IVO H. DAALDER, PH.D.


Dr. Ivo will present an overview of the rules-based order that America created and led in the aftermath of World War II — from its creation, through the Cold War, to the Post-Cold War era, and finally, to the Present.


In this seminar, Dr. Ivo presents an overview of President Trump’s foreign policy, focused on the core philosophy of the president, regarding America’s role in the world, and the consequences (intended or not) of his policies on global stability, security, and prosperity. Finally, we’ll discuss the prospects for the future.


This class presents a speculative view of what might come after Trump in terms of global order, from a world in ever-growing disarray to a world of great power competition, to a China-run world order.


Lean what is the national security decision-making process from the perspective of the most important, yet least public official, the president’s national security adviser. Our focus will be historical, starting with McGeorge Bundy under Kennedy all the way through Trump’s three (or will it be more?) national security advisers.
 

KATHLEEN HICKS, PH.D.


In this session, we’ll examine the evolving geopolitical landscape, especially the changing role of the United States and its implications. We’ll look at the capabilities and approaches of China, Russia, and Iran as well as non-state actors. Our exploration will touch on disruptive military technologies, strategic economic competition, space and counterspace, organized crime, climate change, and urbanization. It will include a discussion of how states and organizations are using combinations of so-called “gray zone” tactics to compete for advantage below the threshold of direct military conflict. Dr. Hicks will also draw out areas of potential advantage and opportunity for the United States and its allies.

>Get an insider’s assessment of where our understanding of the international environment is strong and where our intelligence and warning systems are weak.


The United States’ security strategy takes in a 360° view and looks above and below the horizon to assess the threats and challenges, adversaries and allies, state and non-state parties that do or could impact national security. Dr. Hicks takes a look at the moving parts, including military capabilities, foreign policy tools, domestic economic vitality, public-private partnerships, and resources that a national security strategy requires. We’ll also discuss the potential impact of Executive philosophy, communication, and tactics on the use and effectiveness of the strategy. We’ll look beyond U.S. shores to how America’s allies — and potential adversaries — respond to the stated U.S. security strategy and how they are navigating the unpredictability of the U.S. presidency. Dr. Hicks will examine the relationships among the strength of the American military, diplomatic, and economic tools and the strength of our constitutional democracy. Get a sense of hope in how America could embrace its innate adaptability and innovation ecosystem, along with its alliances and other geopolitical advantages, to build a bridge toward a U.S. security strategy suited for today’s world.


New problems develop at digital lightspeed. New sorts of security threats have appeared and do not have clear practical and legal approaches. Information flies around the globe and process privacy is a constant challenge. The United States has picked a difficult time to cycle through ideological and partisan grappling with the balance of cooperative and coercive policies in foreign policy and national security. Dr. Hicks will explore the links between domestic strength and foreign policy success. To give us a framework for assessing foreign policy developments, she will discuss the imperatives that build the foundation of sound, credible, agile, fiscally viable foreign policy. Get a sense of the myths and truths of Americans’ divisions over national security and discuss how to forge the political and civic foundations for a successful foreign policy.


At a time when the United States and its allies face a wide range of international threats, the usefulness of America’s alliances and military presence abroad is being questioned and criticized. While the United States’ global alliances are often assumed to be key elements of the liberal international order, they are under scrutiny. Dr. Kathleen Hicks guides us through an expert analysis of America’s alliances and military deployment. Take an incisive look at role and productivity of alliances, and their effectiveness in advancing American interests. How do we know if allies are doing their fair share? What is the cost to America of turning away from its allies, and maintaining its military presence on its own? How can U.S. alliances face the morphing array of contemporary threats, especially when all partners face fiscal constraints and emboldened political pressure? Discover the principles, approaches, costs and benefits within America’s alliances and get the facts you need as an informed citizen.
 

ADAM LIPTAK


The departure of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s longtime swing member, will transform the institution. As a new justice joins the court, it is time to take a deep and candid look at the personalities and politics that will shape its agenda over the coming decades.


These are perilous times for the press, which is facing economic pressure, a steep drop in public approval unprecedented attacks by President Trump, who calls journalists “the enemy of the people.” But some outlets have proved resilient, and the courts have so far not retreated from the United States’s exceptional commitment to First Amendment freedoms.


In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums in elections. The decision overruled two major precedents and amplified the role money plays in shaping American democracy.


The Supreme Court routinely confronts the burning issues of the day, including abortion, gay rights, the Second Amendment, voting and the death penalty. A new term will start on the first Monday in October, bringing with it a new set of cases for the justices.
 

THOMAS RICKS


Winston Churchill and George Orwell are two very different men, the former a conservative imperialist, the latter a socialist journalist. Yet in the 1930s, these two, from their distinct ideological perches, saw that we should not give up on democracy and accept authoritarianism as the wave of the future. To an extent not sufficiently appreciated, they were the minority voices who insisted that Communism and Fascism were not opposites, but rather two forms of totalitarianism, and that both had to be resisted. Oddly, these two Englishmen never met, but they admired each other from afar. The last thing Orwell ever wrote for publication was a warm review of Churchill’s memoirs of World War II. And the hero of his great novel 1984 was, of course, named “Winston.” Churchill loved the book and read it twice.


Back in World War II, you had about 90 days in command of an Army division or regiment in combat to succeed or be replaced. During that war, some 16 Army division commanders were relieved for cause, out of a total of 155 who commanded a division in combat. Yet nowadays, it seems generals are only fired for personal indiscretions, such as sleeping with a female subordinate. Today, as one American colonel said bitterly during the Iraq War, “As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle sufferes far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.” In his talk, Ricks looks at how we moved to a military culture that neither punishes mediocrity nor rewards daring. His bottom line: We now have a military that is tactically proficient yet strategically obtuse, good at fighting but poor at adapting.


This is a work in progress for Ricks, because it is the book he is currently writing. Much more than we appreciate today, the first four American presidents (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison) were steeped in the history and literature of the ancient Romans and Greeks. Adams loved and emulated Cicero, the Roman orator. Jefferson read widely across ancient literature and was more an Epicurean than a Christian. To prepare for the Constitutional Convention, Madison spent years studying about ancient governments, especially the workings of Greek republics. Even Washington, the least educated of the four, and the only one who did not read Greek and Latin, knew the ancient world from the elite culture of the day. His favorite play was &lduo;Cato,” about the Roman who opposed Caesar, and he himself was widely compared first to Fabius and later to Cincinnatus. This familiarity with ancient history shaped how these men developed the new country, but it did not always serve them well, and in the 1790s the nation almost came apart in part because of their classical lens.


We are probably going to lose the next war we are in because:

  • We have not really won a war in more than 70 years?
  • We have a risk-averse military that doesn’t think strategy is its job
  • Our current hero worship of the military means we don’t put political pressure on it to change
  • And our military is profoundly unadaptive. That is, while is it tactically proficient, it is slow to learn. Generals don’t fight the last war, they just fight the same one over and over again, without adapting. And that is going to hurt us in the long run.

In sum, right now our military establishment resembles the British Royal Navy of 1939. It was the most powerful maritime force in the world — and in the war that followed, it was almost irrelevant, because it had placed its chips on battleships, rather than submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers, which proved to be the essential warships of World War II.