World Affairs

North Korea has threatened the United States with a “merciless” nuclear attack. While not a new threat, they may soon be capable of actually making good on that promise. North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, has recently been pushing to develop a missile capable of hitting the US, as witnessed by a series of tests. The likely target? California.

Meanwhile, escalating military tensions in the region have further isolated the nation both politically and economically, setting the stage for long-standing internal human rights abuses to worsen. Situations involving political prison camps, unresolved disappearances and the abduction of Japanese and South Koreans are all cause for concern. Add to that savory list, power struggles within the family itself. According to Malaysian authorities, Kim Jong-un's half-brother was recently murdered with chemical weapons in an airport in Kuala Lumpur, further escalating tensions.

How serious is the risk of a North Korean nuclear attack? How will Trump’s reaction and willingness to work with our allies in the region influence the situation? And what obligation, if any, does the international community have to intervene on any and all fronts? Experts Philip Yun, Director of the Ploughshares Fund, and Daniel Sneider, Associate Director for Research at Stanford’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, will share their insights.

SPEAKERS

Daniel Sneider
Associate Director for Research, Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

Philip W. Yun
Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Ploughshares Fund

MODERATOR:

Neil Joeck
Research Scholar, Institute for International Studies, University of California, Berkeley

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1708

Direct download: 04_12_17_North_Korea.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:48pm PDT

Tension in US-Russia relations is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War. Russia’s 2012 invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s military intervention in support of the Assad regime in Syria — along with the unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 US election — have fanned these flames.

President Trump insists that he will prioritize healing the relationship and that Moscow can be an important partner in the fight against terrorism and other issues. However the recent use of chemical weapons in Syria followed by a US retaliatory airstrike against the Russian-backed Assad regime have raised the stakes and the risk of greater use of force. What can be done to avoid accidental or unintended military confrontation in the Middle East or in Europe? Will Russia’s interference in our domestic politics have lasting repercussions? In what ways can we collaborate with Russia on fighting the risk of nuclear terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction? Will Trump’s approach lead to stronger US-Russia cooperation, or is the relationship too broken to fix?

Andrew Weiss, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will share his perspectives on the future of US-Russia relations as well as key policy recommendations to manage the bilateral relationship, drawn from a two-year, high-level, and bipartisan task force on U.S. policy toward Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. The task force was convened jointly by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Chicago Council for International Affairs.

Speaker Andrew Weiss is Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

 
The conversation is moderated by Carla Thorson, Senior Vice President of Programs at World Affairs.
 
For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1716
 
Direct download: 04_11_17_Andrew_Weiss.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:16pm PDT

The United States is a leader in environmental policy, with California at the forefront as a global hub for clean energy technology and investments. With Trump as President, many environmentalists fear this will change. Trump has vowed to bring back coal jobs, withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and reduce clean energy spending — not to mention calling climate change a “hoax” and selecting climate change deniers to head the EPA and Energy Department.

Californian officials and other international leaders have spoken out and pledged for continued environmental progress, regardless of what happens in Washington. What specific protections can state governments such as California put in place? Are market forces and technology strong enough that current trends towards clean energy will continue despite any potential policy decisions? If the US were to pull out of the Paris Agreement, would other countries continue to hold up their end of the bargain?

Hal Harvey, the CEO of Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC, and Severin Borenstein, E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, will evaluate the ramifications of potential policy decisions that Trump could make.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1681

Direct download: 02_28_17_CA_Energy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:13am PDT

The Syrian war has left an estimated 470,000 dead, with 4.8 million international refugees and 6.6 million people internally displaced. As peace efforts falter, the world cries out for the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law, seeking accountability for their infringement.

Recent attention has focused on the siege of Aleppo, where intense aerial bombardment by Syrian and Russian forces destroyed all medical care infrastructure, wiped out marketplaces and bakeries and led to thousands of civilian deaths. Unlawful killings remain a hallmark of this blood-soaked conflict. Humanitarian access is blocked. What can be done?

This panel discussion will examine the findings of the the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic special report examining the violations that took place in Aleppo city since late 2015, and debate its impact on any future accountability for victims of the conflict's many crimes.

