Western truth, Chinese truth: the Transatlantic Alliance and the Challenge of China

The Tocqueville Foundation – June 19th, 2020

Following the postponement of the third edition of The Tocqueville Conversations, a very rich discussion was nevertheless held on Friday, June 19, in the form of a videoconference. Moderated by Ana Palacio (former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain), this conversation brought together Andrew A Michta (Dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center), Pavel Fischer (President of the Commission for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Senate) and David Goldman (Essayist and Investor, Asian Times. Author of “You will be assimilated, China’s Plan to Sino-form the World”) on the following topic: Western truth, Chinese truth: The Transatlantic Alliance and the Challenge of China. As we go through a particularly trying year, as Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville pointed out by way of introduction, China’s role on the world stage is increasingly being questioned.
Indeed, Andrew Michta started the discussion by recalling that since the end of the Cold War, China had become the main challenge for the United States and its European allies, first from a political and commercial point of view, and now militarily speaking. The fact that China is currently increasing its military force, coupled with the fact that its main ally remains Russia, requires the West to radically rethink its relations with China. While this is not a recent issue, the coronavirus crisis has shaken the world order and compressed the timeline.
David Goldman then insisted on the historic period we are experiencing today. According to him, the only way to avoid a dangerous Chinese assimilation is to build a transatlantic program designed to accelerate the development of technology (including research on hardware and artificial intelligence), in order to keep the West ahead from China. If the US is willing to invest money in this area and to set up ambitious partnerships with Europe, there is still time to outcompete China.
Pavel Fischer, on the other hand, reiterated the need for a united and coherent Europe in its approach to China. To this end, he pointed out that we still lack knowledge and expertise on Chinese culture and society, its history and language, which is not conducive to making good decisions. Today more than ever, Europe also needs an elite capable of thinking in a way that puts the common interests of the member states back at the center. According to them all, the coronavirus crisis proved that the countries forming the Transatlantic Alliance were too dependent on China and needed to work on reversing this harmful trend. Indeed, multilateralism will not be an option as long as China refuses to comply with international guidelines, including health regulations. That is the reason why Western governments have to be able to propose effective and profitable alternatives to companies currently dealing with China so that they can fall back on existing national potentials.

Sophie Cabanis

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Speech by Dr. Douglas Jackson

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Prince’s Roundtable on Philanthropy

Conversations 2019

The Tocqueville
Conversations on “The Future of Nations” were held on June 28 and 29,
under the aegis of Alexis de Tocqueville at Tocqueville Château.

This event was a great
success with 200 guests from many countries of the world, gathered in this
“little corner of isolated land, lost in the hedges and meadows of our
Normand bocage”, as Tocqueville wrote in his time about his beloved

The Château de
Tocqueville was the scene of lively exchanges. We wanted to address the crisis
of democracy from a different perspective, by focusing our gaze on « The
Future of Nations ». For years, nations seemed condemned to become ever
weaker. The nation was a dying concept, destined to melt away. The emergence of
supranational institutions and transnational structures undermined the very
sovereignty of the nation states. Nations, however, seem to be making a
comeback these days as the « Home to defend » from the disruption of
globalization. We need look no further than the America First, Italy First, and
« Brexit » Movements for confirmation. Nations are suddenly being
seen as a protective structure in a world where nothing seems stable.

Our purpose, therefore, was to evaluate the relevance
of nations in tackling the multiple challenges facing our democracies, giving a
special focus to the big issue of the moment, immigration and borders. Coming
just after the results of the European elections, this concern was particularly
relevant. We also devoted attention to the role of nations in the international
system, and the limits to that role, in our new and growingly abrasive
multipolar world. We intended to take a special look at the relationship between
nations and global business. We also addressed the relevance of the Western
world and the transatlantic relationship, as their position and democratic
systems are becoming more and more challenged by rising authoritarian regimes,
most notably China. 

If you want to read more about the event:

To watch videos about the event:

Normandie pour la Paix

On June 4, 2019, the 2nd edition of the Normandy Peace Forum gathered 5000 participants around the theme “Peace-makers”. The Tocqueville Foundation was invited to organize a debate focusing on “Education, an agent of peace”.

Three French personalities were gathered to discuss the subject in front of about a hundred participants: Florent Bonaventure, Director of Studies and Communication, Campus France, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Benedicte de Saint-Pierre, Vice-President Europe and Middle East of the United Way Association and Olivier Sidokpohou, Inspector General at the Ministry of National Education.

Françoise Mélonio, Professor Emeritus, Sorbonne University, moderator of the debate, introduced the round table by recalling the importance that Alexis de Tocqueville attached to Education, Education in all its forms, through teaching but also through practice.

One by one, the speakers explained how primary schools, secondary schools, higher education or associations could participate in making Education a factor of peace.

Olivier Sidokpohou first shared two observations made as a teacher and then as Inspector General: the persistence of gender inequalities in some subjects from primary school onwards and the existence of violence often due to a lack of expression of feelings and frustration. This expression can be allowed by the teaching of theatre, or argued speeches. He also expressed doubts about French positive discrimination policy.

Bénédicte de Saint-Pierre then presented the actions of United Way in Europe, an association that supports students in priority neighbourhoods in developing their academic and professional careers. She underlined the importance for students to discover the professional world and to develop personally in parallel with the subjects taught at school, the role to be played by families in their academic and professional careers, and the need to coordinate associative actions with school curricula.

Finally, Florent Bonaventure, after having made a quantified inventory of student exchanges between France and the international community, demonstrated the economic contributions of a foreign student in a country, the success of the Erasmus program and its cultural impact, as well as the role to be played by countries in international student exchanges.

Several exchanges were then held on the subject of teachers’ self-confidence and confidence in their students, on the subject of teachers’ mobility and international exchanges, on the subject of gender diversity, which can accentuate gender differentiation.


Speech by Paul Polman