Tag: Georgia

Peace picks, October 3-7

  1. Charting a Way Forward in Afghanistan | Monday, October 3 | 10:30am – 12:00pm | The Brookings Institution | Click HERE to register
    Fifteen years after the September 11 attacks drew the United States into Afghanistan to defeat al-Qaida and their hosts, the Taliban, cooperation with the Afghan people remains key to the generational conflict against violent extremists in the region. While multiple conflicts rage across the broader Middle East, continuing to build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan is pivotal. The situation in Afghanistan remains difficult, but the country is considerably better off today than it was at the start of this conflict, and the Afghan people are an important ally. In a new paper, former ambassadors, military commanders, special representatives, and Afghanistan scholars outline a way forward for the United States and its Afghan partners, centered on the concept of enduring partnership.On October 3, the Brookings Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligencewill host an event to examine the effort in Afghanistan and the region based on the recommendations from the paper. Former Special Representative for Afghanistan/Pakistan James Dobbins and former Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann, as well as former Ambassador James Cunningham will join retired General David Petraeus, who led the NATO military effort there from 2010 to 2011, as panelists. Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon will moderate the event.
  2. Crossroads of the Caucusus: Implications of Georgia’s Elections for the Region and Beyond | Monday, October 3 | 2:00pm – 3:15pm | The German Marshall Fund of the US | Click HERE to Register
    The instability stretching from Ukraine to Turkey to the Middle East places Georgia at the middle of regional and geopolitical developments. Though Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance is long standing, Georgia has made significant strides in greater governmental transparency and efficiency that have bolstered the country’s democracy and pulled Georgia closer to NATO and Europe. However, escalating tensions between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposing United National Movement, as well as controversial amendments to the country’s constitutional courts, have raised questions about the direction of internal politics. With this in mind, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) invites you to a discussion with Ambassador Tedo Japaridze, member of the Georgian Parliament and chairman of the International Relations Committee, who will discuss the upcoming elections on October 8, Georgia’s strategic context in a rapidly changing region, and Georgia’s relationship with Europe and NATO. The discussion will be moderated by Transatlantic Academy Executive Director Stephen Szabo.
  3. What Does Success in the Middle East Look Like for the Next President? | Wednesday, October 5 | 8:15am – 9:15am | The Brookings Institution | Click HERE to Register
    Syria. Iraq. Iran. It’s no secret that many of the top challenges for the security and stability of the world lie in the Middle East. On day one of their administration, the next president will be forced to make major strategy decisions in the region. Will the U.S. choose to engage militarily in Syria? How will the U.S. move forward with the Iranian nuclear agreement? After four years of the next president’s first term, what would success in the Middle East really look like?
    On October 5, come have breakfast at Brookings and hear an exciting conversation about how the next president can navigate these hot spots in foreign policy, and make both the U.S. and the world a safer place. As part of the Brookings Election 2016 project, this event is the first in a series of live podcast recordings.
    Brookings Senior Fellow and former Iranian nuclear negotiator Robert Einhorn has released a new set of recommendationsto the next president on Iran on how the U.S. can reinforce support for the Iran nuclear deal at home and abroad and promote stability in the region. Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon recently delivered a policy recommendation on the Syrian conflict, and will speak to how the next president can balance the dual goals of U.S. security and the protection of Syrian lives.
    The event will be moderated by veteran journalist Indira Lakshmanan of the Boston Globe, who will prompt each expert to deliver a recommended course of action in a concise manner, press them with alternate perspectives on the issue, and ensure a lively conversation about realistic pathways to success and the obstacles that lie in the way.
  1. Stronger with Allies: The Future of Europe after Brexit | Thursday, October 6 | 8:30am – 1:00pm | Atlantic Council | Click HERE To Register
    As British and EU policymakers map out the UK’s exit from the European Union, Europe is already confronted with a triple threat: Russia’s aggressive posture to the East, Mideast wars and instability producing waves of migrants and extremism from the South, and centrifugal, nationalist forces tearing at the continent’s internal fabric. The UK referendum, horrific terrorist attacks, and a continually sluggish economy put the future of Europe in question. Against this backdrop of uncertainty, this conference is organized in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic to flesh out a strategy for Europe and transatlantic cooperation following the Bratislava EU Summit in September.
    The event will feature: E. Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, Mr. Carlos Costa, Governor, Bank of Portugal, Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Senior Counsel, Covington & Burling, LLP; Former US Ambassador to the European Union, Ms. Ashlee Godwin, Committee Specialist, Foreign Affairs Committee and Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, UK House of Commons, Mr. Benjamin Haddad, Research Fellow, Hudson Institute, H.E. Ratislav Kacer, Ambassador of Slovakia to Hungary, Ms. Laure Mandeville, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Future Europe Initiative, Atlantic Council, Dr. Andrea Montanino, Director, Global Business and Economics Program, Atlantic Council, H.E. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, EU Commission, H.E. David O’Sullivan. Ambassador of the European Union to the United States, Minister Ana Palacio, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Former Prime Minister of Denmark and Secretary General of NATO, Ms. Teri Schultz, Freelance Reporter, National Public Radio and CBS Radio, Mr. Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President, Programs and Strategy, Atlantic Council
  2. Pakistan’s Economic Turnaround: What Basis for Peace? | Thursday, October 6 | 9:30am – 11:00am | US Institute of Peace | Click HERE To Register
    Reforms under the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have boosted economic growth. Still, the world’s sixth most-populous country faces the economic and long-term security imperative of providing jobs, especially for young adults, who form 30 percent of the population—a demographic “youth bulge” that is one of the world’s largest. And security problems, including violent extremism, threaten economic development and risk derailing Pakistan’s efforts toward rapprochement with its neighbors, including India. Mohammad Ishaq Dar has served as finance ministry throughout the current government’s term, and is a longtime leader within the governing Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). He will speak at USIP in a visit to Washington that will include the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. This event will feature Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Finance Minister of Pakistan and will be moderated by Moeed Yusuf, Associate Vice President, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace
  3. Shifting Paradigms: The Role of Young People in Building Peace and Security | Thursday, October 6 | 2:00pm – 4:00pm | Woodrow Wilson Center | Click HERE to Register
    The Wilson Center’s Global Sustainability and Resilience Program, in coordination with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), invites you to an expert discussion on building peace and countering violent extremism with young people.
    In 2015, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2250, which marked the emergence of a youth, peace, and security agenda. What should policymakers prioritize to support young people’s active engagement in peacebuilding processes? How can Resolution 2250 support the United States’ domestic and international efforts on peace? Panelists will explore these questions and invite questions from the audience. The event will feature Joyce Banda,Distinguished Fellow, Roger-Mark De Souza, 
    Director of Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience, Benoit Kalasa, 
    Director, Technical Division, United Nations Population Fund Natalia Kanem, Deputy Executive Director, Programme, United Nations Population Fund, Alaa Murabit, Medical Doctor; High-Level Commissioner, Health Employment and Economic Growth, United Nations and Andy Rabens, Special Advisor, Global Youth Issues, U.S. Department of State


