Past seasons

GREAT DECISIONS 2015

SPHERE OF INFLUENCE: RUSSIA’S FOREIGN POLICY

Synopsis:

Putin’s pushback against European expansionism has the West wondering: If Putin’s Russia isn’t afraid to take an aggressive stance against Ukraine’s pivot to the West, what does that mean for the rest of Russia’s neighbors?

 

THE TRADEOFF: PRIVACY IN A DIGITAL WORLD

Synopsis:

The idea of “privacy” has undergone significant changes in the digital age, as has the idea of privacy “harm.” Concerns about what some see as a U.S. “dragnet” and unwarranted privacy intrusions have compelled other countries to revamp their own privacy protections. Legislation, both at home and abroad, hasn’t kept pace with technological developments, leaving some wondering if privacy as we know it is long dead.

 

THE GREAT DIVIDE: SUNNI vs SHIA

Synopsis:

From the crisis in Iraq and Syria to the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the struggle between Sunni and Shi‘i groups for dominance is tearing apart the region and shows no signs of abating. How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East? How have governments manipulated sectarian differences? And finally, what is the U.S. doing about it?

 

INDIA RISING

Synopsis:

Inspired by its “top-down” model for growth, the world’s largest democracy has started taking its cues from China, one of America’s economic rivals. It’s a mindset that led to Modi’s election in 2014, and has signaled the developing economy’s desire for real change. Now, it’s up to the U.S. to determine how to best secure its interests as India asserts itself on the world stage.

 

THE PROMISE OF AFRICA

Synopsis:

Africa is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation. The continent is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it’s become a draw for foreign investors from across the globe. After the “Obamamania” of 2008 died down, though, the realization that Obama wasn’t going to overturn, or even prioritize, U.S. Africa policy kicked in. How can U.S. policy live up to its promise and values while securing its interests in the region?

 

SYRIA: THE WORLD’S LARGEST REFUGEE CRISIS

Synopsis:

Syrians have for a century welcomed over a million refugees from Armenia, Palestine, Iraq and other countries around the region. Now, thanks to a multiyear civil war, they are on track to become the source of the world’s largest refugee population in a matter of months. As Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and other neighbors strive to accommodate the millions of Syrians, the risk of allowing Syrians to become dependent on emergency aid and forming a “lost generation” remains.

 

MODERN DAY SLAVERY

Synopsis:

Human trafficking represents over $30 billion in international trade per annum and continues to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries. The U.S. and the international community have adopted various treaties and laws to prevent trafficking, but to truly understand and combat the issue, they must find the root causes enabling smugglers to commit millions into slavery.

 

BUILDING BRAZIL

Synopsis:

Brazil — it’s the “B” in the acronym BRICS, five emerging economies once seen as soon-to-be superpowers. After economic troubles in the 1990s, Brazil has risen to new global prominence — it’s drawing in more investment, working on global issues ranging from climate change to peacekeeping, and even hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. But some of Brazil’s trickiest problems — staggering income inequality, weak civic institutions, poor regional leadership — have held it back.

 

GREAT DECISIONS 2014

SACRED COW: DEFENDING AMERICA ON A BUDGET

Synopsis:

For the first time in decades, the U.S. is tightening its belt on defense spending. While traditional threats like nuclear and great power conflicts do remain. The post 9/11 challenges of terrorism and counterinsurgency have led to a paradigm shift in the way we think about our national security. Emerging threats like cybersecurity and biowarfare also require new thinking. Do 21st century challenges now pose a greater threat to U.S. national security than traditional threats like nuclear war, naval supremacy and ability to fight ground wars? Defense in an age of economic uncertainty.

Guests:

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: THE NEW EGYPT

 

Synopsis:

The U.S. has enjoyed 30 years of relatively stable relations with both Israel and Egypt, thanks in large part to the peace plan outlined by the historic Camp David Accords. The harmony between the two rivals has provided a key element of stability in an otherwise turbulent Middle East. But Egypt’s bumpy transition from the autocratic rule of President Hosni Mubarak to its post Arab Spring reality – has put many on edge. What challenges does the new Egypt post for American policymakers and U.S. allies in the region?

Guests:

FEEDING THE DRAGON: CHINA IN AFRICA

 

Synopsis:

African economies are booming like never before, thanks in large part to China. The global giant is investing in infrastructure projects to help it tap into the continent’s resources – oil, minerals, and its huge agricultural potential. Critics charge China with cozying up to dictators and ignoring issues of human rights and transparency. Others fear that U.S. is being left behind and its influence in Africa waning. China in Africa.

Guests:

IMPERFECT UNION: THE EUROZONE IN CRISIS

 

Synopsis:

After World War Two, the leaders of Europe established greater economic ties to help prevent future continental conflict. Now, more than half a century later, the EU faces the biggest financial crisis in its history – and the future of the Eurozone itself is under question. What’s preventing the world’s second largest economy — and America’s largest trading partner — from pulling itself out of recession?

Guests:

RED LINE : IRAN, ISRAEL AND THE BOMB

 

Synopsis:

For nearly a decade, Iran’s quest for nuclear capabilities has topped global security concerns in Washington, Brussels and Tel Aviv. Why is a nuclear armed Iran considered so dangerous to U.S. and Israeli interests, and what’s prevented Iran from reaching a deal year after year?

Guests:

THE INTERVENTION CALCULATION

 

Synopsis:

The U.S., for better or worse, is often seen as the world’s policeman. But the question of when to intervene in other nations’ affairs with military force has long stymied American policymakers, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya and Syria. Why do we intervene in some conflicts and stand on the sidelines in others?

Guests:

THE GENERALS AND THE DEMOCRAT: MYANMAR IN TRANSITION

 

Synopsis:

Controlled by a military junta, the nation of Burma, or Myanmar, has long been isolated as an international pariah state. But a flicker of hope for many Burmese has been Aung San Suu Kyi, who’s spent decades defying military leaders in her quest for democracy. Now, the generals have started to implement a series of democratic and economic reforms – which the U.S. and other Western powers have welcomed overwhelmingly. But are Myanmar’s military leaders serious about reform? And is Aung San Suu Kyi the one to lead Burma through what could be a rocky transition from international outcast to Asian “tiger?”

Guests:

JOINT STRIKE: NATO AND THE U.S. IN THE 21ST CENTURY

 

Synopsis:

NATO enjoyed a surge in popularity following the quick success of its air campaign in Libya. The much needed boost in morale comes as NATO moves into its twelfth year in Afghanistan, fighting a war that many see as destined to fail. Can the NATO alliance – forged during the Cold War – ensure global stability in the 21st Century? And should the U.S. continue to foot most of the bill?

Guests: