Global Flashpoints!

Dates:April 25, 2020
Meets:Sa from 8:30 AM to 4:45 PM
Instructor:Instructor Information
Fee: $120.00

All-day session. Continental breakfast included, 8:30-9 a.m. Lunch break 12:15-1:30 p.m. (Please bring your own).

There are still openings remaining at this time.


Course Description

All day Saturday seminar

Mark Croatti, Program Moderator

Spring human rights abuses by Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela; the Islamic State's deadly presence in Afghanistan; Iranian attempts to enrich uranium; and the proliferation of Chinese military bases in disputed waters represent merely a sample of the foreign policy challenges facing the United States. How long will the Maduro regime cling to power? Will the United States resort to invading Venezuela, something the rest of Latin America refuses to support? In Afghanistan, as the "endless war" continues, how will the Islamic State's influence affect communities such as Hazara, where minority Shiites live? The decision by the United States to pull out of the international nuclear accord on Iran has led to violations of many of the key provisions of that deal rather than a newly brokered agreement. Can the United States prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, as North Korea did? Finally, what are China's worldwide ambitions? Are they a strategic competitor, a threat to American interests, or an emerging military adversary? Join us as our speakers explain not only what the United States is up against in these specific regions but also what the international community should do about these emerging concerns.

8:30-8:45 a.m.: Check-in and Continental Breakfast

8:45-9 a.m.: Welcome from Moderator Mark Croatti

9-10:30 a.m. Venezuela
Once the most prosperous country in South America, Venezuela lies in ruins following two decades of "Chavismo". Now, after a series of popular uprisings centered on Juan Guaido, the country continues sliding toward oppressive, intractable decay under Nicolás Maduro's regime. The Venezuelan quagmire has become a proxy struggle among countries such as the United States, China, and Russia, each of which has its own interests and preferred outcomes. What options are on the table to solve the stalemate in Caracas?
Ricardo Barrios, M.A., Peking University, is a Program Associate in the Asia & Latin America Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. His work has been featured in publications including The Diplomat, The National Interest, World Politics Review, and Diálogo Chino. His commentary has also been featured in various media outlets including BBC, Christian Science Monitor, and O Globo.

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Afghanistan
Afghanistan has been at the forefront of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) since 9/11. Today 17,000 NATO troops (including over 8,000 from the U.S.) remain in this troubled nation, where negotiators are trying to create a framework for lasting peace and stability. How did the situation there become so fraught? Is there any clear way forward to peace for a country beset by seemingly endless factionalism, instability, and war?
Ernest Tucker, Ph.D., University of Chicago, is a professor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, teaching courses on Middle Eastern and Central Asian history. He has published a collection of texts related to 19th century Muslim leader Imam Shamil, as well as a study of the 18th century Iranian monarch Nadir Shah. Tucker has also contributed to numerous encyclopedias, dictionaries, and publications such as the Middle East Journal and Iranian Studies.

12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch (on your own)

1:30-3 p.m. Iran
Iran was once a close American ally in the Middle East but after the second (and final) overthrow of the Shah and the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran became estranged from the U.S. even though they both share similar positions regarding the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS. President Obama agreed to a "deal" whereby Iran would halt their nuclear weapons program, but President Trump pulled out. Is military confrontation between Iran and the U.S. inevitable? Will Iran develop a nuclear capability? Is it time to consider regime change?
Alireza Jafarzadeh, M.S., University of Texas, is Deputy Director of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Washington, D.C. Jafarzadeh is an Iranian policy expert on the forefront of efforts to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. His insights have been featured in several major newspapers, and he has appeared on multiple TV news shows, including CBS Evening News, CNN-American Morning, CNN, Headline, MSNBC, CNBC, and Fox News.

3:15-4:45 p.m. China
Seemingly insoluble trade, investment and technology-related frictions between the U.S. and China; the consolidation of Chinese military facilities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea; and the breakdown in efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, are merely a sample of the key challenges facing the Trump Administration in the first term's final year. Will 'decoupling' become the norm in U.S.-China economic relations? Notwithstanding America's "freedom of navigation" operations, does China now enjoy effective control over the key South China Sea waterway, and if so, what are the implications for Washington?
Sourabh Gupta, M.A., International Security Studies, Georgetown University / M.A., International Relations, Syracuse University, is a senior Asia-Pacific international relations policy specialist at the Institute for China-America Studies. His areas of expertise include the major power relationships in the Asia-Pacific region, evaluating the political, security, and economic risks; the territorial disputes and maritime law-related developments; and the developments in Asian economic regionalism, trade policies, politics and negotiations.