Week in DC: Events

July 20, 2015

Global Digital Policy: Views from the United States and South Korea
Date: July 20, 2:00 pm
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington Dc

With more than 193 member countries, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a U.N. specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs) whose goal is to connect people through modern communication technology. Hosted last year in Busan, South Korea, the ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 helped propel South Korea as a central player in the dialogue on Internet policy. Crucial policy topics included Internet governance, the Internet of Things, and ICTs being used for development purposes. This event will examine global digital policy with views from the U.S. and South Korea.

On July 20, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings will host a panel to discuss the increasing challenges and opportunities to providing Internet access to a globalized, shifting, and high-demand population. Speakers will discuss the importance of spurring creativity, ingenuity, and innovation in economies around the world. What are the economic and social benefits of the Internet economy, and what are the possible avenues for future U.S.- Korea bilateral engagement on ICT? Participants will reflect upon the international landscape and what lies ahead in the wake of the 2014 ITU conference in Korea with a view towards the United Nation’s upcoming WSIS +10 High Level Meeting, which will take place in December 2015.

After the session, panelists will take audience questions. Register here to attend.

Preparing for Disaster: U.S. Disaster Response Policy and Areas for Reform
Date: July 20, 2:00 pm
Location: Heritage Foundation, Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC

As summer drags on and we move through hurricane season, concerns about the inevitable severe tropical storm grow. Together with other disasters, the federal government should be evaluating how well prepared the U.S. is to respond to a national disaster.

Have we implemented the lessons learned from the government’s response to natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and from pandemics like the 2013-2014 Ebola outbreak? What is the state of the federal government’s emergency preparedness systems and response plans? What role does the military play and how can they best support civil authorities? How could the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) be improved to strengthen U.S. disaster response capabilities?

Join us for a discussion regarding the state of disaster preparedness in the United States, as we host a panel of experts who will examine current U.S. disaster policy and potential areas for reform.

Register here to attend in person or watch live online.

July 21, 2015

China’s Transition at Home and Abroad
Date: July 21, 9:00 am
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

As China transitions from an economy driven by exports to an economy driven by consumption, the effects are being felt worldwide. In spite of this economic “new normal,” China has also become increasingly active in seeking a role in global governance as exemplified by the recent establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the “one belt, one road” development strategy. On the other side of the globe, the state of the U.S. economy remains uncertain, breeding serious concern regarding future U.S. economic policies.

On July 21, The John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution will bring together key insiders from the policymaking communities in China and the United States to explore the issues raised by China’s rise and economic transition.

Questions will be taken from the audience following the discussions. Register here.

Iran and the Future of the Regional Security and Economic Landscape
Date: July 21, 9:00 am
Location: Center for a New American Security, NYU Washington DC, 1307 L Street NW, Washington DC

The international community is negotiating a deal with Iran on its nuclear program ahead of a June 30 deadline. Under a potential deal, Iran would put significant limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief from the international community. But the details and effects of any potential agreement are far from simple. Iran’s regional rivals, who are core U.S. partners in the Middle East, are deeply concerned about how a deal will change regional power dynamics. There are also questions about economic competition, particularly in energy markets, in the aftermath of a nuclear deal. And there are many questions about how the United States and the European Union would be able re-impose their punishing economic sanctions in the event that Iran does not adhere to a deal. To address these questions, the Center for a New American Security and the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law will convene a high level forum of Middle East and sanctions experts to discuss Iran and the future of regional security and economics.

Register here.

Islamic Extremism, Reformism, and the War on Terror
Date: July 21, 10:00 am
Location: American Enterprise Institute, 12th Floor, 1150 17th Street NW, Washington DC

President Barack Obama has said that the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) and other extremist groups do not represent true Islam. The extremists, however, dispute this. This leads to a basic question: What role, if any, does Islam play in fomenting terrorism?

As extremist forces increasingly sow destruction, how should policymakers respond? How prevalent are moderates, and how serious are regional calls for a “reformation” within Islam? What role, if any, can the US play to encourage reform? How do anti-Islamic polemics undercut reform?

Please join us at AEI for a two-panel discussion on the religious basis of Islamist terrorism and how or whether it should factor into a comprehensive US strategy to defeat extremists.

We welcome you to follow the speech and comment on Twitter with #TalkingIslam. RSVP to attend.

Negotiating the Gulf: How a Nuclear Deal Would Redefine GCC-Iran Relations
Date: July 21, 12:00 pm
Location: The Arab Gulf States Institute, 1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1060, Washington DC

With an agreement now struck between Iran and the P5+1 on the country’s nuclear program, few in the international community have more at stake than Iran’s Arab neighbors across the Gulf.

Will the agreement usher in a new era of detente in the Middle East? Will Iran emerge as a more responsible partner, not just to the West but also to regional powers? Can Iran and the GCC states begin to identify areas of cooperation to bring about more stability and security to the region? Will the agreement truly prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, or does the Middle East stand on the brink of another, particularly dangerous, arms race?

