Great Decisions 2024 Programs

Barb Schaepe

Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program focused on world affairs. SaddleBrooke Great Decisions 2024 programs will occur on eight Mondays from Jan. 15 through April 15 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the East Ballroom at the MountainView clubhouse. Watch for the publication of the exact dates next month. Members will be notified by email.

Prior to meetings, members can read a summary of key issues in the Briefing Book from the Foreign Policy Association. At meetings, members watch a documentary film, listen to a presentation followed by a brief question and answer period, and then split up into small groups to discuss the meeting’s topic. Finally, each group reports the most pertinent takeaways gleaned from its discussion.

Topics and discussion leaders for 2024 are as follows:

Mideast Realignment. Discussion leader: Sandy McNabb. The U.S. has significant national interests in the Middle East, and it is a key arena for global power politics. Can the U.S. defend its interests with a lower level of involvement, or should it recommit to a leading role in the region?

Climate Technology and Competition. Discussion leader: Lockwood Carlson. Will the United States and China, followed by other countries, approach current and future climate initiatives with increased trade protectionism and nationalism? Or could an international accord develop?

Science Across Borders (Cooperation and Regulation). Discussion leader: Darlene Carlson. Scientific advances benefit from researcher collaboration, but what happens when the material is controversial and important to a nation’s national security?

U.S.-China Trade Rivalry/Investment Strategies. Discussion leader: Boyd Bosma. China’s economic rise and policies of increasing the state’s role in the economy have led some U.S. policymakers to seek to deny China access to U.S. technology and investment. Is this strategy-wise, and how effective can it be?

NATO’s Future. Discussion leader: John Sohikian. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, scrutiny of NATO has increased, not due to NATO troop involvement, but because of its role in relations between Russia and its neighbors. Will expanding NATO membership protect countries or further provoke Russia?

Understanding Indonesia. Discussion leader: George Kramer. Despite being one of the world’s largest democracies, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, and an economic driver of ASEAN, why is Indonesia virtually invisible to most Americans? What are the issues in U.S.–Indonesian relations?

High Seas Treaty. Discussion leader: Harry Sloan. The recently negotiated High Seas Treaty attempts to address issues of ecosystem degradation of the high seas (areas beyond national jurisdiction). How difficult will it be to convince nations to participate?

Pandemic Preparation. Discussion leader: Art Triester. How can lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic be applied to future pandemics?

The Briefing Book with readings on these topics can be purchased through SaddleBrooke Great Decisions. Members will be notified about reserving and picking up books. The Briefing Book is also available on Kindle through Amazon. While not mandatory, participants are encouraged to do the readings.

Further information about SaddleBrooke Great Decisions is available at Questions can be addressed to Sandy Epstein at [email protected] or phone Sherry Kaplan at 847-528-1968.