Great Decisions program to begin January 7

Ellen Citron

The SaddleBrooke Great Decisions program will begin on Monday, January 7 at 3:00 p.m. in the Ballroom at MountainView Clubhouse. The annual meeting will be followed by a social get together after the meeting and discussion. The Great Decision books should be available for purchase at this meeting. Future meetings will be every other Monday afternoons from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on January 21, February 4 and 18, March 4 and 18, and April 1, 15 and 29.

The 2019 topics for discussion are as follows:

Refugees and Global Migration

Every state in today’s global system has its own laws and policies about who is permitted to cross its borders and how they will do so. Who determines whether someone is a refugee or a migrant? How have different countries, including the United States, reacted to migration? How effective are the international laws, policies and organizations that have evolved to assist and protect refugees and migrants?

The Middle East: Regional Disorder

Middle East is a region in turmoil. The Trump administration has aligned itself with strongmen in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which along with Israel have a common goal of frustrating Iranian expansion. What will be the fallout from withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear accord and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Does the United States see a path forward in troubled states such as Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq? Is the United States headed toward war with Iran?

Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future?

Nuclear weapons have not gone away and the Trump administration has brought a new approach to dealing with them. The President has met with Vladimir Putin as the New Start Treaty with Russia comes up for renewal in 2021 and held the first presidential summit ever with Kim Jong-un to discuss denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. He has also decertified the Obama nuclear deal with Iran.

The Rise of Populism in Europe

Mass migration has directly abetted the rise of populist parties in Europe. Opposition to immigration was the prime driver of support for Brexit as well as bringing a far-right party to the German Bundestag 1950s and propelling Le Pen to win a third of the vote in the French presidential election. In addition to calling for stronger borders, however, these parties are invariably illiberal, anti-American, anti-NATO and pro-Kremlin, making their rise a matter of serious concern for the national security interests of the United States.

Decoding U.S.-China Trade

Though arguably the most advanced economy in the world, the United States still uses centuries-old numbers to measure trade. These antique numbers mangle understanding of the U.S.-China trade relationship, shrinking America’s true economic size and competitiveness, while swelling China’s. Bad numbers give rise to bad policies that ultimately kill U.S. jobs and cede market share to China.

Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics

Cyber conflict is a new and continually developing threat, which can include foreign interference in elections, industrial sabotage and attacks on infrastructure. Dealing with cyber conflict will require new ways of looking at 21st century warfare. Is the United States prepared to respond to such threats?

The United States and Mexico: Partnership Tested

The United States and Mexico have a long, intertwined history, with both countries prominently featured in each other’s politics and agendas. The war on drugs, immigration and trade issues have taxed the relationship over the years. What impact will new leadership in both countries have on this crucial partnership?

State of the State Department and Diplomacy

During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries?

For further information about Great Decisions please refer to the Foreign Policy Association website, the Southern Arizona regional Great Decisions website and the SaddleBrooke Great Decisions website If you have any questions, or need any further information about Great Decisions, please contact Penny Rauzi at [email protected] or 740-398-9091.