The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum aims to broaden and deepen understanding of world affairs through small, interactive, professionally led sessions on international issues for a membership of informed individuals.

Programs and Webinars

  • Philip Shull Webinar

Dealing with the Dragon: A Great Wall on Common Ground

December 01, 2021

Philip A Shull

China’s searing experience with famine and food scarcity across the millennia has shaped fundamental aspects of Chinese culture. Indeed, the written word for “population” is composed of the characters of “person” and “mouth” – very different from the Western “per capita”, i.e. “per head.” With four times the population and one-fifth the arable land of the United States, feeding the people has been THE top priority of Chinese leaders since 1949. Despite some horrific failures in the 1950’s and 60’s, achieving food security for nearly every mouth is one of the PRC’s most shining accomplishments.

As China’s wealth and appetite has grown, it has become a tantalizing market for the U.S. and other food and agricultural exporters. But while China buys over one-third of all soybeans grown in the United States and over 60% of the global soybean market, China’s obsession with food self-sufficiency, disregard of international trade standards, and use of agricultural imports as a political tool has exasperated negotiators and constrained billions in trade with the U.S. and others. China’s past has made it suspicious and even dismissive of international institutions such as the WTO. Working in concert with other countries to bring China’s agricultural trade policies into line with its international commitments is one way to help make this critically important nation a responsible and predictable global partner.

Philip Shull

Mr. Philip A. Shull is a consultant, expert witness, author, and speaker on China, international trade, food security, and economic/market development. He retired as a senior U.S. diplomat in 2016 after serving for over 30 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, directing offices in China (including Mongolia), Korea, Argentina (including Uruguay and Paraguay), the Philippines, and Hong Kong/Macao, as well as Washington. His final diplomatic position was Minister Counselor for Agriculture at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, USDA’s largest and most important

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Fall 2021 Webinar Series


SFWAF Fall 2021 Webinar Series

October 6, 2021, 12:30-1:45 RMT
Ambassador William H Itoh, University of North Carolina and McClarty Associates
“China & the World 2021”

October 27, 2021, 11:30-12:45 RMT
John L Holden, Senior Director, China practice, McClarty Associates
“Power, Money, and Ideas: The Chinese Communist Party at the Helm”

November 10, 2021, 12:30—1:45 RMT
Matt Korda, Senior Research Associate and Project Manager for the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists
“China’s Changing Nuclear Posture”

December 1, 2021, 12:30-1:45 RMT
Philip A Shull, Senior Diplomat (rtd), President and Founder, The Philip Shull Group LLC
“Dealing with the Dragon: A Great Wall on Common Ground”


Thursday April 11 and Friday April 12, 2019


The Warming World: Rising Temperatures, Rising Tides, Rising Turbulence


Dates to be determined

Scientific study after study demonstrates the enormity of the impact of climate change on earth’s biosphere.  These changes range from the Arctic’s melting icecap and the desertification of parts of Africa to rising sea levels submerging Pacific islands and parts of populous countries like Bangladesh.  The increase and intensity of typhoons in Asia and hurricanes in the Caribbean, wildfires in California and Indonesia as well as melting ice, changing trade routes and new security threats in the Arctic are all part of this manmade phenomenon.

Some of this story plays out in 24/7 news – but much more does not.  What do we know about the national security impact of climate change and how US military planners are attempting to prepare for it?  What about its relationship to the increasing flows of migrants uprooting and risking their lives to cross continents, borders, rivers and seas in search of safe havens often to be met by hostility, indifference and uncertain futures?  What about the spread of disease and the possibility of pandemics we have yet to discover?  How can we address technological impediments to climate change mitigation?  Finally, why are even the governments of countries which have been on the forefront of climate mitigation, unable to move to a new economy based on alternative energy?

If we’ve known for years about the warming world, why hasn’t more been done to try to slow or deter its worst effects?  Many people now understand that climate change is, foremost, driven by rising carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas levels from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas and current agricultural practices like raising livestock and clearing land resulting in changes in our atmosphere leading to warming of the planet.  But are major impediments exclusively from oil and coal companies trying to preserve the bottom-line?  Are infrastructure and unemployment fears also holding us back? Are new technologies available or on the horizon to help mitigate the worst effects of the earth’s rapid warming?

The impact of global warming is not just an issue for scientific researchers, for military planners confronting the next national security threat or for energy company executives preserving short term profits.  It is more critically an issue that directly affects our lives and the future of our children.

Dealing with the New Normal:  Climate change is global.  Rising temperatures respect no national boundaries.  This is the new (ab)normal. As such it presents complex transnational problems.  It is an ever shifting calculus. It requires involvement from all levels of government, international organizations, large corporations, local city councils, small startups, researchers, teachers, students and all citizens of planet earth to begin to cope with this heretofore silent crisis.

This symposium will explore the interrelated issues of coping with the warming world from the vantage points of national security, economic viability, health and human

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