March 9, 2023 @ 6:00pm Central Time

The George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society Texas and Foster Global LLP are hosting an in-person event in Houston, Texas on “Taiwan and the U.S.-China Relationship: Hard Realities and Inconvenient Truths.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last August and the subsequent public comments by President Joe Biden generated headlines and cast into renewed relief the importance and sensitivity of Taiwan as an issue in U.S.–China relations. The visit and China’s reaction significantly increased tensions across the Taiwan Strait and within the already fraught U.S.–China relationship. Meanwhile, President Biden’s comments on Taiwan last fall further highlighted the potential for major conflict across the Taiwan Strait. Now, one U.S. general is publicly predicting that a U.S.–China war over Taiwan could be only two years away as differences between the United States and China on the ever-present issue of Taiwan become increasingly visible. 

Join us for a discussion with David Firestein, president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.–China Relations, as he peels back the veneer of well-worn diplomatic language, employed by both the United States and China, discusses what he refers to as the “hard realities and inconvenient truths” associated with the issue of Taiwan in the U.S.–China relationship. He will be joined in conversation by Charles Foster, Chairman of Foster Global LLP, and they will offer their assessments of Taiwan in relation to the future of U.S. and China policy, security, and economy. 

About the Speaker

David J. Firestein is the inaugural president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.–China Relations and a founding and current member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Mr. Firestein was the founding executive director of the University of Texas at Austin’s (UT) China Public Policy Center (CPPC) and a clinical professor at UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He also served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the New York City-based EastWest Institute (EWI).

A decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, Mr. Firestein specialized primarily in U.S.–China relations. He is the author or co-author of three books on China, including two China-published Chinese-language best-sellers.

In the years since he left the State Department, Mr. Firestein has produced path-breaking Capitol Hill testimony, thought leadership, and scholarship on a wide range of topics, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S.–China trade, the role of national exceptionalism as a driver of major international conflict, the value of government, U.S. public diplomacy in the wake of 9/11, and the use of contemporary country music as presidential campaign communication. He currently serves on the boards of directors or advisors of over a dozen foreign affairs-focused, business-focused, China-focused, and Texas-focused U.S. non-profit organizations.

Mr. Firestein holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and two master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

About the Moderator

Charles C. Foster, who served as Chairman of Asia Society Texas Center for 20+ years, is Chairman of Foster LLP, one of the largest global immigration law firms. He received his Bachelors from the University of Texas and his J.D. from the University Of Texas School Of Law. Charles is a board member and the founding Chairman of the State Bar of Texas Immigration and Nationality Law Section, the past national President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Chairman of the American Bar Association Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law.

Charles served as the principal advisor to President Bush on U.S. immigration policy during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns and was an advisor on immigration policy issues to President Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign. He is also Chairman of U.S.-China Partnerships, Americans for Immigration Reform, a 501(c)(3) affiliate of the Greater Houston Partnership and the GHP’s Immigration Task Force.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the GHP, as well as its Executive Committee and on the Board of the Houston Ballet. He was designated a “Texas Super Lawyer” from 2003 to 2014 by Texas Monthly, the “Top Notch Lawyer in Immigration” in the Texas Lawyer “Go To Lawyers Guide,” the “#1 Ranked Immigration Lawyer in Texas” by Chambers USA, and he was listed as one of the nation’s “20 most powerful employment attorneys” in immigration by Human Resource Executive in June 2011. He was the 2013 recipient of the Houston Bar Association’s prestigious Leon Jaworski Award and was featured in the critically acclaimed movie Mao’s Last Dancer.