February 10, 17, 24 and March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
FUMCPA is pleased to announce the 2019 Great Decisions Series.
Once again, the topics are of great interest and relevance. Here is a short description of the topics and information on the dates and presenters for the first two. Dates and presenters for the other six topics will be announced at a later date.
Workbooks prepared by the Foreign Policy Association will be available (while supplies last) at the presentations for a cost of $25 each.
Additional materials and information are available on the FPA website.
FEBRUARY 10: The Middle East: Regional Disorder
As the presidency of Donald J. Trump passes the halfway point, the Middle East remains a region in turmoil. The Trump administration has aligned itself with strongmen in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which along with Israel have a common goal of frustrating Iranian expansion. What will be the fallout from policy reversals such as withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear accord and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Does the United States see a path forward in troubled states such as Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq? Is the United States headed toward war with Iran?
Speaker: Tom Fingar
Tom Fingar, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research and Deputy Director of National Intelligence will lead the discussion keyed to the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions workbook chapter on this subject.
FEBRUARY 17th: State of the State Department & Diplomacy
During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Many positions in the State Department have never been filled, and meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now, and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries?
Speaker: Scott Kilner
Retired Foreign Service Officer Scott Kilner, who served in various State Department positions and overseas postings for more than three decades, will lead discussion on this subject keyed to the chapter on this topic in the Great Decisions workbook prepared by the Foreign Policy Association.
FEBRUARY 24: The Rise of Populism in Europe
Mass migrations, and the problems associated with it, have directly abetted the rise of populist parties in Europe. Opposition to immigration was the prime driver of support for Brexit, it brought a far-right party to the German Bundestag for the first time since the 1950s, and propelled Marine Le Pen to win a third of the vote in the French presidential election. In addition to calling for stronger borders, however, these parties are invariably illiberal, anti-American, anti-NATO and pro-Kremlin, making their rise a matter of serious concern for the national security interests of the United States.
Speaker: Francis Fukuyama, senior fellow at Stanford’s Institute for International Studies and director of the Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law.
MARCH 3: Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future?
Nuclear weapons have not gone away, and the Trump administration has brought a new urgency, if not a new approach, to dealing with them. The President has met with Vladimir Putin as the New Start Treaty with Russia comes up for renewal in 2021, the first presidential summit ever with Kim Jong-un occurred to discuss denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and President Trump has decertified the Obama nuclear deal with Iran. To what degree should past nuclear talks guide future U.S. nuclear arms control negotiations? Can the art of the deal apply to stabilizing our nuclear future?
Speaker: Scott Sagan, Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford.
MARCH 10: Decoding U.S.-China Trade
Though arguably the most advanced economy in the world, the United States still uses centuries-old numbers to measure trade. These antique numbers mangle understanding of the U.S.-China trade relationship, shrinking America’s true economic size and competitiveness, while swelling China’s. Bad numbers give rise to bad policies that ultimately kill U.S. jobs and cede market share to China. What other tools can the United States employ to counter China’s unfair trade practices? There are several available, yet they remain mostly unused.
Speaker: David M. Lampton, Oksenberg-Rohlen Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center and former professor of Chinese politics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
MARCH 17: Refugees and Global Migration
Today, no countries have open borders. Every state in today’s global system has its own laws and policies about who is permitted to cross its borders, and how they will do so. Who determines whether someone is a refugee or a migrant? How have different countries, including the United States, reacted to migration? How effective are the international laws, policies and organizations that have evolved to assist and protect refugees and migrants?
MARCH 24: The United States and Mexico: Partnership Tested
The United States and Mexico have a long, intertwined history, with both countries prominently featured in each other’s politics and agendas. The war on drugs, immigration and trade issues have taxed the relationship over the years. What impact will new leadership in both countries have on this crucial partnership?
Speaker: Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and director of the Center for US-Mexico studies at UC San Diego.
MARCH 31: Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics
Cyber conflict is a new and continually developing threat, which can include foreign interference in elections, industrial sabotage and attacks on infrastructure. Russia has been accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential elections in the United States and China is highly committed to using cyberspace as a tool of national policy. Dealing with cyber conflict will require new ways of looking at 21st century warfare. Is the United States prepared to respond to such threats?
Speaker: Herbert Lin, senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and Hank J. Holland Fellow in Cyber Policy and Security at the Hoover Institution.