This Week in DC: Events

May 28, 2014

The United States and Global Missile Defense
Date: May 28, 8:30 am
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower) Washington DC

Please join the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security for our annual Global Missile Defense conference, which will take place on May 28, 2014 at the Atlantic Council headquarters.

Our annual conferences have enabled the Atlantic Council to take an active, leading role in discussions and debate concerning the role of missile defense in US security policy. Building upon last year’s conversations, this year’s event will focus on the recent developments concerning the emerging regional missile defense architectures in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and, it will feature a panel addressing how missile defense operations are likely to evolve out to 2030.

Full schedule of events available here; Register here.

Statesman Forum on Cybersecurity Policy and Diplomacy
Date: May 28, 11:00 am
Location: School of Media and Public Affairs, Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st Street NW, Washington DC 20052

On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, the George Washington University Cybersecurity Initiative will host Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of the Republic of Estonia, for a wide-ranging discussion on the state of play of the current cyber threat; policies and actions that Estonia has taken to address the challenge; the significance of U.S.-Estonia cooperation on cybersecurity; the role of other international alliances and organizations, including NATO; and recent political and military events in the region.

Following President Ilves’ opening remarks, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, and Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, will join in a moderated Q&A session on cybersecurity, as well as U.S. perspectives on the geopolitical implications of the conflict in Ukraine.

Register here.

Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War” Book Talk
Date: May 28, 12:00 pm
Location: Hudson Institute, 1015 15th Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington DC 20005

What was said of the Prussian state and its military is true of Pakistan: It is an army with a state. Pakistan’s army has dominated the state ever since its independence in 1947. Pakistan’s security-intelligence establishment has locked the country in an enduring rivalry with India that has included four full-scale wars, none of them a clear-cut Pakistani victory, and one of them (in 1971) resulting in the loss of Pakistan’s most populous province, modern Bangladesh, to independent statehood. Unable to compete with India using conventional military forces, Pakistan’s army has employed non-state actors and continued to build its nuclear arsenal.

In Fighting to the End, Dr. C. Christine Fair answers the critical question: “Why does Pakistan’s army persist in pursuing revisionist policies that have come to imperil the very viability of the state itself?” After analyzing decades’ worth of the army’s own defense publications, Fair concludes that “from the army’s distorted view of history, it is victorious as long as it can resist India’s purported drive for regional hegemony as well as the territorial status quo. Simply put, acquiescence means defeat.”

To discuss Fighting to the End in the context of Pakistan, its army, and the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, Hudson Institute will host a book talk with Dr. Fair, assistant professor in the Peace and Securities Studies program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Hudson Senior Fellow and former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States Husain Haqqani will moderate the event.

Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author. Register here.

From Dayton to Europe: A New Beginning for Post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Date: May 28, 2:00 pm
Location: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC

After several failed attempts to move Bosnia-Herzegovina beyond political and economic stalemate, last month’s joint commitment by top leaders to European values and identity, a social market economy and the rule of law might mark an opportunity for change.  Five major political parties from Bosnia’s two entities reached agreement to sign the joint declaration amid the deepest institutional crisis since the end of the war in 1995. It remains to be seen whether the parties will be able to generate support for their united stance in the run-up to the October 2014 elections.

Please join us on May 28, 2014, for a conversation with Martin Raguž, a Member of the Parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina and President of the HDZ 1990 Party, and Edward P. Joseph, Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations who has worked for a dozen years in the Balkans most recently as Deputy Head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Kosovo. They’ll discuss the recent turmoil in Bosnia, the significance of the joint declaration by the five parties, the upcoming elections and how to move the country forward. USIP’s Renata Stuebner will moderate the discussion, which will include presentations by the two speakers and a question-and-answer period. This event follows an April 2 discussion at USIP with a Bosnian civic activist and two other panelists on the ramifications of protests for the October elections.

RSVP here.


May 29, 2014

What Good is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush
Date: May 29, 12:00 pm
Location: Heritage Foundation, Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC

Grand strategy is one of the most widely used and abused concepts in the foreign policy lexicon. In his new book, Hal Brands explains why grand strategy is a concept that is so alluring – and so elusive – to those who make American statecraft. He explores what grand strategy is, why it is so essential, and why it is so hard to get right amid the turbulence of global affairs and the chaos of domestic politics. At a time when “grand strategy” is very much in vogue, Brands critically appraises just how feasible that endeavor really is.

