This Week in DC: Events

October 21, 2014

Iranian Policy Toward the Iraqi and Syrian Crises
Date: October 21, 12:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

Tehran has had a longstanding alliance with Damascus over the past 35 years, and its relations with Baghdad have steadily improved since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003. This has resulted in close ties between Iran and these two key Arab states. However, this has all been called into question since the eruption of the Syrian revolt in 2011, and moreover, the recent rise of ISIS and its challenge to the Iraqi state. Iran has become heavily involved in both conflicts since it has much at stake. Jubin Goodarzi will provide an overview of the evolving situation and focus on Iran’s policies, perspectives, interests, and options in the ongoing Syrian and Iraqi crises.

RSVP here or watch the webcast here.

Development of Vaccines Against Pathogenic Human Polyomaviruses
Date: October 21, 12:00pm
Location: Georgetown University, 3900 Reservoir Road NW, Washington DC

Christopher Buck, Ph.D., Head of the Tumor Virus Molecular Biology Section of NCI (NIH) in Bethesda, MD will speak about the development of vaccines against human polyomaviruses.

Winning Paktika: Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan
Date: October 21, 4:30pm
Location: Institute of World Politics, 1521 16th Street NW, Washington DC

Just days prior to deploying to combat in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Piatt, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry “Wolfhounds” announced this visionary statement in front of an assembly of 800 infantrymen and their families. Naturally, none of the soldiers listening to the Colonel’s rhetoric thought it was possible to actually win the war without killing a single person. That hardly sounded like “war” at all. In fact, that simple concept was the very antithesis of the previous 10 months they had all spent training to explicitly kill people with speed and violence. Destroying the enemy was the fundamental focus of every infantryman. It was, of course, the very reason the infantry existed in the first place.

The Colonel, an infantryman himself no less, challenged his battalion’s conventional thinking that day and throughout the ensuing campaign. His striking pronouncement was the theoretical extreme of counterinsurgency doctrine. It emphasizes the importance of nation-building instead of man-hunting, construction instead of destruction, and dropping schools and wells into villages instead of artillery shells. That was his vision and that is what he led his infantrymen to do.

This is the story of the Wolfhounds in 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company through the eyes of a young platoon leader. He details their adventures on the frontier in a little-known dangerous place called Paktika Province, centrally located along Afghanistan’s volatile border with Pakistan. It is the story of ordinary men, cast into a treacherous and unfamiliar world with the mission to destroy the enemy’s sanctuary, not just the enemy. It is the story of triumph and failure, elation and frustration through a hard-fought struggle with their identity as infantrymen, evolving from trained tactical killers to strategic nation builders in their quest to win Paktika.

Register here.

October 22, 2014

Ensuring a Strong U.S. Defense for the Future: Findings of the National Defense Panel
Date: October 22, 10:00am
Location: Bipartisan Policy Center, 1225 I Street NW, Washington DC

In recent months, the U.S. military has been dispatched to the Middle East to fight ISIS, to Africa to combat Ebola and to Eastern Europe to deter Russia. Yet, automatic reductions to the defense budget, known as “sequestration,” remain the law of the land. Highlighting this tension between national security and fiscal restraint, Michèle Flournoy and Eric Edelman, members of the bipartisan, congressionally-mandated National Defense Panel, warned in a recent op-ed, “without budgetary relief, the U.S. armed forces soon will be at high risk of not being able to accomplish the national defense strategy.”

Join us for a discussion of the new findings of the National Defense Panel, the effects of sequestration on the U.S. military and how our national security can be sustainably resourced.

Register here.

A Dangerous World? Threat Perception and U.S. National Security
Date: October 22, 12:00pm
Location: Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

Featuring the editors John Mueller, Woody Hayes Senior Research Scientist, Mershon Center, Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University, and Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; and Christopher Preble, Vice President, Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; with comments by Frank Hoffman, Senior Research Fellow, National Defense University; and James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic; moderated by John Samples, Vice President and Publisher, Cato Institute.

In 2012, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey contended that “we are living in the most dangerous time in my lifetime, right now.” In 2013, he was more assertive, stating that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” Is this accurate? A Dangerous World? brings together leading experts on international security to assess the supposed dangers to American security. They examine the most frequently referenced threats, including wars between nations and civil wars, and discuss the impact of rising nations, nuclear weapons proliferation, general unrest, transnational crime, and state failures. Please join us for an illuminating analysis of current and future American national security.

To attend email here, or watch live online here.