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This doesn’t make sense

US Ambassador to NATO Lute said Friday:

I think Russia plays an important part in the strategic environment…[which] will put a break on NATO expansion. If you accept the premises…about Russia’s internal weakness and perhaps steady decline, it may not make sense to push further now and maybe accelerate or destabilize the decline.

I am assured that this statement represents no departure from Article 10 of the NATO treaty, which provides for the membership to unanimously “invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty.” Montenegro has already received such an invitation and will be admitted to membership at the July 8/9 NATO Summit in Warsaw.

What doesn’t make sense to me is Washington accommodating Moscow’s aggressiveness internationally in order to avoid destabilizing it internally. Quite to the contrary: pushing back on Moscow’s increasingly aggressive stance against NATO expansion would provide incentive and opportunity for Russia to refocus its energies on its internal problems, which lower oil prices and Ukraine-induced sanctions are aggravating.

This is particularly true for NATO expansion into the Balkans, a region not contiguous with Russian territory. NATO expansion to tiny and distant Montenegro can in no way be reasonably perceived as a threat to Russia, no matter how often Russian diplomats repeat that refrain. The same is true of Slovenia, Albania and Croatia, all of which became NATO members with little or no comment from Moscow. Even if all of the remaining Balkans countries join–that’s Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia and Serbia–Russia is in no way militarily at risk.

That makes the Balkans different from Georgia and Ukraine. Location matters.

This hasn’t prevented Moscow from mounting aggressive campaigns in all but pro-American Kosovo against Alliance membership, as well as a rearguard action against Montenegrin accession. Moscow uses its diplomats to speak out crudely against NATO membership, its money to fund anti-NATO protests, and its commercial influence to turn local politicians against the Alliance. Russia has even planted a proto-base (allegedly for humanitarian rather than military purposes) in southern Serbia, hoping this will inoculate Belgrade from catching the NATO flu.

