Great Decisions

Great Decisions: A program of the foreign policy association

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. Created and run by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA), the program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book, watching the DVD, and meeting in a Discussion Group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. The Indiana Council on World Affairs (ICWA) organizes the Great Decisions program at the state level.

For easy access to Great Decisions, Bloomington, IN, please remember:
GO.IU.EDU/GREAT-DECISIONS 

Great Decisions 2022 Program Information

To register & buy a Briefing Book ($25), please email Kate (Mary) Kroll [University Club] at katekroll@comcast.net  or Jean Cook [Meadowood] at jeancook37@gmail.com

Date: The date is the second (2nd) Tuesday of the month.

  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022. Registration Day & buy Briefing Books if they arrive in time.
  • Tuesday, February 8, 2022. “Cancelled: no programming.”
  • Tuesday, March 8, 2022. 1st program. Check back for program information and Zoom details.
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2022
  • Tuesday, May 10, 2022
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2022. 
  • Tuesday, September 13, 2022
  • Tuesday, October 11, 2022
  • Tuesday, November 8, 2022
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Time: 1:00-2:30 pm by Zoom*. 

* Zoom link will be provided when each program is confirmed.  

Topic Blurbs: **These topic blurbs are in alphabetical order only, and NOT in order of presentation date.** 

  • Biden’s Agenda:

The new administration in Washington promised to reverse many of the policies of the past administration, especially in foreign policy. How will issues such as climate, the pandemic, and alliances be treated under the Biden administration?

  • Changing Demographics:

The world experienced remarkable demographic changes in the 20th century that continue today and have resulted in far-reaching social, economic, political and environmental consequences all over the globe. These consequences are creating mounting challenges to development efforts, security, climate and the environment, as well as the sustainability of human populations.

  • Climate Change:

The ideological divide in the United States on the subject of climate change has impeded progress in curbing greenhouse emissions. But extreme weather events at both ends of the thermometer have focused attention on the consequences of inaction. What role will the United States play in future negotiations on climate?  

  • Drug Policy in Latin America:

The issue of migration to the United States from Latin America has overshadowed the war on drugs, which has been underway for decades with little signs of progress. What are the roots and the bureaucratic logic behind today´s dominant drug policies in Latin America? Is it time to reconsider punitive drug control policies that disrupt supply chains and punish drug possession?

  • Industrial Policy:

The current discussion of industrial policy in the United States is not simply about whether or not to support specific companies or industries, but about trust or mistrust of the government and its ability to manage the economy and deal with a rising China. The upheaval in supply chains during the pandemic exposed weaknesses in the international economy. What policies can the United States implement to deal with trade and the economy?

  • Myanmar and ASEAN:

The situation in Myanmar, including the coup by the military in February 2021 and the ongoing human rights crises, coupled with civil resistance by those opposed to the regime, have led to chaos in the Southeast Asian country. How are neighboring countries reacting, and what role will ASEAN play?

  • Outer Space: 

The launch of Sputnik I in October 1957 marked the beginning of the space era and of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the 21st century, there are many more participants in space, including countries such as India and China, and commercial companies such as SpaceX. How will the United States fare in a crowded outer space?

  • (The) Quad Alliance:

As part of the U.S. pivot to Asia, the United States has been in dialogue with Japan, Australia and India in an effort to contain China. Recently, the Quad countries held joint naval exercises in the South Pacific. How effective will the actions of this alliance be?

  • Russia and the U.S.:

Russia and the United States have many areas of conflict and some possible areas of mutual interest. Arms control, Russian interference in U.S. elections and support of cyberattacks, the status of Ukraine, the fate of opposition politicians in Russia, all continue to be concerning. How will the new administration in Washington approach these issues?

Great Decisions 2021 Program Information

TIME: 1:00 - 2:00 PM

LOCATION: Meadowood's Greenhouse on the circle drive

PRECAUTIONS: Please wear a mask. One person at a time. 

SIGN UP & PICK UP: Your Great Decisions 2021 Briefing Book at Meadowood front circle - look for the Great Decisions desk.

