A Visit to Asian Studies

Juniors enrolled in Andy Lowe’s Asian Studies course welcomed alumni Kris Osborn ’88 and Oren Leff ’89 for a virtual talk on March 4. USAF JAG Colonel Leff lectures regularly on a variety of military matters and Kris Osborn is a former correspondent and now Editor in Chief of Warrior Maven, a site that disseminates information about the latest weapons systems and defense matters. The general theme of the talk explored a number of geopolitical hot topics as they relate to East Asia.

“Our relationship with China is more serious than many would like to admit,” noted Colonel Leff. “They are in fact the most significant threat to the United States because of their brilliant execution of High-Tech Lawfare. Today I would like to discuss with you how China has masterfully manipulated the Belt and Road Initiative—formerly known as the Silk Road Economic Belt or One Belt One Road—and the Law of the Sea. By nature of our democratic process here in the US, we often change gears or adapt policy every four years. China does not do that but in fact plans for a multigenerational impact many years in the future with each generation carrying on the work of the last. And that is why we have fallen so alarmingly behind them as a global adversary.”

Explaining what inspired the alumni to visit Andy Lowe commented, “Colonel Leff and Editor in Chief Osborn have decades of experience digging deeply into international affairs and related security matters, and I knew that they would be the two experts to inform my class about current thinking in the West regarding hot button topics in East Asia with which we should concern ourselves. Leff and Osborn brought a healthy dose of real-world urgency to the topics our guests shared with me and my students in a most illuminating session.”

Unique to a secondary school curriculum, Suffield offers students the choice of three yearlong Area Studies courses to fully investigate a region outside of the United States: Latin American Studies, European Studies, or Asian Studies [India, China, And Japan]. Students undergo deep intellectual dives into a region’s history, political and economic structures, philosophical and religious traditions, expressions in art, musical, and literature, evolving social norms, and the connection between past and present. Additionally, students analyze the development of the region’s cultural identity, on its own terms and in relation to the outside world.