Russia’s anti-NATO efforts threaten to destabilize the Balkans, where the prospect of NATO membership is an important factor in promoting democratization and reducing inter-ethnic tensions. This is especially true in Macedonia, where much of the Albanian population regards the prospect of NATO membership as vital to its own security. It is of course also true in Kosovo, where NATO troops have been vital to maintaining a safe and secure environment since the NATO/Yugoslavia war in 2001. Bosnia and Serbia are more ambivalent towards NATO, though Serbia’s prime minister recently noted (in the runup to a parliamentary election) that NATO troops in Kosovo protect the Serb population there.

So Ambassador Lute’s comments–even if not meant to qualify Article 10–will be read in the Balkans as discouraging hopes for NATO membership and in Moscow as a green light for Russian efforts to undermine the generally positive trend the region has taken for the past 20 years. It would be good now for the American Administration to reiterate that Washington still wants a Europe “whole and free,” including in particular the Balkans and even Russia if it so chooses. Anything less than that gives Moscow further incentive to muck in what it increasingly considers its sphere of influence, which could set back decades of democratization and run the real risk of destabilization.

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Peace picks, October 19-23

  1. Breaking Through: Dismantling Roadblocks to Humanitarian Response for Syria | Monday, October 19th | 9:00 – 11:00am | American Red Cross | REGISTER TO ATTEND | With over half the Syrian population displaced and civilian casualties increasing, international concern continues to grow. As this crisis intensifies, however, barriers to access, relocation, and justice hinder the humanitarian response. Join the American Red Cross on October 19th to discuss these roadblocks and how the humanitarian community can overcome these challenges. Speakers include: Jana Mason, Sr. Advisor for Government Relations & External Affairs, UNHCR, Hind Kabawat, Director of Interfaith Peacebuilding, Center for World Religions &  Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC), George Mason University.

