- The American Moment in the Middle East from Eisenhower to Trump |Monday, November 21 | 11:45am – 1:30pm | Hudson Institute | Click HERE to RegisterWith the election of a new president and significant foreign policy decisions on the line, one of the best ways to understand the stakes involved is to revisit the past. With the Middle East, there is no better place to start than with Dwight Eisenhower, the incisive leader who helped win World War II and formulated America’s Cold War policy. But according to Hudson Senior Fellow Michael Doran in his critically acclaimed new book, Ike’s Gamble, Eisenhower stumbled repeatedly in the Middle East before he got it right.
Eisenhower, in Doran’s account, initially made the same kinds of mistakes that President Barack Obama has made. Both believed America had tilted too closely to Israel and sought to readjust the balance—Obama by realigning with Iran, and Eisenhower by allying with Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. The difference, argues Doran, is that Eisenhower came to realize he was wrong to turn against America’s traditional Middle East allies and he eventually restored the status quo. Obama, however, leaves the White House with America’s position in the Middle East still unsettled. Will Donald Trump be able to repair Middle Eastern relations, or will he indulge isolationist tendencies and further cede America’s status in the region? Given the extent of Eisenhower’s engagement in the region, what other lessons can the next administration draw from his experience?
Join us at Hudson Institute on November 21 as panelists Michael Doran, Hudson Distinguished Fellow Walter Russell Mead, and Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Ray Takeyh discuss Eisenhower’s strategy and the incoming administration’s policy options in the Middle East. This lunchtime panel will be moderated by Hudson Senior Fellow Lee Smith.
- Real Security: Governance and Stability in the Arab World | Monday, November 21 | 3:00pm – 4:30pm | Brookings Institution | Click HERE to RegisterThe breakdown of regional order in the Middle East was driven by domestic crises in the relationship between Arab citizens and their governments, but the resulting disorder has unleashed civil violence, sectarian and ethnic conflict, and fierce geopolitical competition. What is the relationship between the region’s power politics and the breakdown in the Arab social contract? What does the collapse of Arab governance tell us about the requisites for lasting stability in the Middle East? And what role can outside powers, especially the United States, play in helping the region move toward more sustainable governance?
On November 21, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council and the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings will launch a report on this topic written by Tamara Cofman Wittes: “Real Security: The Interdependence of Governance and Stability in the Arab World.” The report was commissioned by the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST), co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. To discuss the report, they will be joined by Amr Hamzawy, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
- Ambassador Series: Ambassador of Finland, H.E. Kristi Kauppi | Tuesday, November 22 | 6:00pm – 8:00pm | World Affairs Institute at the Ronald Reagan Building | Email to RegisterPlease join the World Affairs Council-Washington, DC as we host Her Excellency Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador of Finland to the United States. She will address the US – Finland bi-lateral relationship, the country’s approaching centennial, Finland’s climate change research in the Arctic, and its relationship with Russia.
Ambassador Kauppi took up her post in Washington in September 2015. She has over 30 years of experience in foreign policy. She previously served as advisor to the Finnish State Secretary and head of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy coordination in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki. Her previous diplomatic postings include Permanent Representative to the UN-related international organizations located in Vienna, where she served for three years as the Finnish Governor in the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors.
