April 28, 2014

A Time to Attack: The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat
Date: April 28, 3:30 – 5:00pm
Location: Georgetown University, Mortara Building, 3600 N Street NW, Washington DC

Join us for a talk moderated by Colin Kahl on Professor Matthew Kroenig’s  soon-to-be-released book “A Time to Attack.”

Iran’s advanced nuclear program may be the world’s most important emerging international security challenge. In his new book, Professor Matt Kroenig argues that if not stopped, a nuclear-capable Iran will mean an even more crisis-prone Middle East, a potential nuclear-arms race in the region and around the world, and an increased risk of nuclear war against Israel and the United States, among many other imminent global threats.

To address these challenges, Professor Kroenig provocatively argues that military action against Iran may be the US’s best strategy. A Time to Attack surveys the history of Iran’s nuclear program and the international community’s attempts to stop it. Kroenig assesses the options available to policymakers, and reflects on what the resolution of the Iranian nuclear challenge will mean for the future of international order.  Former high ranking US policymaker Professor Colin Kahl will moderate the event and provide an alternative view that stresses the value of diplomatic, rather than military, solutions.

Register here.

Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptation, Reagan’s Engagement and the End of the Cold War
Date: April 28, 4:00 – 5:30pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, 5th Floor Conference Room, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

In the Triumph of Improvisation, James Graham Wilson takes a long view of the end of the Cold War, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Operation Desert Storm. Wilson argues that adaptation, improvisation, and engagement by individuals in positions of power ended the specter of a nuclear holocaust. Eschewing the notion of a coherent grand strategy to end the Cold War, Wilson illuminates how leaders made choices and reacted to events they did not foresee.

James Graham Wilson received his Ph.D. in diplomatic history from the University of Virginia in 2011 and his B.A. from Vassar College in 2003. He currently works on Soviet and National Security Policy volumes for the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series in the Office of the Historian at the Department of State.

Seating is limited, RSVP at

The Maidan, Crimea, and the East: Evolving Human Rights Challenges in Ukraine
Date: April 28, 4:00 – 5:30pm
Location: Open Society Foundations, 1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 7th Floor, Washington DC 20006

Four civil society activists with firsthand knowledge of human rights concerns related to the Maidan, Crimea, and the situation in eastern Ukraine discuss the evolving human rights challenges facing Ukraine.

Volodymyr Shcherbachenko, a Luhansk native, shares his knowledge of the situation on the ground, providing insight into the current struggles over the eastern regions. The Euromaidan activists also offer Ukrainian civic groups’ evaluation of the situation throughout the country, the range of work they are undertaking in response, and their recommendations for the West.

Speakers include: Maksym Butkevych has worked in the media since 1999 as an international correspondent for Ukrainian TV channels “STB,” 1+1, and “Inter”; Alexandra Delemenchuk is one of the co-coordinators of Euromaidan-SOS; Oleksandra Matviichuk is board chair of the Center for Civil Liberties, a nongovernmental organization promoting democratic development and human rights; Volodymyr Shcherbachenko is head of the board of the East-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives; Jeff Goldstein (moderator) is the senior policy analyst for Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations.

RSVP here.

The United States and Iran: Can Diplomacy Prevent an Iranian Bomb?
Date: April 28, 6:00 – 7:15pm
Location: AU School of International Service, Abramson Family Founders Room, New Mexico and Nebraska Ave NW, Washington DC 20016

Iran and the P5 plus 1 completed an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. Negotiators began meeting in Vienna in February to take on the challenge of a comprehensive accord. What are the chances of success, and what are the implications of failure — for the United States, Iran, and the region at large?

Join us for this University Conversation as three veteran observers of U.S. policy, Iran, and the region take on these important questions.

Dr. James Goldgeier, Dean, SIS
The Honorable Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO, The Wilson Center

Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Retired U.S. Career Ambassador; served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Jordan, India and the UN
Dr. Michael Doran, Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution
Dr. Shaul Bakhash, Robinson Professor of History, George Mason University

Dr. Aaron David Miller, Vice President for New Initiatives, The Wilson Center

RSVP here.


April 29, 2014

Israel vs. Al-Qaeda: Emerging Challenges on Two Fronts
Date: April 29, 12:30pm
Location: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1828 L Street NW, Suite 1050, Washington DC 20036

For Israel, the major battlefields of the post-9/11 “global war on terror” were long confined to faraway countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, and Mali. Yet with the emergence of potent al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Israel now faces the prospect of being a frontline state, as jihadist threats on its northern and southern borders compound the longstanding challenge from the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis.