  2. The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Balancing Humanitarian and Security Challenges | Monday, October 19th | 11:00 – 12:30 | Bipartisan Policy Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND |The civil war in Syria has caused one of the largest displacements of persons in recent history, creating humanitarian, political, and security challenges that the United States and its allies now confront. More than half of Syrians—some 12 million—are displaced. Of that number, more than 4 million have fled Syria’s borders, with millions living in neighboring countries in the region. As EU and U.S. leaders work to address this flow of refugees, the Islamic State extremist group has boasted of disguising thousands of terrorists as refugees in order to infiltrate them into Western countries, and a recently released report by the House Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan task force found that international efforts to secure borders and stem the flow of foreign fighters have been woefully ineffective.Join the Bipartisan Policy Center for a discussion on the humanitarian and security dimensions of the refugee crisis and how the two can be balanced and should be reconciled to create a coherent U.S. and global policy response. Speakers include: Kelly Gauger, Deputy Director, Refugee Admissions, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, DOS, Larry Yungk, Senior Resettlement Officer, UNHCR, Adnan Kifayat, Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund, Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, Director, Program of Extremism, GWU’s Center on Cyber & Homeland Security, Brittney Nystrom, Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
  3. The Morality of Nuclear Deterrence | Monday, October 19th | 12:30 – 2:00 | Stimson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The humanitarian consequences of using nuclear weapons are now central to the debate about the future of nuclear deterrence, owing to the efforts of a new global movement. Just within the last few weeks, Pope Francis has called for complete nuclear disarmament on ethical grounds and the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has said that, as prime minister, he would never authorize nuclear use. Join us for a discussion about the morality of the possession and use of nuclear weapons. Is there indeed a contradiction between the strategic goals of nuclear deterrence and its moral dimension? Could the use of nuclear weapons ever be justified? And do humanitarian considerations have any implications for states’ nuclear posture or employment policies? Speakers include:  James M. Acton, Co-Director of the Carnegie Endownment’s Nuclear Policy Program, Drew Christiansen,  Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Global Development, Georgetown University, Elbridge Colby, Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security, and Thomas Moore, Independent Consultant.
  4. Beyond the Headlines Obama and Putin: Battlefield Syria | Monday, October 19th | 6:00 | Women’s Foreign Policy Group | REGISTER TO ATTEND |Karen DeYoung is the senior national security correspondent and an associate editor of The Washington Post. In more than three decades at the paper, she has served as bureau chief in Latin America and London, a correspondent covering the White House, US foreign policy and the intelligence community, as well as assistant managing editor for national news, national editor and foreign editor. She was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She is the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the 2009 Overseas Press Club award for best coverage of international affairs, the 2003 Edward Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting, and the 2002 Pulitzer Prize awarded to The Washington Post for national reporting.Steven Lee Myers has worked at The New York Times for twenty-six years, seven of them in Russia during the period when Putin consolidated his power. He has witnessed and written about many of the most significant events that have marked the rise of Vladimir Putin: from the war in Chechnya and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine to the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the annexation of Crimea in 2014. He spent two years as bureau chief in Baghdad, covering the winding down of the American war in Iraq, and now covers national security issues. He has also covered the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House during three presidential administrations.
  5. Will the Afghan State Survive? | Tuesday, October 20th | 1:30 – 2:30 | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The recent events in Kunduz have lead experts to speculate about whether Afghanistan can defend itself against the Taliban. While the political and security aftermath of these events continues to unfold, questions are  being raised about the Taliban’s next moves and the resilience of the Afghan state institutions. Is there a new threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which may shift the focus in a region known to reject foreign presence? Will further troop reductions in prospect under President Obama’s withdrawal schedule lead the United States to rely more heavily on its European partners? What can we expect from the NATO Warsaw Summit and the Brussels Conference? Can the United States, China, and Iran work together towards peace for Afghanistan? Speakers include: Ambassador Franz-Michael Mellbin, special representative of the European Union to Afghanistan, and The Honorable James B. Cunningham, senior fellow and Khalilzad chair, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council.
  6. Dangerous Intersection: Climate Change and National Security (2015 Eli-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum) | Tuesday, October 20th | 3:30 – 5:30 | Environmental Law Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND |While addressing the graduates of the Coast Guard academy last spring, President Obama told the assembled ensigns that climate change would be a defining national security issue for their time in uniform. Earlier this fall, in a village facing immediate threats of sea level rise, he told Alaskan Natives that “if another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect it… climate change poses that same threat now.” The president has raised a red flag over an issue that has concerned defense officials and the national security establishment for several years now, as well as the environmental community.On October 20, 2015, over 700 environmental lawyers, scientists, engineers, economists, and other professionals will gather in Washington, D.C., to honor an exemplary figure in environmental policy. Just prior to the annual Award Dinner, ELI holds its principal policy event of the year, the ELI-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum. This year, the topic will be “Dangerous Intersection: Climate Change and National Security.” Speakers include: Capt. Leo Goff, Ph.D., Military Advisory Board, Center for Naval Analyses (moderator), John Conger, Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, U.S. Department of Defense, Francesco Femia, Founding Director, The Center for Climate and Security, Alice Hill, Senior Advisor for Preparedness and Resilience, National Security Council, The White House, Thilmeeza Hussain, Voice of Women – Maldives, Co-Founder, Marcus King, John O. Rankin Associate Professor of International Affairs, GWU.
  7.  Summer Practicum Report on Water and Peacebuilding in the Middle East | Tuesday, October 20th | 6:00 – 8:00 pm | American University School of International Service | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Join the School of International Service and Center for Israel Studies for a research presentation hosted by the Global Environmental Politics Program in the Abramson Family Founders Room.
  8. The South Caucasus Transportation and Energy Corridor: Update in Light of Nuclear Deal with Iran | Wednesday, October 21st | 5:00 – 7:00 | SAIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND |Several US administrations contributed to the revival of the East-West transport corridor connecting the Caspian region with Europe via South Caucasus. Functioning elements of this infrastructure are already moving significant volumes of oil and gas, but the potential of this route is only partially realized. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia are developing new elements of infrastructure that should facilitate the flow of raw materials and finished goods between Asia and Europe. But without political and security support, this project cannot succeed.This forum, with speakers from academia and business, will analyze and offer views on the commercial and geopolitical context for development of the South Caucasus transportation corridor.  It will also look at the Shah-Deniz II/Southern Corridor energy project, as well as explore the impact of  the nuclear deal with Iran on regional energy and transportation landscape. 
  9. Libya: Failed or Recovering State | Wednesday, October 21st | 6:00 – 7:15 |Elliot School of International Affairs | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Ambassador Jones will discuss the current situation in Libya. Does the preliminary framework agreement to resolve the conflict that has divided Libya into two competing parliaments, governments, and military coalitions offer a legitimate path toward a stable Libya? Is there a role for the international community? If the agreement isn’t viable, what solutions are there? Ambassador Deborah K. Jones, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister Counselor, was nominated by President Obama to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in March 2013.
  10. Leading at the Nexus of Development and Defense | Friday, October 23rd | 10:00 – 11:30 | CSIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND |Save the date for an armchair conversation with General John F. Kelly. General Kelly will discuss his career serving in the United States Marine Corps and the defining challenges he faced in maintaining U.S. and regional security. He will share his experience working in areas of conflict and supporting U.S. defense policy through effective development efforts. General Kelly is currently commander of U.S. Southern Command. A four star general, Kelly presided over much of the U.S. involvement in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, later returning to command Multi-National Force–West.


