803) Great Decisions 2021 Series

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The readings and videos are selected by the Foreign Policy Association, and provide background information and policy options for the eight most critical issues facing American policymakers each year. Participants are encourage to share their insights and questions in this virtual interactive platform. Register for the series or individual classes (shown below). The 2021 Great Decisions Briefing Book is available for purchase at www.fpa.org, and is suggested for anyone taking the whole series. It is also available as an e-book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 

The 2021 series includes the following topics:

Global Supply Chains and U.S. National Security

The shutdown of global supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic emphasized  the high level of global economic interdependence: what happens when one country is the main source for an item, say face masks or a vaccine, and then can no longer supply the item? Countries suddenly unable to meet the demand for certain supplies are faced with growing calls for economic nationalism. What are some of the lasting effects that the pandemic could have on global supply chains and trade? How would this affect national security?

The Future of Persian Gulf Security

The Persian Gulf remains tense as the rivalry between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran continues impacting all of the countries in the region. Tensions escalated in early 2020 as the United States began to intervene in the Gulf, launching an airstrike that killed two Iranian military commanders. What are the historical influences that have led to these tensions? What role, if any, should the United States play? Is using military force a viable foreign policy option for 2021 and beyond? Can diplomacy work? Why is the Persian Gulf so important to world trade?

Brexit: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

How has the playing field changed now that the United Kingdom has officially left the European Union?  How will  Britain’s role in the global economy be impacted?  Have concerns over the “hard border” between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (part of the EU) occurred?  What impact will this new configuration have on the US, the G7 countries, NATO and the rest of the EU?

The Coldest War: Toward a Return to Great Power Competition in the Arctic?

Who "owns" the Arctic? Whose interests are valued and respected there? Former U.S. President Donald Trump left many scratching their heads when it was rumored that he was looking to purchase the large island nation of Greenland from Denmark. Because of climate change, large sheets of arctic ice are melting, exposing vast stores of natural gas and oil. With Russia and China already miles ahead with their Arctic strategies, how should the U.S. respond? Will hte value of these oil and gas reserves continue as more alternative world energy sources begin to compete?

China and Africa

The Covid-19 crisis has put a massive strain on the growing economic and political relationship between China and the nations of Africa. As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s centerpiece “Belt and Road initiative” continues to expand Chinese power, the response to the spread of Covid-19, as well as the African governments' growing debt to China, have caused concern. What are some of the growing economic and political issues between China and the nations of Africa? Is there a role for hte US to play in this growing relationship?

The Two Koreas

The Korean Peninsula is facing a defining era. Can the divide between North adn South Korea be repaired as Pyongyang continues to test long-range missiles for its nuclear weapons program? As the rift between the U.S. and China increases, South Korea may end up in the middle between two competing superpowers. Who can bring economic, social, and political balance and stability to the Korean peninsula? In unification possible?

The World Health Organization’s Response to Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust the World Health Organization (WHO) into the limelight, for better and for worse. While some criticism of the organization was unfair, the response to the early stages of the pandemic left many experts wanting more from the WHO. What is the WHO’s role in responding to international pandemics? What can be done to improve the WHO’s response to future global health crises? How are the uncertainties concerning how SARS2 began and spread impacting confidence in the way WHO has handled the pandemic?

The End of Globalization?

Is Globalization dead, or merely changing? What is globalization and how does it impact the flow of goods and services around the world? How has globalization changed as the world has begun to emerge from our COVID induced closures?  Which industries have gained strength during this period, and which have been challenged? How have world organizations and economies responded to these challenges? What multi-national organizations have emerged to address these challenges? What roles should the United States play in the world economic and political marketplaces?



Additional Information:
No class 11/4. Information on how to join your video conference will be sent 12-24 hours prior to the start of class.