1. After the Iran Deal: Regional Repercussions and Dynamics | Monday, August 10th | 12:00 – 1:30 | MEI | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a discussion of expectations across the region following Iran’s agreement with the P5+1 on its nuclear program. The historic deal may end Iran’s status as a pariah state, particularly in capitals outside the region. How have leaders in Tehran indicated they may proceed? How do the Arab states and Turkey view the implications of an Iran empowered by sanctions relief and diplomatic normalization? How might regional states react if Iran steps up its interventions in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere? And what actions are America’s allies in the region likely to want of the United States in managing Iran? Discussing these and other questions will be MEI senior fellow Robert S. Ford, MEI scholar Thomas W. Lippman, director of the Center for Turkish Studies Gönül Tol, and senior fellow Alex Vatanka. MEI’s vice president for policy & research Paul Salem will moderate the conversation.
2. Naval Aviation | Wednesday, August 12th | 9:00-10:00 | CSIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Please join CSIS and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) for a discussion with Lieutenant General Jon Davis, Deputy Commandant for Aviation and Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces moderated by Admiral Joseph Pureher, USN, Ret. Vice Admiral Peter H. Daly, USN, Ret., CEO, USNI will provide an introduction. The Maritime Security Dialogue brings together CSIS and USNI, two of the nation’s most respected non-partisan institutions. The series is intended to highlight the particular challenges facing the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, from national level maritime policy to naval concept development and program design. Given budgetary challenges, technological opportunities, and ongoing strategic adjustments, the nature and employment of U.S. maritime forces are likely to undergo significant change over the next ten to fifteen years. The Maritime Security Dialogue provides an unmatched forum for discussion of these issues with the nation’s maritime leaders.
3. Thailand and the Changing Geopolitical Dynamics of Southeast Asia | Wednesday, August 12th | 10:00 – 11:30 | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | In the Asia-Pacific, economic development and interconnectivity is growing alongside increasing tensions between neighbor states. This is no clearer than in the fight for building Thailand’s infrastructure. Nobuhiro Aizawa will discuss how Thailand’s 2014 coup and competing infrastructure bids are altering the geopolitics and international relations of Southeast Asia. Abigail Friedman will offer comment, and Carnegie’s James L. Schoff will moderate. Speakers include: Nobuhiro Aizawa, associate professor, Kyushu University, Abigail Friedman, founder and CEO, The Wisteria Group. Moderator: James L. Schoff, senior associate, Asia Program,Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
4. The Threat from Within: Israel’s Extremist Dilemma | Wednesday, August 12th | 11:30 | FPRI (n.b. this event is in Philadephia but FPRI posts video and/or audio of its events) | REGISTER TO ATTEND | “We have been lax in tackling Jewish terrorism,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin this week in response to the attacks at the gay pride parade and then the firebombing of a home in the West Bank, resulting in the burning to death of an 18-month-old child. These are not isolated incidents, however, and pose a threat to the Israeli government’s authority, Israeli democracy, and add yet another impediment to peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. We have asked Barak Mendelsohn to explore the rise of Jewish extremism in Israel, the dilemmas it poses for Israel, and what might be done to alleviate it. Barak Mendelsohn is a senior fellow at FPRI and associate professor of political science at Haverford College. This past academic year, he served as a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Security at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has already written extensively on the Messianic movement inside Israel, in addition to his work on radical Islam and jihadism. He served in the IDF for 5 years and received his Ph.D. in government from Cornell University. His books include Combating Jihadism (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and The Al Qaeda Franchise (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015).
5. From Coalition to Conservative Majority: What’s Next for UK Foreign Policy? |Wednesday, August 12th | 6:30 | British Embassy | REGISTER TO ATTEND | This past May, the United Kingdom took to the voting booths and surprised many pollsters by handing a slim majority to Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party, thereby electing the UK’s first Conservative majority government in over a decade. Meanwhile, former Tory coalition partners the Liberal Democrats, led by outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, managed to hold only about 15% of their previous seats, the Labour Party lost seats and the Scottish National Party became the third largest party in the Commons. Since the election, the UK has continued to play a major role in the international foreign policy scene, from announcing its commitment to maintaining NATO’s defense spending target of 2% of GDP to playing a leading role in negotiations on the Iran Nuclear Deal. Young Professionals in Foreign Policy and the British Embassy invite you to join us for a post-election discussion moderated by Deputy Head of Mission to the United States, Patrick Davies. Mr. Davies, joined by a panel of experts from the Embassy, will discuss the new UK government, as the UK and its allies grapple with foreign policy issues such as combating ISIL, nuclear negotiations with Iran and EU reform.