To discuss these issues, The Washington Institute is pleased to host a Policy Forum with Ehud Yaari and Michael Morell. Ehud Yaari, Israel’s leading interpreter of Arab politics, is a Middle East correspondent for Channel Two television and a Lafer International Fellow with The Washington Institute. Michael Morell, a thirty-three-year veteran of the CIA, retired last year after serving since 2010 as deputy director of central intelligence, with two stints as acting director. He is currently the senior security correspondent for CBS News.

Webcast here.

Joint Subcommittee Hearing: U.S. – Russia Nuclear Arms Negotiations: Ukraine and Beyond
Date: April 29, 1:30pm
Location: U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515

Witnesses include Ms. Anita E. Friedt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear and Strategic Policy, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, U.S. Department of State; Mr. Brent Hartley, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

Webcast here.

The Army Moving Forward: A Discussion with General David G. Perkins
Date: April 29, 1:30 – 2:30pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies , 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington DC 20036

Please join us for a discussion with General David G. Perkins, Commmanding General, US Army Training and Doctrine Command moderated by Dr. Maren Leed, Senior Adviser, Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies. General Perkins will speak on how the Army will continue to promote innovation through experimentation and develop the next generation of Army leaders under fiscal constraints.

Register here.

The Future of the Russian-American Security Dialogue after the Ukrainian Crisis
Date: April 29, 4:00 – 5:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, 5th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Power politics seem to be back in Europe, pulling the U.S.-Russian relationship back into a standoff reminiscent of the Cold War. Despite renewed confrontation over Ukraine, the US and Russia still have fundamentally compatible views on threats such as transnational crime, terrorism, proliferation of WMD and sensitive technologies, man-made disasters, piracy, illegal cyber activity, drug trafficking, and climate change. What is in store for U.S.-Russian cooperation on these challenges in the wake of the Ukraine crisis? Is a common security agenda vis-à-vis these threats still possible?

Dr. Feodor Voitolovsky is the head of section and senior research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAN) – the biggest and oldest Russian think tank whose roots go back to 1956). He is a Next Generation Hurford Fellow with the Carnegie Endowment’s Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative. His research interests include U.S. foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, Russia-NATO relations, and wider political and security issues in the context of international institutions. He is the author of a 2008 monograph Unity and Division of the West as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

This event is co-sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. RVSP here.


April 30, 2014

Point of Attack: Preventive War, International Law, and Global Warfare
Date: April 30, 2:00 – 3:30pm
Location: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street NW, Washington DC 20036

The world is overwhelmed by wars between and within nations — wars that have dominated American politics for decades. In his latest book, “Point of Attack: Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare” (Oxford University Press, 2014), John Yoo argues that the current system of international law has had little effect on competition between the great powers and has impeded intervention to prevent the internal collapse of states, terrorist groups, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and destabilizing regional powers.

During this event, Yoo and a panel of experts will debate the current challenges posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the ongoing Syrian civil war, North Korea, and Iran.

Transatlantic Challenges of Preventing Further Destabilization in Ukraine
Date: April 30, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Center for Transatlantic Relations, 1619 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036

Should Ukraine´s neighbors also feel vulnerable in the current turmoil and a possible full scaled Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine? When will the reverse gas flow to Ukraine from Slovakia be ready?  Have the US and the EU been effective so far in their response to illegitimate Russian moves? And is the Ukraine on the way to become a free, functional and viable state?

Peter Burian, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Slovakia, earned his degree in Oriental Studies at St. Petersburg State University. He continued his diplomatic and international studies at the University of Cairo, Comenius University in Bratislava and the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow.  He held the post of Head of Slovakia´s Mission to NATO in Brussels from 1999 to 2003 and was the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations in New York from 2004 to 2008 when Slovakia held one of the non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. From 2008 to 2012 he served as Ambassador of Slovakia to the United States. In his capacity as First Deputy Minister, Mr. Burian is responsible for areas of security policy, economic diplomacy, development assistance, international organizations and the territories of the EU Eastern Partnership, Africa, Asia and Pacific, and Americas.

Register here.


May 1, 2014

Sustaining Strong Defense Posture in the Era of Austere Budgets
Date: May 1, 8:30 – 10:00am
Location:2255 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC

U.S. military planners today face a daunting task of sustaining a robust defense posture against a growing array of threats with declining budgets. Fortunately, opportunities exist to improve our military posture by, among other things, reducing the high rate of growth in the Pentagon’s personnel accounts, closing excess bases, and retiring weapon systems that are past their useful service lives or of marginal value in addressing existing and emerging security challenges. Such actions, while strategically sound, have proven politically difficult to undertake. Yet failure to make tough political choices like these regarding our defense budget priorities risks fielding a military that is improperly calibrated for achieving strategic objectives.

