International Affairs Events in DC

Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events in DC 2/20-2/28

Tuesday, February 20th

From Stalin to Mao: Albania and the Socialist World
Time: 3:30pm-5:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Information: After a decade of vigorous borrowing from the Soviet Union—advisers, factories, school textbooks, urban plans—Albania’s party clique switched allegiance to China during the 1960s Sino-Soviet conflict, seeing in Mao’s patronage an opportunity to keep Stalinism alive. Author Elidor Mëhilli shows how socialism created a shared transnational material and mental culture—still evident today around Eurasia—but it failed to generate political unity. Combining an analysis of ideology with a sharp sense of geopolitics, he brings into view Fascist Italy’s involvement in Albania, then explores the country’s Eastern bloc entanglements, the profound fascination with the Soviets, and the contradictions of the dramatic anti-Soviet turn. Mëhilli’s fresh perspective on the Soviet-Chinese battle for the soul of revolution in the global Cold War also illuminates the paradoxes of state planning in the twentieth century.

Coping with Surprise in Great Power Conflicts
Time: 9:30am-11:00am
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Information: With the rise of great power competition comes the possibility of great power surprise in four dimensions: strategic, technological, doctrinal, and diplomatic. Although some surprise is inevitable, defeat is not. Please join us for the release of the CSIS study Avoiding Coping with Strategic Surprise in Great Power Conflicts and a panel discussion on how the United States can better anticipate and adapt to the unexpected.

The Objectives Resolution of Pakistan: Islam, Minorities, and the Making of a Democracy, a Discussion with Dr. Neeti Nair
Time: 12:00pm-2:00pm
Location: The Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St., NW Room 602
Information: The creation of the state of Pakistan in 1947 was sudden and unexpected. Several details including the new international boundary lines, the accession of princely states, the division of the British Indian army, the choice of a national flag and appropriate national anthem, had to be worked out. The framing of a Constitution was among the foremost challenges facing the new state. In less than three decades, Pakistan would have as many Constitutions; common to all of these was the Objectives Resolution.
Passed in March 1949 by the first Constituent Assembly, which was also Pakistan’s first legislature, the Objectives Resolution is generally understood as marking the beginning of the Islamization of laws and society. Yet, the Resolution was embraced by non-Muslims, especially Christians, for safeguarding their right to preach and practice as Christians. A close examination of contemporary debates in the Constituent Assembly, the writings of religious scholars, law-makers and educationists throws new light on what it meant to be Muslim in Pakistan’s early decades, and for Pakistan to aspire to be an Islamic state. For both Muslims and non-Muslims, the Objectives Resolution was a challenge and a promise – a challenge to balance the contradictions and expectations inherent in the many clauses comprising the Resolution, and a promise to aspire to an equal and tolerant society ‘as enunciated by Islam.’

Wednesday, February 21st

Developments in Inter-American Private International Law
Time: 3:00pm-4:00pm
Location: The George Washington University Law School, 2000 H St. NW
Information: Join the International and Comparative Law Program as they host Jeannette Tramhel of the Organization of American States. She will discuss the developments in Inter-American private international law. Professor Steve Charnovitz will moderate.
RSVP: No RSVP Required

Preserving History: The Challenges of Protecting Cultural Heritage Sites in the Middle East
Time: 6:00pm- 7:15pm
Location: The Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St., NW Room 602
Information: Dr. Gerstenblith joins the Middle East Policy Forum to discuss current efforts to protect cultural heritage sites throughout a tumultuous Middle East. Especially in Syria, where years of fighting have devastated the country, cultural preservation is critical. Dr. Gerstenblith will present an overview of political and legal issues at play and discuss the difficulties of adapting US law and policy to the changing circumstances in the region, as well as the upcoming challenge of reconstruction in Syria.

Thursday, February 22nd

China Reality Check Series: Controlling Pollution in China
Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Information: Please join the Freeman Chair in China Studies for a discussion of pollution control in China. At the December 2017 Central Economic Work Conference, Chinese policymakers decided that China would combat three tough battles in the next three years, among them is controlling pollution. The Wilson Center’s Jennifer L. Turner and UCLA’s Alex Wang will discuss the implications of China’s targets for reducing major pollutants, major policy developments, implementation, public opinion, and potential changes over the next three years.  The China Reality Check Series presents perspectives from academia, industry, and government in order to promote a sustained dialogue on critical and insufficiently understood issues related to China’s reemergence as a global power.

The U.S.-Japan Alliance and the Problem of Deterrence
Time: 9:00am-11:00am
Location: Brookings Institution 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Information: A fundamental purpose of the U.S.-Japan alliance has always been to reduce the incentive that any adversary would have to wage war against Japan. To that end, Japan has built up the capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces over several decades, and has even partially relaxed the traditional limits concerning the use of those capabilities. For its part, the United States has clearly stated its commitment to Japan’s defense and a willingness, if necessary, to use nuclear weapons should an adversary attack Japan. Recent shifts in the regional security environment, particularly North Korea’s relentless effort to build nuclear capabilities to hit the continental United States can undermine Japanese confidence in the U.S. defense commitment. In particular, Japanese security experts worry that Washington will no longer be willing to use nuclear weapons to defend Japan once North Korea can retaliate with its own nuclear program.
On February 22, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies will convene a public event examining U.S. extended deterrence in Japan and Asia. The session will bring together American and Japanese scholars to discuss views of deterrence in each country and the implications of those mainstream views for addressing current and future security challenges from North Korea and China. Robert Einhorn, senior fellow in the Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative, will moderate the discussion. After presentations, panelists will take questions from the audience.
RSVP: here

Friday, February 23rd

Canada’s Liberal Government at Mid-Term: A Report Card
Time: 12:00pm-1:30pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Information: Join us on Friday, February 23, 2018 from 12:00 – 1:30pm for a confersation with Andrew Cohen. Cohen will reflect on the mixed record of the government of Canada two years after Justin Trudeau led the Liberal Party to a surprising victory. At home it has moved cautiously on its major promises while making some bold appointments. Abroad, Trudeau has used his celebrity to re-brand Canada as progressive and tolerant, while struggling to preserve NAFTA. Blessed with a strong economy and a weak opposition, the Liberals remain popular well into their mandate — largely untouched by missteps, misjudgments and missed opportunities.
RSVP: here

looking forward…

Wednesday, February 28th

Nuclear North Korea: Is War the Way Ahead?
Time: 6:00pm-7:30pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Information: Olympic developments aside, tension between the United States and North Korea appears alarmingly high and escalating. Kim Jong Un, authoritarian Supreme Leader of the ‘Hermit Kingdom’, now has nuclear missiles perhaps capable of striking mainland America. And this threat and the vitriol has Americans amped up, aided by (false) inbound missile alarms. Should the United States resolve this situation through sustained economic and military deterrence, or has the time for a diplomatic solution ended? Hear and engage leading experts as they debate “Nuclear North Korea: Is War the Way Ahead?” – the latest in the Debate and Decision Series at the McCain Institute.

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