Week in DC: Events

October 27, 2014

Ebola: U.S. Domestic and Foreign Policy Options
Date: October 27, 12:00pm
Location: Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE, Lehrman Auditorium, Washington DC

Months after the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, the news of two American nurses becoming infected has sparked fear amongst the general U.S. population. With Ebola victims now in the United States, concerns are growing over the ability of the administration, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and hospitals to control the spread of disease.

Join us for a discussion of the very real risks of the Ebola virus, but without the fear brought on by speculation and hype. Through clear communication of the nature of the threat and what policy options are available in the U.S. and in West Africa, the U.S. can make clear, rational decisions as to how to best deal with the current situation.

RSVP here to attend in person or watch online here.

Modern War in Theory and Practice: A Discussion with Dr. John Nagl on his new book Knife Fights
Date: October 27, 1:15pm
Location: New America Foundation, 1899 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC

Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice by Dr. John Nagl, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and a former president of the Center for a New American Security, is a profound education in 21st Century warfare – its theory, its practice, and the often-tortured relationship between the two.

As an army tank commander in the first Gulf War, fresh out of West Point and Oxford, Dr. Nagl could already see that America’s military superiority meant that the age of conventional combat was nearing an end. He was an early convert to the view that America’s greatest future threats would come from asymmetric warfare – guerrillas, terrorists, and insurgents – and wrote Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, a book that eventually became the bible of the counterinsurgency movement. Nagl argued it was necessary for the U.S. Army to understand the nature of the insurgency, but also to be more flexible in its response, adjusting its strategy to properly deal with the threat.

While Dr. Nagl worked with Gen. David Petraeus on rewriting core army doctrine in the middle of two wars, helping their new ideas win acceptance in one of the planet’s most conservative bureaucracies, he has not been blind to the cost or consequences of counterinsurgency, noting that in war, there are only bad choices; the question is really which ones are better and which ones are worse.

The New America Foundation is pleased to welcome Dr. Nagl for a discussion about his book, his work on the United States’ counterinsurgency efforts, and the revolution in modern warfare that he helped lead.

RSVP here to attend in person or watch online.

U.S.-Civil Military Relations After 9/11
Date: October 27, 1:30pm
Location: Alexander Hamilton Society-George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, East 201, Fairfax VA

The George Mason University chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society will host Mackubin Thomas Owens for a discussion on U.S.-Civil Military Relations After 9/11. No registration is required. Refreshments will be served.

Mackubin Thomas Owens recently retired as professor of national-security affairs at the Naval War College. He is the editor of Orbis and a contributing editor to the National Review Online.

Previously, Dr. Owens served as the National Security Adviser to Senator Bob Kasten (R-WI) and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Nuclear Weapons Programs of the Department of Energy during the Reagan administration.

He is the author of US Civil-Military Relations After 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain.

The New Threat in Town: Iraq, ISIS, and Managing the Crisis
Date: October 27, 6:30pm
Location: AU School of International Service, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Mary Gordon Center, Butler Board Room, Washington DC

A panel discussion on the current security situation in Iraq regarding ISIS, the implications it has on the regional security of the Middle East, and how the United States can engage with the region in order to mitigate the situation from spiraling out of control. Panel speakers will include Dr. Tricia Bacon, Ambassador James F. Jeffrey from the Washington Institute, and Dr. Paul Salem from the Middle East Institute.

October 28, 2014               

Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror: A Discussion with Arun Kundani on his new book The Muslims are Coming!
Date: October 28, 12:15pm
Location: New America Foundation, 1899 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC

In The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror, Arun Kundnani notes that the new front in the War on Terror is the homegrown enemy, domestic terrorists who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures in the United States and across Europe. Domestic surveillance by police forces and government agencies has mushroomed— at least 100,000 Muslims in America have been secretly under scrutiny. In Britain, police officers compiled a secret suspect list of more than 8,000 al-Qaeda “sympathizers,” and almost 300 children aged fifteen and younger were among the potential extremists investigated.

While the revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have caused some to question the rise, even the legality, of these national surveillance states, Western governments continue to focus on the threats posed by homegrown extremists, particularly as the Islamic State attracts foreign fighters from around the world

Based on several years of research and reportage, in locations as disparate as Texas, New York, and Yorkshire, and written in engrossing, precise prose, Kundnani’s The Muslims Are Coming! is the first comprehensive critique of Western counter-radicalization strategies. He notes that the new policies and policing campaigns have been backed by an industry of freshly-minted experts and liberal commentators, and looks at the way these debates have been transformed by the embrace of a narrowly-configured and ill-conceived anti-extremism stance.

The New America Foundation is pleased to welcome Mr. Kundnani for a discussion about his book, his findings, and the impact the War on Terror has had on its targets.

Register here to attend in person or watch live online.

The Future Army: Win in a Complex World
Date: October 28, 6:30pm
Location: World Affairs Council, 1900 K Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington DC

Today, the importance of national security rests heavily on the minds of many Americans. With multiple mounting crises around the world, it is often difficult to understand America’s role in foreign disputes and the necessary action our military must take to remain a mediating force in foreign lands.

General David G. Perkins is the Commanding General in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, who has experience in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East that affords him a distinct and experienced voice when speaking about the Army and the future of American security.

Join the World Affairs Council – Washington, DC in our Distinguished Speaker Series, as we host General David G. Perkins, as he speaks about ”The Future Army: Win in a Complex World.”