Please join us on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 8:30 am for a congressional event with Rep. Adam Smith, the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee and Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow and Director of Defense Budget Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) as they offer a roadmap for prioritizing the Pentagon’s budget.  CSBA President Andrew Krepinevich will moderate the discussion.

Space is limited and RSVPs are required. RSVP here.

Escalating Tensions: Is Northeast Asia Headed Toward War on the High Seas?
Date: May 1, 2:00pm
Location: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington DC 20036

Over the past few months, escalating tensions between China and Japan have generated predictions of military conflict in the East China Sea. While US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently locked horns with his Chinese counterpart over the Senkaku Islands, the commander of US Marine Corps Forces Japan claimed that if the Chinese invaded the islands, the US Navy and Marines could recapture them.

Is an acute crisis likely? What further actions may China undertake to protect its interests? At what point might the US choose to intervene militarily in a dispute?

Join us at AEI as a panel of experts convene to discuss the future of disputed territories in the East China Sea, if these disputes can be resolved through judicial settlement, and what increased conflict would mean for US interests in the region.

Vying for Allah’s Vote: Understanding Islamic Parties, Political Violence, and Extremism in Pakistan
Date: May 1, 3:00 – 4:30pm
Location: Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Lehrman Auditorium, Washington DC

In this book, Haroon K. Ullah analyzes the origins, ideologies, bases of support, and electoral successes of the largest and most influential Islamic parties in Pakistan. Based on his extensive field work in Pakistan, he develops a new typology for understanding and comparing the discourses put forth by these parties in order to assess what drives them and what separates the moderate from the extreme. A better understanding of the range of parties is critical for knowing how the United States and other Western nations can engage states where Islamic political parties hold both political and moral authority. Pakistan’s current democratic transition will hinge on how well Islamic parties contribute to civilian rule, shun violence, and mobilize support for political reform.

Haroon K. Ullah is a scholar, U.S. diplomat, and field researcher specializing in South Asia and the Middle East. He currently serves on Secretary Kerry’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, where he focuses on public diplomacy and countering violent extremism. He grew up in a farming community in Washington State and was trained at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he served as a senior Belfer Fellow and completed his MPA. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and was a William J. Fulbright Fellow, a Harvard University Presidential Scholar, a National Security Education Program Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Public Service Fellow. Dr. Haroon Ullah is the author of Vying for Allah’s Vote (Georgetown University Press, 2013) and Bargain from the Bazaar (Public Affairs Books, 2014).

RVSP here.

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes
Date: May 1, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Location: New America Foundation, 1899 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20036

How did the conflict dubbed “the good war” go so disastrously wrong? It’s a question that haunted many following the American-led efforts in Afghanistan in the years after the 9/11 attacks— and one that by 2008 drove Anand Gopal to drop his studies in New York and set out, as a journalist, to answer to himself.

What followed was an expedition across Afghanistan documenting lives caught at the heart of the war: the U.S.-backed warlord who uses the American military to gain personal power and wealth; the Taliban commander who abandoned the movement after the invasion, only to be provoked by corruption and civilian killings to join again; and the village housewife who discovers the devastating cost of neutrality. In following their journeys, he also found an answer to his question. The prevailing assumption of pundits and policymakers — that the U.S. did not commit enough resources and focus to the war — was wrong. Instead, it’s a more agonizing story of mistakes and misdeeds just like those that played out in the lives of the ordinary Afghans he followed.

Did the U.S. come startlingly close to defeating the Taliban only to resurrect them? Could the war have played out differently? And, as America continues to wind down its presence in Afghanistan, what legacy are we leaving behind?

Join New America for a conversation with Anand Gopal, author of the new book No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes, as he challenges the popular narratives about what went wrong in this “graveyard of empires.”

RSVP here.


May 2, 2014

Who Owns Haiti? Sovereignty in a Fragile State: 2004-2014
Date: May 2, 8:00am – 6:30pm
Location: Elliot School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, Linder Commons Room 602, Washington DC 20052

A day long symposium at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington DC that will address the issue of Haitian sovereignty through lenses of: governance, economic and human development, cultural heritage, and politics and the international community.

RSVP here.


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