But this is not the blog post to discuss the report, which was out-dated on delivery because of the global economic crisis. Anyway, far more witty and knowledgeable bloggers will do that.
Instead I want to relate to you a story of regional cooperation told at the briefing by Dr. Patrick Cronin, director of the Institute for National Security Studies at the National Defense University.
Dr. Cronin talking about, I think, how economics was bringing Asians together, used a quintessential Washington-point-making strategy (if you are keeping score), he noted a conversation he had with MR. TARO ASO THE PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN AT DAVOS. Gosh, an unlikely foreign leader talking to an obscure think tanker at an important conference. I almost did not listen to the story I was so overwhelmed.
"Cronin-san," TARO ASO said.
"You would not believe what just happened. I was with Chinese President Hu Jin-tao. He saw me and grabbed two chairs and asked me to come sit and talk with him. He told me about how important it was to cooperate on economic issues and asked me to discuss with him the economy. And he sat there and took notes while I talked.
Never would I have believed that the President of China would sit and listen to a Japanese prime minister."
Now, I am not sure if I got every word correct of Dr. Cronin's anecdote, but the general idea was that Prime Minister Aso, the fresh prince of Tokyo, was explaining economics to the head of the largest country on earth.
Now you know why I could not get near the bar at the reception.