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Round tables exercise military policy for Pacific

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 00:02

As a part of the Student Conference on National Affairs, 125 student delegates from universities across the nation came together to learn about and discuss U.S. relations in the Pacific from Thursday to Saturday.

The delegates formed 15 round table discussion groups and developed their own policy proposals to deal with a variety of subtopics related to U.S. involvement in the Pacific nation.

Ross Brady, SCONA vice chair and senior urban and regional science major, said part of the conference’s intention was to be an intellectual exercise in addressing the Obama administration’s shift in foreign policy toward the Pacific.

Each round table developed a policy devoted to a specific subtopic of the conference’s goal to evaluate interactions with the Pacific. In addition to Brady’s quick list, the topics ranged from how to tackle cyber warfare, seeking space supremacy, seizing contested land and how to balance rights versus profit.

A policy to promote the U.S. goal of mutual economic benefit with pacific nations through strategic free trade agreements with specific countries is being considered for publishing.

“It’s not a concrete thing,” Brady said. “We are just working with [the Bush School of Government and Public Service] for the potential to publish.”

The resolution outlines a plan of action that involves first seeking ties with Indonesia, then Malaysia and Thailand, in hopes that these connections would open more doors. The policy outlines the possible difficulties in such trade agreements, including tension on the U.S. side of the market resulting from an influx of goods from foreign countries.

Other notable policy papers included the plan to change the U.S. broadcasting system to support better relations.

“I was host, and the proposal that my table had was about changing our broadcasting system that we use in America to get news to the world and making it more internet friendly and making it less radio dependent,” said SCONA chief of staff Jordan Harris.

Marshal Rankin, junior history major, was a part of the round table whose policy paper is being considered for publication. Rankin said the whole event gives future leaders the chance to build the skills that will help create a better world.

“My hope in being so nerdy about all of this stuff is to help our country and spread peace,” Rankin said. “To be honest, I really hope I am able to make a good lasting impact on our country for the better and not have my name mentioned at all in the wake of what all of us leave to our children.”

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