COST: Cost of series, including book, will be $25. Cash OR write a check payable to Kate Kroll.

Date: The date is the second (2nd) Tuesday of the month.  

  • Tuesday, January 12, 2021: Registration Day
  • Tuesday, March 9, 2021
  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021
  • Tuesday, May 11, 2021
  • Tuesday, June 8, 2021
  • Tuesday, September 14, 2021
  • Tuesday, October 12, 2021
  • Tuesday, November 9, 2021
  • Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Time: 1:00-2:30 pm by Zoom*. 

* Zoom link will be provided when each program is confirmed.  

Topic Blurbs: **These topic blurbs are in alphabetical order only, and NOT in order of presentation date.** 

  • Brexit: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead  (Blurb by Harris LaTeef) - March 9th, 2021.

With the “Brexit transition period” coming to an end this year, the United Kingdom will formally leave the European Union at the start of 2021. With negotiations between the two entities continuing to stall, what does the future of Europe and the UK look like? Will the UK survive a possible Scottish vote to leave? Who will step up and take command of Europe now that Angela Merkel is out of the spotlight?

  • China and Africa  (Blurb by Cobus van Staden) - June 8th, 2021.

The Covid-19 crisis has put a massive strain on what was growing a positive economic and political relationship between China and the continent of Africa. As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s centerpiece “Belt and Road initiative” continues to expand Chinese power, the response to the spread of Covid-19, as well as the African government’s growing debt to China, has seen pushback. What are some of the growing economic and political issues between China and Africa? 

  • The Coldest War: Toward a Return to Great Power Competition in the Arctic?  (Blurb by Stephanie Pezard) - September 14th, 2021.

U.S. President Donald Trump left many scratching their heads when it was rumored that he was looking to purchase the large island nation of Greenland from Denmark. While any potential deal seems highly unlikely, the event shows the changing opinion within the U.S. government toward engagement with the Arctic region. Because of climate change, large sheets of arctic ice are melting, exposing vast stores of natural gas and oil. With Russia and China already miles ahead with their Arctic strategies, can the U.S. catch up?

  • The End of Globalization?  (Blurb by Anne O. Krueger) - November 9th, 2021

As the United States enters another election season, the merits and drawbacks of globalization are again being debated by the presidential candidates. With the passing of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s America First doctrine, protectionist policies have become more prevalent, challenging globalization. What is globalization and how will it be affected by protectionist trade policies? How will the United States and the world be affected by such policies? Is globalization really at an end, or in need of a refresh?

  • The Future of Persian Gulf Security  (Blurb by Lawrence G. Potter) - May 11th, 2021.

The Persian Gulf remains tense as the rivalry between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran continues. Tensions escalated in early 2020 as the United States began to intervene in the Gulf, launching an airstrike that killed two Iranian military commanders. What are the historical influences that have led to these tensions? What role, if any, should the United States play? Is using military force a viable foreign policy option for 2021 and beyond?

  • Global Supply Chains and  U.S.National Security  (Blurb by Jonathan Chanis) - April 13th, 2021.

The shutdown of global supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore an issue with the high level of global economic interdependence: what happens when one country is the main source for an item, say face masks, and then can no longer supply the item? Countries suddenly unable to meet the demand for certain supplies are faced with growing calls for economic nationalism. What are some of the lasting effects that the pandemic could have on global supply chains and trade? How would this affect national security?

  • The Two Koreas  (Blurb by Scott A. Snyder) - October 12th, 2021.

The Korean Peninsula is facing a defining era. Attempts by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump to repair the rift between North and South have lost any momentum as Pyongyang continues to test long-range missiles for its nuclear weapons program. As the rift between the U.S. and China grows further, South Korea may end up in the middle of the two superpowers. What does the future hold for the U.S. relationship with the ROK?