This AGSIW special event will examine these and other key issues from multiple perspectives, providing a timely guide to understanding the complex implications of the Vienna agreement.

RSVP here.

Russian Expansion—A Reality or Fiction: A Conversation with Elmar Brok
Date: July 21, 12:30 pm
Location: German Marshall Fund, 1744 R Street NW, Washington DC

With the Minsk II ceasefire in eastern Ukraine looking increasingly shaky, Europe risks a frozen conflict for years to come. However, is Russian President Vladimir Putin finished in Ukraine? Can the United States and Europe expect more aggression from the Kremlin or is consolidation Russia’s strategy now? What do the future of Russian relations with the European Union and Germany look like and what role do sanctions play in this calculation? Elmar Brok, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, will answer these questions and provide analysis of U.S.-European views toward Ukraine and Russia. GMF, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and the European Parliament Liaison Office are pleased to jointly host this conversation.

Register here.

From Sea to Denial to Nuclear Deterrence: India’s Quest for a Nuclear Submarine
Date: July 21, 1:00 pm
Location: Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, 6th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

In July 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled India’s first nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, catapulting India into a select group of countries possessing naval nuclear prolusion technology. Contemporary commentaries and popular historical narratives often assign the desire for a nuclear deterrent to the entire history of India’s submarine program. Instead, scholar Yogesh Joshi argues that theArihant’s historical trajectory contradicts any such retrospective reasoning—the program appears evolutionary and the rationale, shifting.

India’s quest for a nuclear submarine began with an interest in nuclear propulsion as a “technology of future” in late 1960s, but the strategic rationale soon shifted to “sea denial” against extra-regional powers operating in the Indian Ocean. Joshi will argue that until the end of the 1970s, there is no evidence available that India was planning to develop its submarine program into a platform for its nuclear weapons. While India’s submarine program gained speed during the 1980s with help from the Soviet Union, the program was configured around the Soviet Charlie-II class submarine, an attack submarine. Moreover, the collapse of the USSR meant that the promise of Soviet technological assistance never materialized in full.

Joshi will argue that the program’s shift towards ballistic missile submarines began after the nuclear tests of 1998, but his research also suggest that the strategic inertia of “sea denial” continued to have heavy influence on the program, as seen through India’s official pronouncements and internal documents. Using declassified materials from the British, Indian, US, and Russian archives, interviews with key decision-makers, and open sources, this seminar will explore the process through which “sea based nuclear deterrence” became a part of India’s strategic calculus.
RSVP here.

Rebuilding Afghanistan: Transparency & Accountability in America’s Longest War
Date: July 21, 6:30 pm
Location: PS21, Thomson Reuters Conference Room, 1333 H Street NW, Washington DC

As the longest running and one of the most expensive wars in U.S. history winds down, PS21 asks: just where did the money go? We are delighted to present a discussion with the man looking into that very question, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko, and Just Security.

Register here.

July 22, 2015

Drones and Aerial Observation: New Technologies for Property Rights, Human Rights, and Global Development
Date: July 22, 8:00 am
Location: New America Foundation, 1899 L Street NW, Washington DC

Clear and secure rights to property—land, natural resources, and other goods and assets—are crucial to human prosperity. Most of the world’s population lack such rights. That lack is in part a consequence of political and social breakdowns, and in part driven by informational deficits. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, by virtue of their aerial perspective, are able to gather large amounts of information cheaply and efficiently, as can unpowered aerial platforms like kites and balloons.

That information, in the form of images, maps, and other environmental data, can be used by communities to improve the quality and character of their property rights. These same tools are also useful in other, related aspects of global development. Drone surveillance can help conservationists to protect endangered wildlife and aid scientists in understanding the changing climate; drone imagery can be used by advocates and analysts to document and deter human rights violations; UAVs can be used by first responders to search for lost people or to evaluate the extent of damage after natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes.

Earlier this year, New America launched a website, drones.newamerica.org, which comprises a database of such uses of drones, as well as the first comprehensive compilation of global drone regulations. In conjunction with this July 22nd Symposium, New America is publishing a primer that discusses the capabilities and limitations of unmanned aerial vehicles in advancing property rights, human rights and development more broadly. The primer contains both nuts-and-bolts advice to drone operators and policy guidance. Though drones have substantial potential—in particular they are capable of making new maps cheaply, in a decentralized fashion—they are also a technology with pitfalls.

Please join Anne-Marie Slaughter, New America’s president and CEO, for a half-day discussion of these important issues. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

RSVP here.