- Elections in Hard Times: Building Stronger Democracies in the 21st Century | Monday, November 7 | 10:00am – 11:00am | Woodrow Wilson Center | Click HERE to Register Why are ‘free and fair’ elections so often followed by democratic backsliding?Elections in Hard Times answers this critical question, showing why even clean elections fail to advance democracy when held amidst challenging structural conditions. It develops a new theory of why elections fail in countries with little democratic history or fiscal resources, and a history of violent conflict. Discussing a new report by Thomas Edward Flores, Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution and Political Science, George Mason University and Co-Author, Elections in Hard Times and Irfan Nooruddin, Director, Georgetown University’s India Initiative, former Wilson Center Fellow and Co-Author, Elections in Hard Times. Moderated by William J. Pomeranz, Deputy Director, Kennan Institute, Wilson Center
- Enhancing the US-Georgia Security Partnership: The Way Forward | Monday, November 7 | 10:30am – 11:30am | Heritage Foundation | Click HERE to register Located in the South Caucasus, Georgia sits at a crucial geographical and cultural crossroads and has proven to be strategically important for military and economic reasons for centuries. Today, Georgia’s strategic location is also important to the United States. In 2008 Georgia was promised eventual membership at the NATO summit in Bucharest. Since then few countries in the Euro-Atlantic region express as much enthusiasm for NATO as Georgia – even though it is not yet inside NATO. After the Russian invasion in 2008 and the subsequent Russian occupation of 20 percent of Georgia’s territory, Georgia has transformed its military and has contributed thousands of troops to overseas military operations – all in the hopes of speeding up its application to join NATO. What is Georgia’s prospect of joining the Alliance? How will the new Georgian government and the next U.S. president handle the issue of NATO membership? Join us as we address these issues and more. Featuring Brigadier General (Ret.) Peter Zwack, Senior Russia-Eurasia Fellow, Institute of National Security Studies, National Defense University, Richard Weitz, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Political-Military Analysis, Hudson Institute, Stephen Blank, PhD., Senior Fellow for Russia, American Foreign Policy Council, Luke Coffey, Director, Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation
- Is Islamic Law Compatible with Human Rights? | Monday, November 7 | 12:30pm | Atlantic Council | Click HERE to Register The international media frequently features stories of Arab states and non-state actors committing human rights violations allegedly in the name of Islam. The application and understanding of Islamic jurisprudence is varied and controversial, whether such readings of the faith result in institutionalized state laws or actions committed by non-state actors, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) or al-Qaeda.The Atlantic Council’s Islamic Law and Human Rights initiative, a project of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, explores human rights violations by Arab states and non-state actors committed in the name of Islam. This event will present the initiative and feature a discussion on where gender relations and freedom of speech stand in the context of sharia in the region. Featuring Hauwa Ibrahim, Sharia and Human Rights Scholar, Harvard Divinity School and Dr. Moataz El Fegiery,Protection Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Front Line Defenders and moderated by Ms. Geneive Abdo, Author of The New Sectarianism: The Arab Uprisings and the Shi’a-Sunni Divide, Atlantic Council
- Stopping North Korea Inc. | Monday, November 7 | 2:30pm – 4:00pm | Brookings Institute | Click HERE to Register North Korea’s continuous provocations have raised important questions about the efficacy of international sanctions: Do sanctions intended to reduce or halt weapons of mass destruction procurement work, and if not, why? What, if any, unintended consequences—positive or negative—do sanctions against North Korea (DPRK) generate? What can be done to improve the effectiveness of these and other sanctions? In their recent report, Jim Walsh and John Park address these specific questions with a primary objective to document North Korea’s practices, partners, and pathways in order to better understand how the DPRK has innovated in the face of international sanctions. On November 7, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings will host John Park and Jim Walsh as they present key findings from their three-year MacArthur Foundation-funded study of what they call “North Korea, Inc.,” the system of regime-operated state trading companies that the DPRK employs to procure both licit and illicit goods. Jonathan Pollack, interim SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies, will provide remarks after their presentation, followed by a Q&A moderated by Richard Bush, director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies.
- Balancing a New Relationship with Iran: Security and Insecurity in the Wake of a Nuclear Deal | Thursday, November 10 | 10:30am – 12:00pm | Stimson Center | Click HERE to Register
Following the 2015 nuclear deal involving Iran, there was widespread optimism that Iran would develop into a peaceful and constructive member of the international system. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a significant development, as it brings the nuclear issue under international scrutiny and control. At the same time, actions from Iran, both historically and more recently, continue to contribute to instability in the Middle East.While Iran has maintained its commitments under the nuclear deal, leaders in Iran continue to espouse a foreign policy that confronts U.S. friends and allies and supports both governments and militant organizations that challenge U.S. interests and disrupt peace and security in the region. At the same time, the U.S. and Iran have found a common enemy in Iraq, with Secretary of State John Kerry recently conceding that Iran has been “in certain ways helpful” in the fight against ISIL-Daesh, and Iran has begun to forge new relationships in the international economy.Undoubtedly engagement with Iran is necessary for bringing peace and security to the Middle East region. This engagement needs to involve key states in the region and incorporate their views and perspectives regarding Iran’s potential for both contributing to security and fomenting insecurity in the region.
