ISU Student Invited to Prestigious China Conference
Fall 2009 Issue | By Andy Taylor
Idaho State University’s doctoral political science student Jason Blazevic was the only student who was invited to participate in an intensive multinational “East Asia Security Symposium” workshop this June in Beijing, China.
It's a 5,962-mile straight line from Pocatello to Beijing, a considerable distance even when airline transfers work out. It's a really long trip when they don’t.
On his way to the symposium Blazevic experienced delays in Los Angeles and Shanghai. At the latter, he missed his connection to Beijing and was provided a hotel room. When he arrived a day late at his city destination, no one was there to pick him up.
“I had a picture of the university and I gave it to a taxi driver and he found it,” said Blazevic, who does not speak Chinese. “After I arrived at the university, I walked around for a half-hour looking for somebody to understand me. It was very hot, in the 90s, and humid. But I did eventually make it to the administration building and found someone who could talk to me and direct me to the conference and my hotel.”
Once he actually arrived at the workshop held in June in Beijing, China, after some “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” moments, Blazevic had a fascinating learning experience.
The resourcefulness he displayed in his travel to the conference could be an indication of why he was the only student invited to it.
The workshop, on the theme “Energy Security as a Tenant of National Security,” was hosted by China Foreign Affairs University’s Center for Strategic and Conflict Management in Beijing and was sponsored by University of New Haven. It featured a variety of military, foreign affairs and academic experts from throughout China, and 20 similar global experts from throughout the world visiting the country.
“The constant theme throughout the entire conference was China’s rise and the international and domestic security issues that go along with it,” Blazevic said. “China’s GNP (gross national product) has to grow 9 percent every year just to employ everybody that needs a job.
“It puts stresses on the Communist Party, which promises to provide materialism and employment, but only little political freedom. There is a constant battle for the party to legitimize itself and they must have economic growth, or they have much greater problems to worry about.”
Energy is the key to that economic growth, and its security is essential to China.
“There is a big belief over there that the U.S. is containing China through ‘soft containment,’ by indirectly controlling them,” Blazevic said, “and that the United States is using the war on terror as a premise to build bases around them. That’s how they see it.”
Experts at the conference appeared to be in agreement on the United States' global military dominance on land and sea, and in air and space, and in new technologies such as biotechnology and nanotechnology.
“The conference was a constant and wonderful learning process,” Blazevic said. “It was great. People like me don’t often get the opportunity to sit 10 feet away from generals and admirals and talk to them about technology and strategic issues, even when I wasn’t always getting any answers.”
Since returning from the conference, he has penned a scholarly paper titled “China’s Defensive Realism and the Pursuit for Oil Security: The Indian Ocean, Sea-lanes and the Security Dilemma,” that he has submitted for publication.
Prior to the conference, Blazevic had published three papers relating to Chinese energy issues: “Oil, the United States and China” in the Journal of Social Science produced at Japan International Christian University in Tokyo; “Japan and the East China Sea: Realism, Policy, and the Security Dilemma” published in the Stanford Journal of East Asia Affairs; and “Oil, Africa and China: China’s African Strategy” in Papers, Essays and Reviews published by Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.
A native of Arizona, the 31-year-old earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Northern Arizona, where he also lettered in football. He earned a master’s degree in political science from Idaho State University and a master’s degree in history, with an emphasis on American diplomatic history and a minor in modern East Asia history, at Washington State University. Blazevic returned to Idaho State University to work on his Doctor of Arts degree in political science.