Great Decisions 2022

January 15   — “Russia”  — Dr Alan Lynch, UVA

Russia and the United States have many areas of conflict and some possible areas of mutual interest. Arms control, Russian interference in U.S. elections and support of cyberattacks, the status of Ukraine, the fate of opposition politicians in Russia, all continue to be concerning. How will the new administration in Washington approach these issues?

Bio — Allen C. Lynch is professor of politics at the University of Virginia and former director of the university’s Center for Russian & East European Studies (1993–2008). B.A. State University of New York at Stony Brook, Columbia University, M.I.A. and certificate in Russian, 1979, Ph.D., 1984.

January 22 –Outer Space”Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson

The launch of Sputnik I in October 1957 marked the beginning of the space era and of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the 21st century, there are many more participants in space, including countries such as India and China, and commercial companies such as SpaceX. How will the United States fare in a crowded outer space?

Bio –Mr. Gibson is a retired Navy Captain and astronaut, U.S. Navy fighter pilot, experimental test pilot, and Southwest Airlines Captain.  He flew on five successful Space Shuttle missions, four of which he commanded and has logged over 36 days in space. He served as Chief of Astronauts and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He has 14,000 hours in over 140 types of civil and military aircraft. He has an aeronautical engineering degree from California Polytechnic State University and is a graduate of Topgun and the US Navy Test pilot School.

January 29 – “China’s Civilian Army – The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy” – Mr Peter Martin, Bloomberg News

As many who follow Chinese politics will be aware, Chinese diplomacy in the past several years has become increasingly assertive and its diplomats have used sharper language. Based on Chinese action movies of the same name, this pointed style of communication has earned these diplomats the title “wolf warriors.” The roots of China’s approach to diplomacy dates back to the communist revolution of 1949 has evolved through social upheaval, famine, capitalist reforms, and China’s rise to superpower status. How does this challenge the US and its allies including the Quad and criticality of working together to develop more coordinated approaches to China.

Bio –Peter Martin is a Defense Policy and Intelligence Reporter for Bloomberg News in Washington and author of “China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy.” Previously based in Beijing, he has written extensively on escalating tensions in the US-China relationship and reported from China’s border with North Korea and its far-western region of Xinjiang. He holds degrees from the University of Oxford, Peking University, and the London School of Economics.

February 5- “Populism” – Dr Paul Taggart, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

The rise of populist movements and parties the world over in recent years has spurred much interest in the subject. Waves of rising insurgent parties and movements across Europe and Asia, the association of the Brexit vote with populism, and the election of Donald Trump as US president on an anti-establishment ticket have all raised the salience of populism in the discipline. While populism was often considered a matter for scholars of domestic political processes, the seemingly coordinated rise of such movements in recent years has led to a greater interest in the topic by scholars of international and global politics.

February 12- “Changing Demographics” — Dr. Nicole S. Hutton Shannon, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science & Geography, Old Dominion University

The world experienced remarkable demographic changes in the 20th century that continue today and have resulted in far-reaching social, economic, political, and environmental consequences all over the globe. These consequences are creating mounting challenges to development efforts, security, climate, and the environment, as well as the sustainability of human populations.

February 19- “Climate Change” — Mr. Julian Reyes, National Climate Hubs Coordinator, US Department of Agriculture

The ideological divide in the United States on the subject of climate change has impeded progress in curbing greenhouse emissions. But extreme weather events at both ends of the thermometer have focused attention on the consequences of inaction. What role will the United States play in future negotiations on climate?

February 26- “Biden’s Agenda” — Dr. Richard Maass, Old Dominion University

The new administration in Washington promised to reverse many of the policies of the past administration, especially in foreign policy. How will issues such as climate, the pandemic, and alliances be treated under the Biden administration?

March 5- “Drug Policy in Latin America” — Mr. John Walsh, Washington Office on Latin America

The issue of migration to the United States from Latin America has overshadowed the war on drugs, which has been underway for decades with little signs of progress. What are the roots and the bureaucratic logic behind today´s dominant drug policies in Latin America? Is it time to reconsider punitive drug control policies that disrupt supply chains and punish drug possession?

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