  • The World Health Organization’s Response to COVID-19  (Blurb by Mara Pillinger) - December 14th, 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust the World Health Organization (WHO) into the limelight, for better and for worse. While some of the Trump administration’s criticism of the organization is unfair, the response to the early stages of the pandemic left many experts wanting more from the WHO. What is the WHO’s role in responding to international pandemics? What can be done to improve the WHO’s response to future global health crises?

Time: Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Join Zoom 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: Brexit: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

Speaker: Timothy Hellwig, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Academic Director of the IU Europe Gateway, and previously the Director of the Institute for European Studies, IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. 

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/87124181325

Introduction: With the “Brexit transition period” coming to an end this year, the United Kingdom will formally leave the European Union at the start of 2021. With negotiations between the two entities continuing to stall, what does the future of Europe and the UK look like? Will the UK survive a possible Scottish vote to leave? Who will step up and take command of Europe now that Angela Merkel is out of the spotlight?

Check Detailed Information Here.

Time: Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Join Zoom 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: Global Supply Chains and National Security

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/87054588760

Introduction: The shutdown of global supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore an issue with the high level of global economic interdependence: what happens when one country is the main source for an item, say face masks, and then can no longer supply the item? Countries suddenly unable to meet the demand for certain supplies are faced with growing calls for economic nationalism. What are some of the lasting effects that the pandemic could have on global supply chains and trade? How would this affect national security?

Check Detailed Information Here

Time: Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Join Zoom 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: The Future of Persian Gulf Security 

Speaker: Ambassador Feisal Istrabadi, Founding Director of the IU Center for the Study of the Middle East, Title VI National Resource Center, Professor of the Practice of International Law and Diplomacy in the Maurer School of Law and the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. 

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/86227297909 

Introduction: The Persian Gulf remains tense as the rivalry between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran continues. Tensions escalated in early 2020 as the United States began to intervene in the Gulf, launching an airstrike that killed two Iranian military commanders. What are the historical influences that have led to these tensions? What role, if any, should the United States play? Is using military force a viable foreign policy option for 2021 and beyond?

Check Detailed Information Here.

Time: Tuesday, June 8th, 2021. Join Zoom 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: China and Africa 

Speaker: Anita Plummer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of African Studies, Howard University, Washington, DC. 

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/86011520012 

Introduction: The Covid-19 crisis has put a massive strain on what was growing a positive economic and political relationship between China and the continent of Africa. As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s centerpiece “Belt and Road initiative” continues to expand Chinese power, the response to the spread of Covid-19, as well as the African government’s growing debt to China, has seen pushback. What are some of the growing economic and political issues between China and Africa? 

Check Detailed Information Here.

Time: Tuesday, September 14, 2021. Join Zoom 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: The Coldest War: Toward a Return to Great Power Competition in the Arctic?

Speaker: Justyna Zajac, Ph.D., is Professor of Practice in European Security Studies in the Departments of International Studies (IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies) and Political Science (College of Arts and Sciences). Dr. Zajac is a Full Professor at the University of Warsaw, Poland. 

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/87067824970 

Introduction: U.S. President Donald Trump left many scratching their heads when it was rumored that he was looking to purchase the large island nation of Greenland from Denmark. While any potential deal seems highly unlikely, the event shows the changing opinion within the U.S. government toward engagement with the Arctic region. Because of climate change, large sheets of arctic ice are melting, exposing vast stores of natural gas and oil. With Russia and China already miles ahead with their Arctic strategies, can the U.S. catch up?

Check Detailed Information Here.

Time: Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Join Zoom 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: The Two Koreas

Speaker: Sean Kim, Ph.D., is a Professor in the History Department at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. He teaches courses on East Asian, world, and U.S. history. Dr. Kim’s research focuses on the religious history of modern Korea, in particular the rise of Protestant Christianity. He is also interested in the topics of the Korean war, popular religion, and colonialism.

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/81930844955

Introduction: The Korean Peninsula is facing a defining era. Attempts by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump to repair the rift between North and South have lost any momentum as Pyongyang continues to test long-range missiles for its nuclear weapons program. As the rift between the U.S. and China grows further, South Korea may end up in the middle of the two superpowers. What does the future hold for the U.S. relationship with the ROK?