Attack of the Drones: Responding to the Newest Type of Provocation
Date: October 22, 2:00pm
Location: Korea Economic Institute, 1800 K Street NW, Washington DC

Recently, North Korean drones have been found in South Korea. One of the drones was found to have flown near the Blue House. Pictures of the South Korean President’s residency, troops along the border islands with North Korea, and North Korea’s media reporting that Kim Jong Un viewed a military exercise that incorporated drone strikes all illustrate a new dynamic on the Korean peninsula. Intelligence gathering capabilities and potential for military attacks makes the usage of drones the latest threat the U.S.-South Korea alliance must address.

Join KEI as it hosts Dr. Van Jackson, Council on Foreign Relations and Center for a New American Security, who will examine North Korea’s drone and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capacity while providing his recommendations on how the United States and South Korea should appropriately respond to avoid an escalation of military conflict. Dr. Jackson will, for the first time ever, present his framework on how to deal with future drone provocations.

RSVP here.

Ukraine Elections: An End to the Crisis?
Date: October 22, 2:00pm
Location: Center on Global Interests, 1050 Connecticut Ave NW, 10th Floor, Washington DC

The past 12 months have seen unpredicted and unprecedented disruption in Ukrainian politics. As the deadly conflict in the country’s east continues and economic indicators plummet, the outcome of Ukraine’s upcoming parliamentary elections will be a crucial factor in determining the future course of the country. Will the Petro Poroshenko Bloc’s “party of peace,” expected to win control of the parliament, be able to overcome the crisis facing Ukraine?

In anticipation of the Oct. 26 elections, please join CGI for a panel discussion exploring the recent changes in Ukraine’s domestic politics, the effects of the election on Ukrainian unity, and the implications for U.S.-Ukraine and Russia-Ukraine relations.

RSVP here.

Corruption, Crime, and Terrorism
Date: October 22, 3:00pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

The entangled threat of crime, corruption, and terrorism remain important security challenges in the twenty-first century. In her new book, Dirty Entanglements: Corruption, Crime, and Terrorism, Louise Shelley argues that their continued spread can be traced to economic and demographic inequalities, the rise of ethnic and sectarian violence, climate change, the growth of technology, and the past failure of international institutions to respond to these challenges when they first emerged.

Join Carnegie for a discussion with Louise Shelley. Milan Vaishnev will act as discussant, and Moisés Naím will moderate.

Register here.

Cyber Risk Wednesday: Landscape of the Cyber Threat
Date: October 22, 3:00pm
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

On 22 October, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative will relaunch Cyber Risk Wednesdays, a series of events dedicated to a deeper discussion and understanding of solutions to systemic cyber risks.

Please join us for the first event in the series that will mark National Cybersecurity Awareness Month with a moderated discussion on the current cyber threat environment with Dmitri Alperovitch, cofounder & CTO at CrowdStrike and Tom Corcoran, senior policy advisor of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, moderated by Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative.

This year has had some of the worst headlines ever, with intrusions into trusted companies and not one but two Internet-wide vulnerabilities. Please join us on October 22 from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Atlantic Council for engaging and timely discussion on the current cyber threat landscape.

Register here.

Ukraine, Russia, and the International Order
Date: October 22, 3:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 5th Floor, Washington DC

Over the last twenty-five years, the ideal of an integrated Euro-Atlantic community including Russia has gradually faded, as new dividing lines seem to be hardening on the European continent. The Ukrainian crisis and conflict with Russia have effectively brought an end to the post-Cold War era; it remains an open question what will be the outlines and nature of the new era that follows. Please join us as William H. Hill, former head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, looks at the events in Ukraine from multiple vantage points. What happened in Ukraine and what are the prospects?  What motivated Russia’s conduct during the crisis, and what are Moscow’s likely courses of action in the near and medium term? What are U.S. perceptions, motives, and likely responses to the crisis?  Finally, what are the implications of the crisis for the Euroatlantic and global international order? Professor Hill will share his analysis on these questions and Kennan Institute Public Policy Scholar Michael Kofman will provide commentary.

RSVP here.

“No End in Sight” Documentary Screening & Discussion on Iraq
Date: October 22, 5:00pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington DC

The Middle East Policy Forum will show the documentary “No End in Sight,” which provides a critical and comprehensive look at the Bush Administration’s approach at the time of the U.S. intervention and its aftermath. Three experts featured in the film—Ambassador Bodine, Colonel Hughes, and Colonel Wilkerson—will discuss their experiences in Iraq and provide a contextual basis for the country’s ongoing descent into chaos.