Register here.

October 29, 2014

Impressions from Putin’s 2014 Valdai Conference
Date: October 29, 12:00pm
Location: Georgetown University, McGhee Library, Room 301, 3700 O Street NW, Washington DC

Impressions From Putin’s 2014 Valdai Conference
CERES Director Dr. Angela Stent and IISS Senior Fellow Samuel Charap will report on their experience at the Valdai Discussion Club meeting. The Valdai Discussion Club is a global forum for the world’s leading experts on Russia to engage in a sustained dialogue about the country’s political, economic, social and cultural development. Since 2004, the Club has gathered annually in Russia and has regularly met with the leadership of the Russian Federation (including Vladimir Putin), as well as Russian business leaders, media, academics, and political groups.

Register here.

Ukraine Update: Elections, Conflict, and the Future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership
Date: October 29, 2:00pm
Location: The Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

In 2009, the European Union established its Eastern Partnership to advance political association and economic integration with six neighboring nations to its east. However, in November 2013, Ukrainian President Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement with the EU, triggering mass protests in Ukraine that ultimately led to his departure and accusations that the EU “sleepwalked” into a conflict in Ukraine. Although the EU long asserted that the framework was never directed against Russia, the agreement with Ukraine was perceived in Moscow as a step too far. In the wake of the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia, some are questioning whether the EU’s Eastern Partnership should be fundamentally altered—and, if so, how?

Against the backdrop of simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian people will go to the polls on October 26 to elect a new parliament. The new parliament members will then have to form a majority coalition and begin to tackle the pressing challenges facing the country. The herculean tasks include not just the violent conflict in the east and the troubled relationship with Russia, but needed economic and political reforms as well as measures to curb corruption. Questions remain about Ukrainian public expectations and potential tensions in the immediate aftermath of the vote.

On October 29, the Center on the U.S. and Europe at Brookings and the Heinrich Böll Foundation will host a panel discussion assessing next steps for Ukraine and the EU’s Eastern Partnership. The first panel will explore the Ukrainian election and what it means for politics within Ukraine, the Ukrainian economy, and Ukraine’s relations with Russia and the West. The second panel will focus on international perspectives on the EU’s Eastern Partnership and the EU’s role in supporting Ukraine in this time of turmoil.

RSVP here.

October 30, 2014

Is Democracy Possible in Russia?
Date: October 30, 9:30am
Location: National Endowment for Democracy, 1025 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington DC

Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency in 2012, facing mass opposition protests and weak economic growth. His response was a sharp turn toward authoritarianism, a trend that began with criminal charges against dozens of protesters on Bolotnaya Square and has accelerated with Russia’s armed intervention in Ukraine. Political repression and anti-Western propaganda have reached levels previously unseen in post-Soviet Russia, with political opposition and participation and most independent media eliminated. At the same time, economic sanctions have pushed an already stagnant economy toward recession.

These developments have created the need to reconfigure the sources of the Putin regime’s legitimacy. Whereas the implicit accord of Putin’s first two terms was to offer Russia’s citizens stable economic growth in exchange for their political disengagement; in his third term Putin seeks to compensate for declining standards of living with an artificial vision of Russia reborn as a great power.

In the short term, this strategy appears successful. Putin’s approval ratings have been at record highs for several months. However, an in-depth examination of Russia’s social, political, and economic trends suggests that the current political strategy may not be sustainable. Panelists Lilia Shevtsova, Leon Aron and Denis Volkov will discuss the factors that will shape political developments in Russia and the opportunities those developments might provide for reform. Leonid Gozman will provide comments.

RSVP here.

Brown Bag—Liberia: Challenges to Managing the Ebola Outbreak
Date: October 30, 12:30pm
Location: GMU School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 4400 University Drive, Metropolitan Building, Conference Room 5183, Fairfax, VA

Join Professor Agnieszka Paczynska and S-CAR PhD student Samuel Wai Johnson for a brown bag on Liberia and the challenges faced on both a state and local level in managing the Ebola outbreak.

Rules of Engagement—Pathogen Response to the Environment of Invasive Infection
Date: October 30, 12:30pm
Location: Georgetown University, Regents Hall 239, 3700 O Street NW, Washington DC

This open to the public seminar given by Dr. Aaron Mitchell of Carnegie Mellon University, will discuss pathogen response to the environment of invasive infection.

A Nuclear Deal with Iran? Weighing the Possibilities
Date: October 30, 2:00pm
Location: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington DC

As global crises unfold, President Barack Obama appears to see one silver lining in the clouds on the foreign policy horizon: a nuclear deal with Iran. However, it appears increasingly likely that the November 24 deadline will come and go without a comprehensive agreement, and the stakes could not be higher. A bad deal that leaves too much of Tehran’s nuclear capabilities intact or enables Iran to develop nuclear weapons in the months or years to come could set off a nuclear arms race across the Middle East. Alternatively, a good deal could solve a problem at the heart of much of the turmoil in the region.

Are the United States and European powers prepared to renew sanctions if Iran refuses to comply with demands from the international community and International Atomic Energy Agency? Will the Iranians refuse to concede on any of their own red lines? Will the Obama administration sidestep Congress to achieve a nuclear deal? Please join us at AEI for a timely discussion just a few weeks ahead of the November deadline.

RSVP here.

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