This event is co-organized by World Affairs and the Center for Justice and Accountability

SPEAKERS

Sareta Ashraph
former Chief Analyst, UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Scott Gilmore
Staff Attorney, Center for Justice and Accountability

Stephen Rapp
Former Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, U.S. Department of State

MODERATOR:

Beth Van Schaack
Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights, Stanford Law School

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1685

Direct download: 02_13_17_Syria_War_Crimes.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:45pm PDT

Join Asia Society, The Asia Foundation, Commonwealth Club, and World Affairs for a unique dialogue featuring the leaders of four of the Bay Area’s most prestigious public affairs and non-profit organizations, who will look at the presidency of Donald J. Trump and what it will mean for America’s relationship with Asia and the world.

Held within the first 100 days of the Trump Administration, the dialogue will examine more closely a persistent divide between California and the Bay Area, and the rest of the country, on the future direction of this nation. The dialogue will examine how the Bay Area, and the state more broadly, views America’s relationship with Asia, as well its place in the world on global issues such as trade, security and climate change.

What are some of the primary issues of importance to the Bay Area—politically, economically, culturally—as it relates to US-Asia relations and are they similar or different from the rest of the country? Has the state and the region evolved differently from the rest of the country in how they perceive America’s relationship with Asia and the world, and if so, why?

World Affairs seeks to explore problems and expand opportunities at the intersection of international policy, philanthropy and enterprise — where solutions to hard problems lie. Every day, we convene thought leaders, change makers and engaged citizens to share ideas, learn from each other and engage in conversations that matter. Founded in 1947, following the San Francisco conference that established the United Nations, World Affairs remains one of the most vibrant global affairs organizations in the United States.

SPEAKERS

David D. Arnold
President, The Asia Foundation

Dr. Gloria C. Duffy
President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club of California

N. Bruce Pickering
Vice President of Global Programs, Asia Society and Executive Director, Asia Society Northern California, Asia Society

Jane Wales
CEO, World Affairs and Global Philanthropy Forum; Vice President, The Aspen Institute

MODERATOR:

Mina Kim
PM Anchor and Forum Friday Host, KQED

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1691

Direct download: 03_07_17_Trump_West_Coast.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:20am PDT

General Michael Hayden is the only person ever to lead both the CIA and NSA. For 10 years, he was a key player in some of the most important events in the history of American national security. Now, at a time of ominous new threats and political change, General Hayden will share an insider’s perspective of America's intelligence wars.

What role did US intelligence play in the wake of terrorist threats, a major war and the technological revolution? What was the transformation of the NSA after 9/11? Why did the NSA begin the controversial terrorist surveillance program that included the collection of domestic phone records? What else was set in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?

General Hayden is a retired United States Air Force four-star general, former director of the NSA, principal deputy director of National Intelligence, and director of the CIA. His recent book, "Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror," is a behind-the-scenes account of his experiences within our national intelligence operations. His goals for writing it are simple: No apologies. No excuses. Just what happened.

Speaker General Michael Hayden is the Former Director of the NSA and CIA.

Jane Wales, CEO, World Affairs and Global Philanthropy Forum, and Vice President, The Aspen Institute, moderates the discussion.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1692

Direct download: 03_13_17_Michael_Hayden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am PDT

In the first months of the new administration, multiple questions have arisen about President Donald Trump’s approach to executive power. Join us for a discussion that will focus on the White House’s policy on immigration. We will discuss the law and policy of the executive order suspending immigration from seven majority Muslim nations under the Immigration and Naturalization Act and the US Constitution.

Does the president have the authority to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and tax Mexican imports or currency transfers to pay for it? What can the president do in the absence of legislative action and when and where does the judiciary step in? Has President Trump gone too far or simply not framed the orders correctly? Daniel Farber, Peter Schuck, and John Yoo, three of the nation’s leading legal scholars, respond to these questions and more, illuminating the limits of the executive power.

As part of our "Engage" series, this event features a post-discussion Q&A, when you will have the chance to participate directly with the speaker and gain incredible insights that you won't get anywhere else.