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დავითი and Голиаф (David and Goliath)

On Wednesday, USIP hosted a talk by the Defense Minister of Georgia, Tinatin Khidasheli,  entitled Seeking Security: Georgia Between Russia and ISIS.  William B. Taylor, Executive Vice President, USIP, moderated.  Khidasheli made a forceful argument that NATO membership or at least a path to NATO membership for Georgia would help deter Russia and maintain NATO credibility.

In his introductory remarks, Taylor noted that Georgia is a strong US ally that has demonstrated its military and diplomatic capabilities. Georgia is committed to integration with the West and NATO.

PC: Eddie Grove
PC: Eddie Grove

Khidasheli said Georgia proves success for a former Soviet Socialist Republic is possible without Russia in charge.  This is why Russia fights everything they do.  Putin is trying to recover from the weakness of the Yeltsin era.  He won’t let any country in Russia’s immediate neighborhood have a say without Russia’s permission.

The European Neighborhood’s Eastern Partnership started with six countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.  However, at the 2015 Riga Summit, only Georgia was fully present.  This was disappointing.

Khidasheli cited two motives for her trip to DC:

  1. To strengthen Georgia’s partnership with the US and achieve more tangible results and military cooperation.
  2. To seek advice on Georgia’s path to NATO membership.
The Embassy of Georgia in DC. PC: Eddie Grove
The Embassy of Georgia in DC. PC: Eddie Grove

NATO needs Georgia more than Georgia needs NATO, she said, in order to maintain its mission and credibility.  The Alliance has been talking for years about its commitment to partners and its open-door policy. It must prove it is still a courageous organization.  Some argue that expanding NATO will force Russia to act, but after NATO made it clear in 2008 that it wasn’t expanding, Russia invaded South Ossetia.  By 2009, the West viewed Russia as a partner again, but Russia’s actions in Ukraine made it clear that is not true.

As soon as the Riga summit ended in disappointment, Russia started actions in Georgia.  There are daily Russian movements on the artificial border with South Ossetia. The Russians sometimes advance up to a kilometer or two.  Georgia won’t be provoked and won’t allow war on its territory.  The checkpoints that Russia has marked are now just .5 km from Georgia’s main East-West highway.  Is Russia targeting it or trying to distract Georgia?

NATO will hold its Warsaw Summit in July 2016. Georgia will hold parliamentary elections in October 2016.  A bad outcome at Warsaw won’t make Khidasheli’s voters fall in love with Russia, but it could decrease their turnout, leading to a more pro-Russian parliament.  The situation in Ukraine is adding to doubts about Georgia’s integration into NATO and the EU.  There are two possible outcomes of the Warsaw summit:

  1. NATO allows Russia a veto over new members, rejects expansion and cedes additional areas to Russian dominance.
  2. NATO pursues enlargement, sending a clear message to Russia that partners matter as much as members.

NATO brings peace. It is the only reason the Baltics are currently safe.  The current situation won’t deter Russia. The world hasn’t been able to stop the war in Ukraine.

The dominant argument from the Kremlin now favors a strong Russia.  Putin has no trouble presenting the West as the enemy.  But sanctions alone against Russia won’t help and will play into Putin’s “evil West” narrative. The West needs to understand that Russia is a country where people ate rats and cats in World War 2 and still won.  Western notions of hardship and happiness aren’t relevant there.

Khidasheli recognizes that a realistic outcome of the Warsaw Summit won’t be NATO membership but an intermediate step towards membership.  Georgia wants a statement that it is on a membership track.

While Georgia recently acquired an air defense system from France, Khidasheli did not specify how Tbilisi plans to deter Moscow or draw red lines.  Georgia will make decisions about whether to shoot down a Russian plane violating Georgian airspace based on the threat level.  With respect to Russia’s creeping annexation policies, Khidasheli reiterated that Georgia won’t be provoked. Georgia will not make a decision regarding countering Russia without its partners.

Russia is trying to use soft power to influence Georgia through NGOs and the media.  There are political parties that openly align with Russia, including a former parliamentary speaker.