6. Assessing the Iran Nuclear Agreement: Placing Sanctions in Context | Thursday, August 13th | 10:00-11:00 | The Heritage Foundation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Sanctions are what convinced Iran to begin negotiations with the United States. However, the mechanics behind lifting sanctions and the differences among international, U.S. and European Union sanctions are complicated. All beg the question of how effective the Iran deal really is. This program will explore the role of sanctions in the Iran Deal. Our panelists will examine the structure of the sanctions regime, debate its various implications, and explore what we can do about it. Among the questions to be addressed are: What sanctions are currently in place on Iran? What is the difference between multi-lateral oil sanctions and unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran? Is it really possible for the sanctions to be “snapped back” if Iran violates the agreement? Would the sanctions regime really disband if there was no agreement? Join us as our panel discusses Iran’s new sanctions regime and what it means for the future. Panelists include: Ilan Berman, Vice President, American Foreign Policy Council, Emanuele Ottolenghi, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation. Hosted by: James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow, Heritage Foundation.
7. The Iran Deal: Key Issues and Controversies | Thursday, August 13th | 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | CSIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Please join us for a discussion with Dr. Colin Kahl and other members of the administration on key elements of the Iran nuclear deal and its specific implications for the international community. Speakers include: Dr. Colin Kahl,
Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Adviser to the Vice President, Jon Wolfsthal, Senior Director for Arms Control and Non-proliferation, National Security Council, Chris Backemeyer, Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, U.S. Department of State. Moderator: Dr. Anthony H. Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, CSIS.
Middle East Intern Maithili Bagaria was born in India, raised in Thailand and is currently a rising senior at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She writes:
As I feel another spasm of pain, I grab my phone on the bedside table and call my uncle, ranting to him about my terrible stomach cramps and begging him to think of a solution. He tells me to go to the emergency room if the pain is unbearable. I tell him I think it’ll pass within the hour. He then advises me to set up an appointment with a primary care provider and asks me to make sure my insurance will cover the visit.
I put the phone down in confusion. Insurance? How was that related to anything? I begin to recall the annual health insurance charged to my father as part of college tuition. I remember the Aetna plastic card that came in the mail during the first week of classes. I furiously rummage through my wallet and locate the plastic card, grateful that I had the common sense not to throw it away. My journey in American health care is off to a good start.
Logging in to Aetna’s website, I am stormed by various tabs that mean nothing to me. After locating the “Find a doctor” tab, I’m confused as to which insurance plan I possess. I go back through my records and find that I’ve been charged for student health insurance and try searching that instead. This time I’m taken to a website that allows me to locate doctors that are partnered with Aetna Student Health.
I call a university hospital and am quickly set up for an annual physical Aetna covers. At my appointment, my doctor tells me she’ll send a prescription to the nearest CVS. When I pick up my medicines, I find my insurance covers those too. All in all, I’ve been charged $0 for my visit.
In Thailand, the hospital process would have easily cost me $100. I would have had to pay for the doctor, the medicine and the administrative fees out of my pocket. The idea of health insurance for non-Thais living in Thailand is out of the question. Even many wealthy Thais opt out of health insurance and pay the hospital fee upfront when need be. Now, it is true that medical care costs less in Thailand than the US, but health care without insurance—which is common—can easily cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
In my experience, doctors in Asia–certainly in Thailand and India–are less likely to prescribe medicines for “minor pain.” Doctors in Bangkok have often told me that if I can bear the pain, I should avoid taking medicines. In Washington DC, I was told there is no need to tolerate any pain. Daily medicines can easily fix the issue. I subscribed to the American model when the pain started interfering with my work schedule.
The question of which medical recommendation is better is more than a conflict between Western and Eastern medicine. It is a conflict between disparate cultures, ideologies and histories, which I face everyday as a modern-day nomad. By giving in to my American doctors’ recommendation, am I becoming a victim of American work culture and allowing my schedule to dictate crucial health decisions? Or am I simply being practical by embracing modern-day medicine?
The people around me had no trouble trying to put me in a box. On my first day at Rice University, a member of the cleaning staff started talking to me in rapid Spanish after she saw I was dark-skinned and understood what “hola” meant. American friends attributed my vegetarianism to my religion, even though I’m a practicing Hindu in name only. Indian family members assumed I had lost respect for Indian customs and traditions as an Indian who had grown up abroad.
It seemed I could never please anyone, except I could please everyone. The disparate philosophies embedded in me allow me to relate comfortably with others. I can understand the warmth one feels from living amongst 15 other people just as much as the independence one feels from living alone. I can transition from a direct and transparent communication style to one that demands more subtlety. And most importantly, I can listen without many preconceived notions, because I know the costs of trying to put people in a box. A modern day nomad’s life is full of internal cultural conflicts, but also one of rewarding connections with other people.