U.S.-China Relations in Trans-Atlantic Context
Date: July 22, 10:00 am
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

Conflicting responses to Chinese leadership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the prospects of the renminbi as a reserve currency make clear that the U.S. and its traditional European partners do not always see China’s growing influence in the same light. Differences may be exacerbated by Eurasian projects like China’s One Belt, One Road and Western groupings like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. U.S.-China-EU relations are of growing importance, but the trans-Atlantic implications of U.S.-China relations are not as well understood as the Japanese, Russian, or Southeast Asian contexts.

The Wilson Center is pleased to partner with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in hosting this discussion of U.S.-Chinese-EU relations.

Register here.

The Future of Energy Markets: The Other Middle East Revolution
Date: July 22, 10:30 am
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

Please join us for a discussion with Majid Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Petroleum, as part of the Global Energy Center’s CEO Series. Mr. Jafar will discuss how conflict and security issues in the Middle East coupled with the low oil price environment have impacted hydrocarbon producing countries in the region.  He will also address the steps that countries like Iraq should take in improving energy infrastructure, tackling subsidies, and reforming oil laws and regulations to improve investment in the oil and gas sector and bolster domestic stability.

Register here to attend in person or here to watch live online.

Terror Gone Viral: The Rise of Radicalism and America’s Response
Date: July 22, 10:30 am
Location: Heritage Foundation, Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

America faces the most serious terror threat environment since 9/11. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has now been linked to dozens of plots or attacks against the West, including at least nine inside the United States since January. This surge in Islamist terror activity includes a rise in extremism here at home, as terrorists seek to radicalize and recruit operatives from our own communities. This year alone, the FBI has arrested more than 40 U.S.-based ISIS supporters and is investigating homegrown violent extremists in every state.

Join us for an in-depth discussion as our expert panel offers insights on the state of homeland security, counterterrorism, and U.S. strategy in the war against violent Islamist extremists.

Register here.

On Knife’s Edge: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia’s Impact on Violence Against Civilians
Date: July 22, 12:00 pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor Conference Room, Washington DC

The post-Cold War era has witnessed horrific violence against non-combatants. In the Bosnian War alone, tens of thousands of civilians died. The founders of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)—and then of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC)—hoped these courts might curb such atrocities.  However, we still know very little about their actual impact.  This talk will draw on the ICTY’s experience as the first wartime international criminal tribunal to provide insight into how and when these institutions might affect violence against civilians.

RSVP here.

The Chinese Cyberthreat: Challenges and Solutions
Date: July 22, 12:15 pm
Location: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington DC

US investigators are blaming China for the Office of Personnel Management cyberattack that stole more than 21.5 million US federal employees’ personal information. The attackers appear to be the same Chinese hackers who targeted Anthem this past February, stealing the data of as many as 80 million customers. Yet China’s cyber victims are not limited to government workers and consumers, as Chinese actors are probing American firms, military, and critical infrastructure.

In the absence of international norms guiding the use and deterrence of cyberattacks, what can the United States do to counter Chinese cyberespionage? Join AEI for a conversation with Chairman Cory Gardner (R-CO), followed by an expert panel on how to defend US economic and security interests from China’s growing cyber capabilities.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours. RSVP here to attend in person.

The Cost of Wars: Overseas Contingency Operations and Future Defense Spending
Date: July 22, 3:30 pm
Location: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC

While the number of troops deployed overseas has decreased significantly, the cost per troop has increased markedly since the imposition of the 2011 Budget Control Act caps as the Obama administration and Congress have turned to Overseas Contingency Operations to fund increasingly unrelated programs. In his Fiscal Year 2016 request, President Obama requested a 6.8% increase above the 2015 level for base budget Pentagon spending, arguing for the third year that budget caps put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act are not sustainable for either defense or non-defense spending. President Obama proposed instead to raise revenues and adopt alternate savings. Congress has again ignored the administration’s proposed alternative, choosing instead this year to use Overseas Contingency Operations as a loophole that allows the Pentagon to increase funding for base budget activities without regard to the constraints of the caps. Without better controls on Overseas Contingency Operations spending, the Pentagon is likely to continue to avoid making choices about how to accommodate the modernization and readiness increases that it wants with the freeze in defense spending mandated by the Budget Control Act. The Stimson Center invites you to join us for a discussion of Overseas Contingency Operations and future defense spending priorities.

RSVP here.

July 23, 2015

The National Idea in Russia and China
Date: July 23, 11:00 am
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars, 6th Floor Conference Room, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

Challenges in U.S. relations with great powers such as China and Russia derive not only from divergent national interests, but from distinct conceptions of nationhood, sovereignty, and modernity. Americans must therefore consider not only what the United States would like Russia and China to do, but how Chinese and Russians see themselves, one another, and the wider world, including the United States.

China and Russia: On Their Own Terms is a joint project of the Wilson Center’s Kennan and Kissinger Institutes. The goal of the series is to offer U.S. policymakers, analysts, and the broader public a primary source perspective on how China and Russia see their evolving international roles in light of their histories, cultural narratives, and national myths.

RSVP here.

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