Brands takes a historical approach to this subject, examining how four Presidents – Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush – and their administrations sought to “do” grand strategy at key inflection points in the history of modern U.S. foreign policy. As examples from the early Cold War to the Reagan years to the War on Terror demonstrate, grand strategy can be an immensely rewarding undertaking – but also one that is full of potential pitfalls on the long road between conception and implementation.

Hal Brands, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and History at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. He is an affiliate of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy and serves on the Executive Board of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies. Previously, he worked at the Institute for Defense Analyses outside of Washington, D.C. and has served as a member of the RAND Corporation Grand Strategy Advisory Board.

RSVP here or watch online.

Sting of the Drone: A Book Event featuring Richard A. Clarke
Date: May 29, 6:00 pm
Location: Middle East Institute, 1761 N Street NW, Washington DC 20036

The Middle East Institute is pleased to host Richard A. Clarke, chairman of MEI’s board of governors, for a discussion of his latest book, Sting of the Drone (Thomas Dunne Books, 2014). Drawing upon over 30 years of experience in U.S. government agencies, including the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House National Security Council, Clarke will discuss his fictional account of military and defense personnel working in the U.S. drone program. Afterwards, Clarke will sign copies of his book.

Register here.


May 30, 2014

Al-Qaeda and its Regional Affiliates: A Movement in Transformation
Date: May 30, 8:30 am
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036

This conference will bring together leading scholars and practitioners from the United States, Europe, and the Arab world to examine the complex dynamics underway within al-Qaeda. This will include its role in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and North Africa, as well as European influence on the movement, and the broader political and social context within which al-Qaeda operates today.

Full conference schedule available here; Register here.

Russian Military Modernization and Military Operations in the Crimea, North Caucasus and Georgia
Date: May 30, 12:00 pm
Location: Heritage Foundation, Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC

Russia’s military actions in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine have shattered two decades of relative peace in post-Cold War Europe. Twenty-two years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is rebuilding its military strength and once again rising in regional influence.

President Vladimir Putin has committed a considerable portion of the Russian GDP toward modernizing its military over the next 10 years. Russia’s aggression in the Crimea clearly demonstrates that its military has come a long way from the defeats in Chechnya in the 1994-1996 war and its lackluster performance in Georgia in 2008. The Russian military has also learned lessons from its prolonged counterinsurgency operations in the North Caucasus. If successful, the Putin military modernization will allow Russia to increase its power relative to its former Soviet and NATO neighbors and expand influence along its periphery – in the former Soviet republics, in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the Middle East – presenting further challenges for the United States and its Western allies and their decision makers.

This discussion will be based on the recent monograph, “Russia’s Counterinsurgency in North Caucasus: Performance and Consequences,” published by the U.S. Army War College in March and on a new Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, “A U.S. Response to Russia’s Military Modernization,” both authored by Ariel Cohen.

RSVP here.



June 5, 2014

Pakistan’s Polio Fight
Date: June 5, 9:30 am
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower,) Washington DC

Pakistan is one of just three countries where polio remains endemic. With sixty-six cases reported in the country this year and a grave warning issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) of a resurgence, the disease threatens not just Pakistan but countries across the world that have waged successful polio-eradication campaigns.  Pakistan’s health system faces challenges in addressing this threat, including limited access to remote areas and violence against polio campaign workers. Yet, increasing amounts of funding, steadily developing science, and modified organizational plans have consistently failed to surpass these challenges. Pakistan is reportedly ramping up efforts after an international travel ban issued by the WHO will prevent individuals from leaving Pakistan without proof of vaccination as of June 1. Dr. Samia Altaf will talk about measures Pakistan is taking to tackle the polio threat in Pakistan, reactions to the WHO travel ban, and the role of foreign aid.

The US-Pakistan Program is a comprehensive approach to US-Pakistan relations, focusing on the key areas of security, economic development, and public policy. The program explores these issues and their relevance, in order to develop a long-term, continuous dialogue between the United States and Pakistan. This project is generously supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Register here.

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