SPEAKERS

Daniel Farber
Sho Sato Professor of Law, University of California at Berkeley School of Law

Peter Schuck
Visiting Professor of Law, University of California at Berkeley School of Law

John Yoo
Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law, University of California at Berkeley School of Law

MODERATOR:

Jeffrey L. Bleich
CEO, Dentons Diplomatic Services and Chair, Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1700

Direct download: 03_09_17_Trump_Executive_Power.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:52pm PDT

Join Asia Society Northern California and World Affairs for a dialogue with The Honorable Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute and former Prime Minister of Australia, who will look at some of the critical issues facing the Asia-Pacific region today and the challenges likely to emerge in the coming years.

While Asia is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and a young, dynamic population, the region is also confronted with a number of issues that threaten to stymie the region’s rise. Growing nationalism, enduring security flashpoints in the Korean peninsula and the South China Sea, an ascendant China, and climate change are just some of the factors that will demand attention and action in the coming years. The election of Donald Trump as the new U.S. President adds unpredictability to the region given his campaign promises to upend America’s role in the alliance infrastructure that underpins security, economic, and political relationships in the region and the world.

Co-Chairman of the ASNC Advisory Board and Chairman Emeritus of Silicon Valley Bank Ken Wilcox will moderate the dialogue.

Direct download: 02_08_17_Kevin_Rudd.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:27pm PDT

There is a new world order. This isn't the 20th century anymore: shifting coalitions, changing spheres of influence, evolving economic and political powers. A friend one minute; a foe another. To address these challenges, the next US president must reconsider our statecraft and diplomacy. Career Ambassador and renowned expert on US-China and Middle East relations, Chas W. Freeman, will call upon his decades of experience to discuss how US foreign policy must change to suit today’s increasingly competitive and disorderly world.

How can the US better navigate its complex relationship with China? What lessons can be learned from our failed interventions in the Middle East, and what steps can be taken to remedy those diplomatic and military errors? How should the US respond to the Arab uprisings and the deteriorating order in the Middle East? Is Israel a strategic asset or liability for the US?

Ambassador Chas Freeman is well-positioned to respond to these questions. During his three decades as an American diplomat, he has served as the US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; negotiated with Fidel Castro and other state leaders; translated for President Nixon during his breakthrough visit to Beijing; and served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. Freeman is one of America’s most distinguished diplomats. Providing frank, but graciously rendered observations, he will challenge us to think critically about US foreign policy - how we have erred in the past, and how we might do things differently in the future.

Speaker Chas W. Freeman is Senior Fellow of the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, and Chairman of the Board, Committee for the Republic

Moderator Jane Wales is CEO of World Affairs and Global Philanthropy Forum, and Vice President of The Aspen Institute.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1686

Direct download: 02_07_17_Chas_Freeman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:34pm PDT

The news each week is filled with increasingly horrific stories of the effects of violent extremism and ISIL-led and ISIL-inspired attacks in Iraq, Syria and around the world. We will make a a clear-eyed assessment of the challenge of violent extremism, including recruitment and radicalization, and the current state of the conflict and discuss how the US and our partners might respond in 2017 and beyond. How are the US defense, intelligence, diplomatic, and development agencies working to prevent the rise of violent extremism and counter ISIL? What consensus for our strategies and tactics exists among US allies and partners? What role should the multilateral organizations, including the UN, NATO and others play in the year ahead? How is ISIL able to convince young vulnerable populations across the globe to join them? How do we work with our local communities and in communities in Europe and other regions to identify signs of radicalization to violence and prevent it? How is the US and our partners working to leverage the technology sector, social media platforms and counter-messaging efforts to counter ISIL’s use of the internet for self-promotion and recruitment?

Rukmini Callimachi, Foreign Correspondent covering extremism, The New York Times

Michael Ortiz, Deputy Coordinator for Countering Violent Extremism, Bureau of Counterterrorism, US Department of State

Moderator: Martha Crenshaw, Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

For more information please visit: https://www.worldaffairs.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=792

Direct download: 10_28_16_Countering_ISIL.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:52am PDT