This is a special event broken into different parts:
5:00 – 6:30 pm: Documentary Screening
6:30 – 7:00 pm: Light Supper
7:00 – 8:30 pm: Panel & Discussion

Awkward Engagement: Reflections on Doctor’s Without Borders’ Work in North Korea
Date: October 22, 6:00pm
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

Please join Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the US-Korea Institute at SAIS and the Sejong Society of Washington, DC, for an intimate discussion about MSF’s experience negotiating and working with North Koreans in past decades.

The panel will feature Laurence Binet, author of the soon to be released MSF and North Korea 1995-1998, which takes a critical look at the history of MSF’s activities linked to North Korea, including the difficult decision to withdraw from the country in 1998. She will be joined by MSF-USA Executive Director Sophie Delaunay, who was MSF’s Head of Mission for assistance programs for North Korean refugees in Asia in the period directly following the program closure.

Audience Q&A will follow the panel discussion. This event is free and open to the public. All remarks are strictly off the record. No cameras or video allowed. Seating is limited and granted on a first come, first serve basis.

RSVP here.

The Future of Weapons of Mass Destruction in 2030
Date: October 22, 7:30pm
Location: George Mason University, Merten Hall 1202, Fairfax, VA

Nuclear weapons are likely to play a more significant role in an increasingly multipolar global system, and technological advances will enable new forms of chemical and biological weapons. The proliferation and use of these weapons could be harder to prevent. To discuss the impact of technological change and the evolving geopolitical environment on the future of weapons of mass destruction, this Biodefense Policy seminar will feature John P. Caves, Jr., and Dr. W. Seth Carus of the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at National Defense University.

October 23, 2014

Reflections on Islamism: From the Muslim Brotherhood to the Islamic State
Date: October 23, 12:30pm
Location: Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Once again, Islamism has taken center stage in the Middle East. A generation ago, the pivotal events were the takeover of the Mecca mosque and the Islamic Revolution in Iran; a half-generation ago, the pivotal events were the horrific attacks of September 11. With the counterrevolution against the world’s oldest Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the sudden and bloody emergence of its newest, the “caliphate” called the Islamic State, the complex face of Islamism is again capturing the attention of governments, journalists, analysts, and popular imagination. To inform our understanding of the changing face of Islamism and provide a scholarly context for the decisions policymakers need to make, The Washington Institute is pleased to host its seventh annual Zeev Schiff Memorial Lecture, featuring distinguished Israeli historian and diplomat Shimon Shamir.

This event will be live cast here.

China: Threat or Partner
Date: October 23, 5:00pm
Location: U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

The protests in Hong Kong over the past few weeks serve as a stark reminder:  Despite the progress China has made as a global economic power, and the vital U.S.-Chinese economic relationship, China continues to repress human rights and democracy.  It is putting pressure on foreign companies inside China, while sewing up strategic resources in developing countries.  And its military build-up and claims on air and sea space in the East and South China Seas – even challenging U.S. military aircraft – remind us that China is a growing military challenge to the status quo in Asia.

Given all this – how should the United States formulate its own policy toward China?  Is strategic engagement still working – building a platform for a long-term, mutually beneficial U.S.-Chinese relationship, with China ultimately becoming a “responsible stakeholder” in the global community?  Or is such engagement failing – allowing China to dismiss human rights concerns and challenge security in Asia with no real pushback from the United States and its Allies.  And if the United States is to “get tough” with China – exactly what would that mean in practice?

We look forward to a lively debate, as leading U.S.-China experts tackle the question:  “China: Is Engagement Still Working?” the latest in our Debate and Decision Series events at the McCain Institute.

Register here.

Islam, Gender, and Democracy
Date: October 23, 5:00pm
Location: Georgetown University, Healy Hall, Riggs Library, 37th and O Streets NW, Washington DC

Since the Arab Awakening, the question of women’s rights has become, in the view of Western commentators, the litmus test for Muslim societies in the age of democracy and liberalism. The issue is often framed as the opposition between liberal advocates of secular democracy and religious opponents of women’s full equality.

A panel of scholars, including the Berkley Center’s José Casanova and Jocelyne Cesari, will examine this binary opposition and reframe the debate around Islam and women’s rights. Participants will provide a broader comparison across religious traditions and cultures through a discussion of religion, secularism, democracy, and gender equality in France, Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, and the United States.

This event is cosponsored by the Berkley Center and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. A reception will follow.

For more information and to RSVP, please visit the event page.

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