Khidasheli also spoke briefly about the problem of ISIS recruitment in Georgia, especially in the Pankisi Gorge.  This poses a great danger.  Georgia has failed to pay enough attention to the problems in this region.  More integration, education and targeted employment programs are needed to decrease the feelings of isolation and abandonment among locals.  The government must also examine other areas of Georgia where the demographics suggest future problems and address those issues now.

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Peace picks August 17-21

The July 4 Parade in DC.  PC: Eddie Grove
The July 4 Parade in DC. PC: Eddie Grove

1. The Defense Economy and American Prosperity | Monday, August 17th | 11:30 | Brookings | REGISTER TO ATTEND | At just over 3 percent of gross domestic product, U.S. military spending totals more than $600 billion annually. A number of recent developments and long-term trends, however-including sequestration and contractor consolidation-threaten the health of the U.S. national security industrial base. The American defense industry is being squeezed on multiple fronts, but just how important is the defense sector to the overall strength of the American economy? Do specific cities or regions have more to worry about than others should defense spending continue to decline? What impact does defense spending have on regional and national job creation and technology innovation? On August 17, the Foreign Policy and Economic Studies programs at Brookings will host a discussion of the American economy and the role that defense industry could play in the nation’s continued recovery and economic health. Panelists include Ben S. Bernanke, Brookings distinguished fellow in residence, and Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program. Michael O’Hanlon, co-director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, will also participate and moderate the session. Following discussion, the panelists will take audience questions.

2. Assessing Japan-Republic of Korea Relations after Prime Minister Abe’s Anniversary Statement | Tuesday, August 18th | 10:00-11:30 | The Heritage Foundation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has the potential to either repair or further impair Tokyo’s current strained bilateral relations with Seoul. In recent months, both countries have endeavored to repair the relationship by addressing and compartmentalizing historic issues. But real progress on the nascent rapprochement initiative remains dependent on Abe’s anniversary statement and President Park Geun-hye’s response. Strained relations between two critically important allies is of grave concern to Washington since it hinders U.S. security interests in Asia and constrains effective integrated responses to the North Korean military threat. Questions remain over what role the U.S. can play in helping Japan and the Republic of Korea achieve reconciliation.  Speakers include: Michael J. Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS, and Associate Professor, Georgetown, Evans J.R. Revere, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings and Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, CFR.  Host: Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia, Heritage.

It's possible to ski in May under the midnight sun above the Arctic Circle at Riksgränsen, on the Swedish-Norwegian border.  PC: Eddie Grove
It’s possible to ski in May under the midnight sun above the Arctic Circle at Riksgränsen, on the Swedish-Norwegian border. PC: Eddie Grove

3. Examining Arctic Opportunities and Capabilities: Does the U.S. Have the Infrastructure, Ships and Equipment Required? | Tuesday, August 18th | 1:30-3:30 | The Heritage Foundation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | On April 24, 2015 the United States began a two-year term as Chairman of the Arctic Council. The Council is composed of eight Member States: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S. Clearly, the capabilities of these eight countries to operate in the Arctic differ quite significantly. As Arctic opportunities arise, so, too, has the interest of an increasing number of non-Arctic countries. Twelve countries have been deemed Arctic Council “Observers:” the People’s Republic of

Harstad, Norway, above the Arctic Circle.  PC: Eddie Grove
Harstad, Norway, above the Arctic Circle. PC: Eddie Grove

China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. Several of these “Observers” are also actively developing and advancing their potential Arctic operations capability.  The United States, under its Chairmanship over the next 20 months, will have numerous policy questions worthy of examination and assessment. Can any Arctic policy be sustained without enduring U.S. capabilities? Does change in the Arctic region encourage other countries to become more actively operational in the area? While the U.S. has the capability to operate around much of the globe, does

A fjord above the Arctic Circle, near Harstad, Norway.  PC: Eddie Grove
A fjord above the Arctic Circle, near Harstad, Norway. PC: Eddie Grove

it really have a robust ability to be a presence in the Arctic? How might the U.S. better operate side-by-side with Arctic allies? Are Arctic Council “Observer” nations already more capable of Arctic operations than the U.S.? Join us for a most timely and important discussion.  Keynote speaker: Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., USCG (Ret.), Special Representative for the Arctic, U.S. Department of State.  Host: James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Vice President, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow, The Heritage Foundation.  Other speakers include: H.E. Geir

Reindeer in the tundra near Kiruna, Sweden.  PC: Eddie Grove
Reindeer in the tundra near Kiruna, Sweden. PC: Eddie Grove

Haarde, Ambassador of Iceland to the United States and former Prime Minister, Isaac Edwards, Senior Counsel for Chairman Murkowski, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Luke Coffey, Margaret Thatcher Fellow, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation.  Moderator: James E. Dean, Manager, International and Diplomatic Programs, The Heritage Foundation.