Featuring Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, Jr., Chairman, Stimson Center, Richard Burchill (Moderator), Director of Research & Engagement, TRENDS, Laicie Heeley, Fellow, Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense, Stimson Center, David Albright, President and Founder, Institute for Science and International Security, Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, IISS-Americas with opening remarks by Ahmed Al Hamli, President and Founder, TRENDS, Brian Finlay, President and CEO, Stimson Center
- AEI Election Watch: What Happened and What’s Next | Thursday, November 10 | 12:30pm – 2:00pm | American Enterprise Institute | Click HERE to Register On November 10, AEI’s Election Watch team will look at what the voters said on Election Day, how and why they voted the way they did, and what is ahead for the new administration and Congress. In addition, these seasoned analysts will discuss what the election means for the parties, their supporters, and the permanent campaign. They will examine how conservatives and liberals interpret the results and reflect on what Campaign 2016 tells us about the future of presidential politics.Less than 48 hours after the results are in, join Washington’s most experienced team of election experts as they discuss what happened and what’s next. Featuring Michael Barone, AEI, John Fortier, Bipartisan Policy Center, Henry Olsen, Ethics & Public Policy Center, Norman J. Ornstein, AEI and moderated by Karlyn Bowman, AEI
Some of us think the best of the new year will come January 4, when Downton Abbey starts up again in DC. But if you can’t wait that long, here’s a teaser:
It’s a charity thing. I trust season 5 will be a good deal better.
- The Hidden History of Dialogue with Cuba: What Obama Needs to Know About Talking to Havana Monday, October 6 | 9:00 | Brookings Institution | Register to Attend | The Latin America Initiative (LAI) in Foreign Policy at Brookings will host William M. LeoGrande, professor of government at American University, and Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive, to present their new book, Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana. They will discuss the findings of their research, and offer recommendations to guide present and future U.S. negotiators. They will be joined by Julia E. Sweig, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies. Ted Piccone, senior fellow with the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion
- The History of the Future of Syria Monday, October 6 | 12:00 | Woodrow Wilson Center | Register to Attend | Over the past four years, Syria and the entire Middle East have witnessed unprecedented changes. This lecture will look back on these events in the expectation of determining what may come next. Special attention will be paid to U.S. foreign policy, the growth and proliferation of terrorist organizations such as ISIS, the fate of minorities in the region, and the state of cultural patrimony. Christian Sahner, author of Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present, and doctoral candidate at Princeton University will be speaking.
- Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing: The Role of Business in Overcoming Poverty Tuesday, October 7 | 12:00 – 1:30 | American Enterprise Institute | Register to Attend | When it comes to helping the poor, conventional wisdom tells us that charity is the answer. But that isn’t necessarily true. In “Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing” (AEI Press, 2014), Peter Greer and Chris Horst of HOPE International argue that this commonly held view overlooks the real engine of true human flourishing: entrepreneurial businesses, which sustain productive development long after charitable giving dries up.
- War without Debate: The Constitution, Intervention, and the Strikes against ISIS Tuesday, October 7 |12:00 | Cato Institute | Featuring Gene Healy, Vice President, Cato Institute; and Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; moderated by John Maniscalco, Director of Congressional Affairs, Cato Institute. When Congress authorized the arming and training of Syrian moderates to combat ISIS, it explicitly stated that this action should not be construed as an authorization for the introduction of U.S.armed forces into hostilities. Yet, on the orders of President Obama, the United States has begun bombing ISIS targets within Syria. Did the president violate the Constitution, which grants Congress the exclusive power to “declare War”? If intervention is in America’s national security interest, how should the mission be defined and how should it be achieved?
- ISIS and the End of the Middle East as We Know It Thursday, October 9 | 12:30 – 2:00 | Woodrow Wilson Center | While Western attention is caught by the rise of the so-called “Islamic State”, the real story may be the dissolution of order in the Middle East. How do we understand ongoing political and geopolitical shifts in the region and the rise of new types of actors such as the “Islamic State”? And what, if anything, can and should Western powers do? Volker Perthes is the executive chairman and director of Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin. He received his doctorate from the University of Duisburg in 1990 and his habilitation in 1999. From 1991 to 1993, Perthes was an assistant professor at the American University of Beirut; he joined SWP in 1992 and headed the Research Group “Middle East and Africa” for several years. His previous teaching positions include the universities of Duisburg, Münster, and Munich; currently, Perthes is a professor at Humboldt University Berlin and Free University of Berlin. In addition, Perthes serves on various national and international bodies such as the Advisory Research Council of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) (as chairman), the International Advisory Council of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS), the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), the TCCI Advisory Board of the Turkish Industry & Business Association (TÜSIAD), and the TTIP Advisory Council of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Perthes is a frequent commentator in German and international media.