation with the enhanced bellicose rhetoric coming out of North Korea.


Hosted by David Day

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The Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies: Impacting the Region from Hawaii

The Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, that collection of buildings next to the Halekoa parking garage in Waikiki and one of Hawaii’s intellectual pillars vis.a.vis Asia.

Lt. General Dan Leaf Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies

Lt. General Dan Leaf
Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies

Hosted by David Day, our special guest is Lt General (USAF ret.) Dan Leaf, Director, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Waikiki.

David Day and Lt General (USAF ret.) Dan Leaf, Director, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Waikiki discuss APCSS, what goes on at this institution, its impact on the Region, and why the Center is important.

The conversation includes an overview of some of the courses and workshops that APCSS undertakes along with its increasing role in the policy of “rebalance” in the Pacific.  Looking to the future direction of APCSS, Lt. Gen. Leaf discusses the initial defense engagement with a representative of the Burmese military at APCSS and his belief that the Center will play an increasing role with the U.S. engagement with Burma. He also talks about the visit of Aung San Suu Kyi to the Center and discusses the important role of women in the field of peace & security. .

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Myanmar and Its Struggle on the Way Ahead

     The dramatic reforms currently underway in Myanmar have grabbed headlines, but it is not yet clear whether progress is real or simply imagined. Western perceptions of the leadership situation in Myanmar are clouded by vested interests and myths that may prove harmful in the long run. Ethnic strife, and religious and political tensions, have been exacerbated by a variety of internal and external forces. The result is continued—and potentially increasing–violence. Conversely, there is reason to be optimistic, and there are bridges between Hawaii and Myanmar that are being built through business, education, and non-governmental organizations.


In this program, David Day hosts Ms. Paula Helfrich, born and raised as a child in Myanmar, and now again living in that country. Ms. Helfrich comes from a family history of expertise in Burma and Myanmar with her father having served in the country as an OSS officer during WW II and both her parents were invited back by the provisional government following the war to assist in rebuilding the country. Paula was born in Myanmar, lived there the first 17 years of her life, and then returned to live there again in 2009. 


Paula Helfrich

Paula Helfrich


     Ms. Helfrich engages in a discussion, along with Kerry Gershaneck of Pacific Forum CSIS, concerning the current conditions on the ground in Myanmar, what it is like doing business there, and the attitudes of the Myanmar people towards the United States. The discussion is very frank on the official policy of the United States, insisting on calling Myanmar, “Burma” and the impediment that policy imposes for undertaking legal contracts as well as the distaste that the people have for the use of the wrong name. Ms. Helfrich also addresses the  singular focus of the international media,  the State Department, and U.S. political leaders, on  Daw Aung Sung Suu Kyi to the exclusion of other political leaders within the country. Finally, Ms. Helfrich describes the real impetus behind the shift of the Junta to the path of reform and why it all came together when it did.

Kerry Gershaneck Pacific Forum CSIS

Kerry Gershaneck
Pacific Forum CSIS

     Ms. Helfrich comments critically upon  the “stick and carrot” approach of the United States towards the country, its successes and failures.  Mr. Gershaneck adds important depth to the discussion concerning important history of the Junta’s rise, its arms trading with North Korea, and the drug and human trafficking. Both engage in a discussion about the current U.S. sanctions, the various programs and policies of the U.S. government now  into place to assist Myanmar with the upcoming 2015 elections, the country’s upcoming leadership of ASEAN and the ethnic challenges Myanmar now faces. The conversation concludes with a view of what Myanmar will look like at the coming 5 and 10-year marks.

Hosted by David Day

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Assisting American Business in Asia

An in-depth interview with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia, Craig Allen. Hosted for Hawaii statewide television by David Day, this program explores the role of the the U.S. Department of Commerce in facilitating American business in Asian markets.

The show covers the significance of exports, initiatives for tourism, special business opportunities that are coming, the significance of the U.S. Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and its impact upon the U.S. and Hawaii, in particular. Interestingly, the conversation also turns to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and special issues involving trade between the U.S. and China.

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Hawaii’s Bridge to the New Burma

A probing discussion on the changes and reforms Myanmar is undergoing along with the very unusual links that Hawaii has with this country. The conversation includes a look at the potential for American business in Burma/Myanmar.


Shwedagon Pagoda Yangon

Yangon Pagoda

Strategic Location



This television show, aired statewide in Hawaii, is hosted by international business lawyer David Day with 2 special guests recently returning from Myanmar: Professor Miemie Byrd of the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (a Burmese-American with family in Myanmar today) and Karen Knudsen, the Director of External Affairs for Hawaii’s East West Center.


Ms. Byrd & Knudsen @ NLD Shop


Democracy’s Road

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Analysis of Developments in Burma/Myanmar & Visit with Suu Kyi


 Ralph Cossa, the President of Pacific Forum, CSIS, engages with “Asia in Review” television host and commentator David Day in a lively discussion and analysis of the recent reforms and changes in Burma.

Suu Kyi Intro Ralph Cossa, NLD Hq 2002

Suu Kyi Intro Ralph Cossa, NLD Hq 2002

Ralph Cossa @ NLD Hq, Yangon, Burma 2002



During the show,  Mr. Cossa’s discusses his interesting personal visit with Aung San Suu Kyi.


Ralph Cossa & Aung San Suu Kyi 2002

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