4. China’s Missiles and the Implications for the United States |Wednesday, August 19th | 10:00 – 11:30 | Hudson Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | While China’s ongoing island-building in the South China Sea has garnered headlines, Beijing has quietly continued a ballistic missile modernization program that increasingly threatens U.S. and allied naval vessels—and challenges existing U.S. and allied ballistic missile defense capabilities. The United States is particularly concerned about the development of the DF-21 “carrier killer” that is designed to target U.S. aircraft carriers operating in the Western Pacific. Additionally, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command, Admiral Gortney, confirmed in April that China has deployed three ballistic missile submarines capable of striking the U.S. homeland. On August 19th, Hudson Institute will host five noted experts for a discussion of China’s expanding missile arsenal and the role of that arsenal in Beijing’s broader strategic objectives. Trey Obering, Dean Cheng, Mark Schneider, and Bryan Clark will join Hudson Adjunct Fellow Rebeccah Heinrichs to analyze China’s military capabilities, national strategy, and possible U.S. responses. Speaker: Henry A. “Trey” Obering III, Executive Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton. Panelists include: Dean Cheng, Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation, Mark Schneider, Senior Analyst, National Institute for Public Policy, and Bryan Clark, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.  Moderator: Rebeccah Heinrichs, Adjunct Fellow, Hudson Institute.

Tarragon lemonade is a popular Georgian soft drink.  The author has yet to test whether it glows in the dark.  PC: Eddie Grove
Tarragon lemonade is a popular Georgian soft drink. The author has yet to test whether it glows in the dark. PC: Eddie Grove

5. Seeking Security: Georgia Between Russia and ISIS | Wednesday, August 19th | 3:00 – 4:00 | USIP | REGISTER TO ATTEND | As world headlines focus elsewhere, international security remains at risk in Georgia: Russian troops last month continued a creeping seizure of new Georgian territory, including part of a strategic pipeline. ISIS is recruiting fighters throughout the Caucasus for its war in Syria. Georgian Defense Minister Tinatin Khidasheli, in Washington to meet with top U.S. officials, will make her remarks at USIP August 19. She will discuss how her country is navigating regional security threats that have deepened in the 18 months since Russia attacked Ukraine.

6. US-Israeli Relations After the Iran Deal Wednesday, August 19th | 6:30-8:30 | Located at Thomson Reuters but sponsored by PS21 | REGISTER TO ATTEND | After July’s historic nuclear deal between the P5+1 great powers and Iran, what is next for relations between the United States and Israel?  Moderator: Warren Stroble, Reuters DC diplomatic editor.  Panelists: Alexandria Paolozzi, Senate Legislative

The park in Ra'anana, a Tel Aviv suburb known for its large American immigrant population.
The park in Ra’anana, a Tel Aviv suburb known for its large American immigrant population.  PC: Eddie Grove

Director and Issue Specialist on Israel for Concerned Women for America (CWA). She visited Israel in September 2014 on a Millennial Leaders tour. She has organized Capitol Hill panels on religious freedom in the Middle East, rallies and demonstrations in support of Israel, and has lobbied on pro-Israel policies in the United States Senate. Dr. Guy Ziv is an assistant professor at American University’s School of International Service (SIS), where he teaches courses on U.S. foreign policy, the Middle East, and international negotiations. He is the author of the Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel. He is founder and director of the Israel National Security Project (INSP), a repository of statements by Israeli security experts concerning the strategic imperative of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ari Ratner is a former State Department official and current PS21 board member.


7. Cyber Risk Wednesday: Hacks, Attacks, and What America Can Do about It | Wednesday, August 19th | 4:00-5:30 | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Two months ago, the OPM discovered the biggest breach of US government data in history, described by many as the long-feared “Cyber 9/11”, exposing sensitive information on millions of Americans. While the Obama administration has refrained from publicly attributing the attack, many officials have privately pointed the finger at China. In July, hackers penetrated the Joint Chiefs of Staff email network in what has been described as the “most sophisticated” cyber breach in the history of the US military. Although the investigation is still underway, suspicion has quickly fallen on Russia. And just days ago, news broke about Chinese cyber spies having had access to the private emails of top US officials since at least 2010.  In light of the unprecedented scale and scope of these recent data breaches, the Obama administration faces difficult questions: Does political cyber espionage warrant retaliation? Would retaliating effectively deter US cyber adversaries? Or would it further escalate the conflict, especially as the United States itself has been caught spying on other nation states?  To answer these questions and suggest a way forward for the US government, this moderated panel discussion brings together recognized cybersecurity and espionage experts Siobhan Gorman, Director at Brunswick’s Washington, DC office; Jason Healey, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs; and Robert Knake, Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow for Cyber Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

