Great Decisions Discussion Group

Sedona Great Decisions Group


Location: 3250 White Bear Road (off Dry Creek Road)
Sedona, AZ 86336
Location notes:

The Foreign Policy Association

(www.fpa.org)) is a nonprofit organization, based in New York City. Since 1918, the mission of the FPA has been to serve as a catalyst for developing awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy and global issues

 

Great Decisions

(http://www.fpa.org/great_decisions/) is the heart of the FPAs outreach effort, was launched in 1954, and is the largest nonpartisan public education program on international affairs in the world with over 500,000 participants in the United States alone. There are currently twenty-eight Great Decisions groups in Arizona.

 

The Sedona Great Decisions Group

(http://www.fpa.org/great_decisions/index.cfm?act=gd_group&group_id=1618283) began in 1985 and is one of thousands of chapters of Great Decisions in the United States. Local membership is limited to approximately 45-50 due to logistical limitations. We have a wide range of members from those born in the Czech Republic, Egypt, India, Iran, Turkey, former employees of the United States foreign service, World Bank, U.S. Trade Representative’s Office as well as other professions. 

 

Membership is by application only based on availability. The annual cost is typically near $40 per calendar year. Booklets purchased from the FPA become available in January every year.

 

Guests are welcome to attend free-of-charge and are asked to reserve their space in advance by leaving your name and phone number with Sabina (sa-BYE-na) at 928-204-1125.

 

Meetings are typically held at the Sedona Public Library, once to twice a month, from 10:10 am to 12:10 pm, January through October. Topics explored in the first half of the year are typically focused on international issues. Topics during the remainder of the year include domestic issues.

 

The first hour of the meeting typically focuses on the facts related to a specific topic. The second hour is typically reserved for discussion, questions and comments.

 

Seventeen meetings are scheduled for 2018 (last revised 10/12/17)

Year founded: 1985
Accepting participants: Yes
Contact Email: [email protected]
Contact Phone: 2182304024
Website: http://www.fpa.org/great_decisions/index.cfn?oct=qd_groups&group_id=1618283
Meeting Schedule:

Meeting #1 – Mon Jan 29, 2018

Topic: Distribute booklets; Explore topics/assignments for 2018

Presenter: Blair Henry

Moderator: None

 

Meeting #2 – Mon Feb 5, 2018

Topic: The waning of Pax Americana?

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Materials: By Carla Norrlof

During the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency, the U.S. began a historic shift away from Pax Americana, the liberal international order that was established in the wake of World War II. Since 1945, Pax Americana has promised peaceful international relations and an open economy, buttressed by U.S. military power. In championing “America First” isolationism and protectionism, President Trump has shifted the political mood toward selective U.S. engagement, where foreign commitments are limited to areas of vital U.S. interest and economic nationalism is the order of the day. Geopolitical allies and challengers alike are paying close attention.

 

Meeting #3 – Mon Mar 5, 2018

Topic: Russia’s foreign policy

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Materials: By Allen C. Lynch

Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia is projecting an autocratic model of governance abroad and working to undermine the influence of liberal democracies, namely along Russia’s historical borderlands. Russia caused an international uproar in 2016, when it interfered in the U.S. presidential contest. But Putin’s foreign policy toolkit includes other instruments, from alliances with autocrats to proxy wars with the U.S. in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria. How does Putin conceive of national interests, and why do Russian citizens support him? How should the United States respond to Putin’s foreign policy ambitions?

 

Meeting #4 – Mon Mar 19, 2018
Topic: China and America: the new geopolitical equation

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Materials: By David M. Lampton

In the last 15 years, China has implemented a wide-ranging strategy of economic outreach and expansion of all its national capacities, including military and diplomatic capacities. Where the United States has taken a step back from multilateral trade agreements and discarded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China has made inroads through efforts like the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). What are Beijing’s geopolitical objectives? What leadership and political conditions in each society underlie growing Sino-American tensions?  What policies might Washington adopt to address this circumstance?

 

Meeting #5 – Mon Apr 2, 2018

Topic: Media and foreign policy

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Materials: By Susan Moeller

State and non-state actors today must maneuver a complex and rapidly evolving media landscape. Conventional journalism now competes with user-generated content. Official channels of communication can be circumvented through social media. Foreign policy is tweeted from the White House and “fake news” has entered the zeitgeist. Cyberwarfare, hacking and misinformation pose complex security threats. How are actors using media to pursue and defend their interests in the international arena? What are the implications for U.S. policy?

 

Meeting #6 – Mon Apr 16, 2018

Topic: Turkey: a partner in crisis

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Materials: By Ömer TaƟpinar

Of all NATO allies, Turkey represents the most daunting challenge for the Trump administration. In the wake of a failed military coup in July 2016, the autocratic trend in Ankara took a turn for the worse. One year on, an overwhelming majority of the population considers the United States to be their country’s greatest security threat. In this age of a worsening “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West, even more important than its place on the map is what Turkey symbolically represents as the most institutionally Westernized Muslim country in the world.

 

Meeting #7 – Mon May 7, 2018
Topic: U.S. global engagement and the military

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Materials: By Gordon Adams

The global power balance is rapidly evolving, leaving the United States at a turning point with respect to its level of engagement and the role of its military. Some argue for an “America First” paradigm, with a large military to ensure security, while others call for a more assertive posture overseas. Some advocate for a restoration of American multilateral leadership and a strengthened role for diplomacy. Still others envision a restrained U.S. role, involving a more limited military. How does the military function in today’s international order, and how might it be balanced with diplomatic and foreign assistance capabilities?

 

Meeting #8 – Mon May 21, 2018

Topic: South Africa’s fragile democracy

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Materials: By Sean Jacobs

The African National Congress (ANC) party has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. But the party today suffers from popular frustration over official corruption and economic stagnation. It faces growing threats from both left and right opposition parties, even as intraparty divisions surface. Given America’s history of opportunistic engagement with Africa, there are few prospects for a closer relationship between the two countries. Meanwhile, a weaker ANC could lead to political fragmentation in this relatively new democracy.

 

Meeting #9 – Mon Jun 4, 2018

Topic: Global health: progress and challenges

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Materials: By Joshua Michaud

The collective action of countries, communities and organizations over the last 30 years has literally saved millions of lives around the world. Yet terrible inequalities in health and wellbeing persist. The world now faces a mix of old and new health challenges, including the preventable deaths of mothers and children, continuing epidemics of infectious diseases, and rising rates of chronic disease. We also remain vulnerable to the emergence of new and deadly pandemics. For these reasons, the next several decades will be just as important—if not more so—than the last in determining wellbeing across nations.

 

Meeting #10 – Mon Jun 18, 2018

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Meeting #11 – Mon Jul 2, 2018

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Meeting #12 – Mon Jul 16, 2018

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Meeting #13 – Mon Aug 6, 2018

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Meeting #14 – Mon Aug 20, 2018

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Meeting #15 – Mon Sep 17, 2018

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Meeting #16 – Mon Oct 1, 2018

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Meeting #17 – Mon Oct 15, 2018

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NO meetings in November

Holiday Party in December – date TBA