Permanent Neutrality: A Model for Peace, Security, and Justice

Pascal Lottaz's picture
March 25, 2019
District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Contemporary History, Diplomacy and International Relations, Law and Legal History, Political Science

Limited Seats available, register at

This conference brings together policy makers, academics, and practitioners from around the globe to discuss an old idea; security through neutrality. What used to be common place even for the United States is only a distant memory today. Nevertheless, the paradigm holds intuitive appeal for Europe and Asia. In four panels this conference will introduce the main operative concepts that modern neutrals use to engage with the international community, and how they might be useful in parts of the world that do not currently deploy them.

Would a security architecture that involves ‘permanent neutrality’ help to reduce tension between the American Eagle, the Russian Bear, and the Chinese Dragon? Would the international community be receptive to more permanent neutrals? How would the China or the USA react to Taiwan as a permanent neutral, providing security, peace, and justice in the region?  What if it was part of an East-Asian neutral security architecture that included the two Korean States?  Could neutral buffer zones be beneficial to the neutral countries themselves while also serving the international community? These questions are not hypothetical; local stakeholders are already actively exploring them, as this conference will show.

Place: Hart Senate Office Building, Constitution Ave and 2nd St NE, Washington D.C. 20002, Capitol Hill — Room 902

Date: March 25th, 2019

Host Institution: Catholic University of America

Doors Open: 8.00 am




8:00 am – 8:45 am | Registration, Coffee & Pastry


8:45am – 8:50 am | Greetings from CUA


Invited: U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia


8:50 am – 8:55 am | Invocation

His Excellency Christophe Pierre Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America


8:55 am – 9:00 am | Welcome Remarks

Professors Herbert Reginbogin, Marshall Breger, Pascal Lottaz


9:00 am – 9:50 am | Panel 1: Neutrality? What Neutrality?

For millennia, neutral strategies have been part of international life. While some fought, others did not. For the young United States, neutrality used to be a key pillar of its Foreign Policy for 150 years from Washington’s proclamation of neutrality to the four neutrality laws that Congress passed in the 1930s under Roosevelt. Where did that go? Was the entire approach no more than a welcome excuse to practice isolationism while the young nation built itself? Was it perhaps a well-intended experiment with pacifism? Most relevant today, is neutrality morally justifiable in the face of pure evil like a terrorist threat and power-hungry dictatorships?

Shawn Turner (Moderator)            Director of Communication, Center for a New American Security

Pascal Lottaz                                     Assistant Professor (appointed), Waseda University, Japan

Heinz Gaertner                                Professor, University of Vienna

Gunther Hauser                               National Defense Academy / Austrian Ministry of Defense

Herbert Reginbogin                        Fellow, Institute of Policy Research, Catholic University of America; Visiting Professor, Kehl University, Germany


10:00 am – 11:00 am | Panel 2: Neutrality & International Law

During the long nineteenth century, neutrality became an integral part of International Law. This panel will explore the progress of neutrality as a practical policy and analyze the changing nature of the rights and duties of neutrals on land and on the sea. What are the implications for the Post-WWII American-led liberal world order? How did the concept move from the realm of strategy to that of law and was it successful? Can modern neutrals still build upon the provisions of old or are those days gone?

Marshall Breger (Moderator)         Professor Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America

Ruth Wedgewood                            Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Terrence Hopmann                         Professor of International Relations, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Stephen Neff                                   Professor of War and Peace, University of Edinburgh

Herbert Reginbogin                       Fellow, Institute of Policy Research, Catholic University of America; Visiting Professor Kehl University, Germany  


11:00 am – 11:30 am | Break: Coffee and Sandwiches


11:30 am – 12:40 pm | Panel 3: Neutral solutions to currentaffairs?

The Cold War is dead. Long live the Cold War. As tensions in East and West are rising, new hot-spots of Great Power rivalry are forming. The The Cold War is dead. Long live the Cold War. As tensions in East and West are rising, new hot-spots of Great Power rivalry are forming. The looming confrontation between NATO and Russia have produced a frozen conflict in Ukraine and Georgia, with more violence to come, unless a permanent solution can pacify the region. In Asia, the situation in the Pacific is also increasingly volatile with China’s new-found self-confidence in its economic power and the seemingly unstoppable militarization of the South China Sea. Taiwan will take center stage in the coming years as mainland China claims its territory, while a staunchly democratic local population fights for its right to self-determination at a geostrategic cross-road. Could neutrality hold the key to peaceful solutions in both cases? What role could permanent neutrality play in a reunified Korea? The potential of permanent neutrality as a way to deliver security guarantees and socio-economic benefits to all players in the grand-game of Power Politics will be the focus of this panel.

Heinz Gaertner (Moderator)          Professor, University of Vienna

Hsiu-lien (Annette) Lu                     Former V.P. of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

Pascal Lottaz                                     Assistant Professor (appointed), Waseda University, Japan

Michael O’Hanlon                            Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute

Glenn Diesen                                    Professor, Higher School of Economics, Moscow University


12:50 pm – 1:50 pm | Panel 4: Neutral Security Architecture(s)

To offer new perspectives, this session will look ahead and discuss how neutral solutions could benefit the global security environment and national economies. With the end of the Pax-Americana and the re-emergence of a multi-polar world, what would a global security architecture look like that was built on pillars of neutral conduct? Furthermore, what could be the new roles of permanently neutral members of the international community? What are the economic implications and what would it mean for humanitarianism if permanent neutrality became a major paradigm again in the twenty-first century?

Michael O’Hanlon (Moderator)      Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute

Herbert Reginbogin                          Fellow, Institute of Policy Research, Catholic University of America, Visiting Professor Kehl University, Germany              

Gunther Hauser                                National Defense Academy / Austrian Ministry of Defense

Oliver Bange                                      Lecturer, University of Mannheim

Michael Tsai                                      Former Minister of Defense of the Republic of China (Taiwan)


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