8. Taiwan’s China Tangle | Thursday, August 20th | 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm | Stimson | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Taiwan was a symbol of “Free China” during the Cold War era. Democratization and the rise of local identity after the 1990s transformed the nature of the society into an indigenous regime. Under the double pressure of globalization and the rise of China, Taiwan is searching for a new route to cope with increasing domestic and international challenges. This presentation by Stimson’s Visiting Fellow Dr. Tse-Kang Leng will discuss the impact of the “China factor” on Taiwan public opinion toward cross-Strait relations, Taiwan’s economic links with the Mainland, and Taiwan’s strategic positon in a globalizing world.  Speaker: Dr. Tse-Kang Leng, Visiting Fellow, East Asia Program, Stimson Center, Research Fellow, Institute of Political Science of Academia Sinica (IPSAS), and Professor of Political Science, National Chengchi University.  Moderator: Alan D. Romberg, Distinguished Fellow and  Director of the East Asia Program, Stimson.

9. A New Kind of Conflict: Cyber-Security on the Korean Peninsula | Thursday, August 20th | 3:00-5:30 | SAIS- The Bernstein-Offit Building, Room 500 | REGISTER TO ATTEND | ‘A New Kind of Conflict’ is a simulation exploring a cyber-security incident between North and South Korea, with the goal of highlighting the gaps between modern capabilities and international legal frameworks designed to combat cyber-crime. Networking reception with food and drink will follow. Event starts at 3pm, check-in begins at 2:45pm. Seating is limited.

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Gloomy but determined

That was a gloomy but determined President Obama who spoke today in Talinn, Estonia about hope for the future of human dignity, liberty and respect for human rights. He said everything the most frightened Baltic citizen would want to hear:  the NATO Alliance is all for one, one for all, America will preposition equipment and rotate its forces through more than in the past, Russian aggression against any NATO member will trigger an Alliance-wide response.  He was also clear that the United States would not accept changing borders by force, in Ukraine or elsewhere.

He explicitly invoked the Baltic example:  the United States never accepted their incorporation into the Soviet Union. When I was growing up, we were taught that Lativa, Lithuania and Estonia were “captive nations” that would one day be free. Most of us thought this was laughable, since it was impossible to imagine that the Soviet Union would one day evaporate. But that is precisely what happened.

What this means for Ukraine is not cheering. The Alliance has no obligation to defend Ukraine against Russia and will not do so. The best Ukraine can hope for is a refusal by NATO members to accept the annexation of Ukraine, the independence of Luhansk or Donetsk, or incorporation of any part of the Donbas region of southeastern Ukraine into Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Poroshenko seems to think Russian President Putin has agreed to a ceasefire, while the Russians are still claiming they are not a party to the conflict so any ceasefire has to be with the rebels. That is not a good sign, since it is clear Moscow is not only sending in its own army and equipment but also financing, arming and training rebel forces. It is high time that Putin accept responsibility for the mess he has created. It is hard to picture any ceasefire holding for long that does not stop the flow of Russians, arms and financing across the border into Ukraine.

Moldova and Georgia, both of which have unwelcome Russian troops on part of their territory, got a bit of cheer from the President. He promised them support for their democratic aspirations, though not for removing the Russian troops. That leaves them more or less where they were before the speech, but failure to mention them would have been interpreted as abandonment.

There was also some small comfort for Montenegro, Macedonia and other Balkan candidates for NATO membership. The President said the door would remain open for those who want to enter and meet the requirements. Both Montenegro and Macedonia meet them already. They won’t be admitted at the NATO Summit tomorrow and and Friday in Cardiff, Wales. Montenegro was too small an addition to the Alliance to risk irritating the Russians over.  Greece is blocking Macedonia because of its name, over which Athens claims exclusive rights. Both Montenegro and Macedonia should get invitations to join the Alliance at the next opportunity if the President does what he promised.

There are times in diplomacy when reiterating policy is as important as making it. This was one of those times. Gloomy but determined is the right approach.

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