This Week in DC: Events

May 19, 2014

PONI Live Debate: The Role of Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Responding to the Crisis in Crimea
Date: May 19, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2nd Floor, Hess Room, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington DC 20036

The Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) is pleased to invite you to a live debate about U.S. and NATO nuclear strategy in Central and Eastern Europe.

In the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, NATO attested that it had “no intention, no plan and no reason” to locate nuclear weapons on the territory of Central and Eastern European states. But today, as tensions over the Crimea crisis continue to escalate, many have begun to call for a reexamination of this policy. Would the presence of tactical nuclear weapons provide stability and assurance to NATO’s Eastern European members, or would such a move spark more skirmishes with an antagonized Russia? Mr. Peter B. Doran, Director of Research at the Center for European Policy Analysis, and Mr. Kingston Reif, Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, will debate these questions at the next PONI Live Debate.

The live, in-person, debate will be also be webcast live. Viewers can ask questions of the debaters in real-time by emailing Tune in here for the livestream. To attend in person, register here.


May 20, 2014

Revelations About the NSA: A Talk with James Bamford
Date: May 20, 12:00 – 2:00 pm
Location: Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington DC

Join us in our conference room for a conversation with James Bamford about the Edward Snowden revelations and what they mean for the country.

Bamford is an American bestselling author and journalist noted for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, especially the National Security Agency (NSA).

Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan: An Enduring Threat
Date: May 20, 2:00 pm
Location: U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 2200 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515

The Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade welcomes the following witnesses to dicsuss Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan: Mr. Thomas Joscelyn, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Mr. David Sedney, the Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia at the U.S. Department of Defense.

Watch the hearing online here.


May 21, 2014

Boko Haram: The Growing Threat to Schoolgirls, Nigeria, and Beyond
Date: May 21, 9:45 am
Location: U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515

Witnesses Honorable Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the U.S. Department of State and Ms. Amanda J. Dory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense discuss Boko Haram.

Watch the hearing online here.

The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria: Views from the Ground
Date: May 21, 2:00 pm
Location: U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515

The Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa welcomes the following witnesses to Syria: Ms. Andrea Koppel, Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy at Mercy Corps; Ms. Holly Solberg, Director of Emergency and Humanitarian Assistance at CARE; Ms. Pia Wanek, Director in the Office of Humanitarian Assistance at Global Communities; Mr. Zaher Sahloul, M.D., President of the Syrian American Medical Society; Ms. Bernice Romero, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children.

Watch the hearing online here.

NATO’s Balancing Act
Date: May 21, 3:00 pm
Location: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC 20037

Russia’s invasion of Crimea poses an urgent and serious challenge for the venerable Atlantic Alliance. Some argue that in response NATO needs to prioritize collective defense, its original mission, and deemphasize the crisis management and cooperative security roles that have involved the Alliance in conflicts from Afghanistan to Libya.

The impact of the Ukraine crisis on NATO’s balancing among these three tasks remains to be seen. Will the 28 NATO member countries agree on a common analysis of the threat? What is the role of individual NATO members, and to what extent are they willing to invest in new capabilities? These questions will be at the forefront of September’s NATO Summit in South Wales, the first since the 2012 Chicago meeting.

Join us for a discussion exploring the Alliance’s future with four world-renowned NATO experts, including David S. Yost, author of NATO’s Balancing Act.

RSVP here.


May 22, 2014

The Good Spy: The Life and Death of CIA Legend Robert Ames
Date: May 22, 9:00 – 10:30am
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036

On April 18, 1983, the Hezbollah-led bombing of the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon killed 63 individuals, including eight Central Intelligence Agency officers, one of whom was the agency’s Director of the Office of Near East and South Asia Analysis Robert C. Ames. A CIA legend, Ames was known for having established remarkable back-channel connections with Yasir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization when it was still banned as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

In a new book, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer Kai Bird explains how Ames was able to make these contacts, focusing in particular on Ames’ unique ability to develop friendships and ascertain shared values with a wide array of interlocutors. Bird chronicles also Ames’ rise within the CIA, his passion for the Middle East and the details of the fateful Beirut embassy bombing.

On May 22, the Brookings Intelligence Project will host author Kai Bird to examine the life and death of Robert Ames, how relations between the Arab world and West might have been different had he lived and the lessons that can be learned from Ames’ personable, human approach toward intelligence and enduring foreign policy challenges. Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion. Following their remarks, Riedel and Bird will take questions from the audience.

Register here.


May 23, 2014

The Perils of Responsibility: Germany’s New Foreign Policy and the Ukraine Crisis
Date: May 23, 10:00 – 11:30 am
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036

In an orchestrated series of speeches earlier this year, Germany’s President Joachim Gauck, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called upon their nation to reconsider its reticence to confront geopolitical challenges. Touted as a paradigm shift in Germany’s foreign policy, the coordinated addresses urged Germany to adopt a more assertive voice and assume greater responsibility on global issues. At the same time, the architects of Germany’s “New Foreign Policy” reaffirmed the country’s long-standing culture of multilateralism and military restraint. The intent of the coordinated messages appeared to be two-fold: to assure Germany’s allies that it would take on a greater share of the burden of promoting global stability, and to provoke a domestic debate on Germany’s use of traditionally unpopular foreign policy tools.

On May 23, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings with the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Washington will host a panel discussion to assess Germany’s new foreign policy and the challenges posed by the crisis in Ukraine. The panelists will be Brookings Senior Fellow and CUSE Director Fiona Hill, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Ralf Fücks and Olaf Böhnke, head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Brookings Visiting Fellow Jutta Falke-Ischinger will moderate the discussion.

Register here.

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