Check Detailed Information Here.

Time: Tuesday, November 9, 2021. Join Zoom 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: The End of Globalization?

Speaker: Ore Koren, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the IU Department of Political Science, specializing in international relations and methodology. Dr. Koren was a fellow at the Dickey Center at Dartmouth College and a Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace. Within international relations, his research has involved innovative approaches to studying the causes of civil conflict, with an emphasis on how environmental pressures and global institutions shape patterns of political violence. More recently, he began exploring linkages between zoonotic diseases and global meat production. 

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/82130592764 

Introduction: As the United States enters another election season, the merits and drawbacks of globalization are again being debated by the presidential candidates. With the passing of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s America First doctrine, protectionist policies have become more prevalent, challenging globalization. What is globalization and how will it be affected by protectionist trade policies? How will the United States and the world be affected by such policies? Is globalization really at an end, or in need of a refresh?

Check Detailed Information Here.

Time: Tuesday, December 14, 2021. Join Zoom 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: The World Health Organization’s Response to COVID-19

Speaker: Ana Isabel Bento, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. Trained at Imperial College London, Dr. Bento is a disease ecologist with a focus on ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. She is a member of the World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Groups for Covid-19 and for Schools, as well as a member of the Epi-core of the Big Ten Covid-19 Cardiac Registry.

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/81863706736

Introduction: The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust the World Health Organization (WHO) into the limelight, for better and for worse. While some of the Trump administration’s criticism of the organization is unfair, the response to the early stages of the pandemic left many experts wanting more from the WHO. What is the WHO’s role in responding to international pandemics? What can be done to improve the WHO’s response to future global health crises?

Check Detailed Information Here.

Great Decisions 2020 Program Information

Time: Tuesday, Dec 8, 2020. Join 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: Competition and Cooperation in the Red Sea Region

Speaker: Ken Menkhaus, Chair; C. Louise Nelson Professor, Political Science, Davidson College, NC.

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/92932738655 

Check Detailed Information Here

Time: Monday, Nov 16, 2020. Join 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle

Speaker: Jeffrey Gould, Distinguished Professor; James H. Rudy, Professor, History, College of Arts & Sciences, IU.

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/91825227252

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Time: Tuesday, Oct 13, 2020. Join 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: China’s Road into Latin America

Speaker: Jordan Lynton, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences; Fellow, Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IU.

Zoom Link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/91878846456

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Time: Tuesday, Sep 8, 2020. Join 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: The Philippines and the U.S.

Speaker: Phillip Parnell, Emeritus Faculty, Associate Professor, International Studies, Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies; Criminal Justice, College of Arts & Sciences, IU.

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Time: Tuesday, Aug 11, 2020. Join 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: India and Pakistan

Speaker: Sumit Ganguly, Distinguished Professor; Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations; Professor, Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences, IU.

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Time: Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020. Join 12:45–1:00 pm; Program 1:00-2:30 pm. 

Topic: Artificial Intelligence and Data.

Speaker: Isak Nti Asare, Associate Director, Cybersecurity & Global Policy Program; Associate Director, the Language Workshop, Hamilton Lugar School of Global & International Studies, IU.

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Time: Tuesday, March 10, 2020. 1:15–2:45 pm.

Topic: Climate Change and the Global Order.

Speaker: Michael Hamburger, Professor, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences, IU.

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Time: Tuesday, February 11, 2020. 1:15–2:45 pm.

Topic: Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

Speaker: Inge Van der Cruysse, Lecturer, Law; Director, Externships and Clerkship Placements, Maurer School of Law, IU.

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Time: Tuesday, January 13, 2020. 1:15–2:45 pm.

Task: Pick up & pay for Great Decisions 2020 series & book. 

Speaker: Wendy Leutert, Assistant Professor; GLP-Ming Z. Mei Chair of Chinese Economics and Trade, East Asian Languages & Cultures, Hamilton Lugar School of Global & International Studies, IU. 

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