On Shifting Ground

Conventional wisdom holds that weak and failing states are extremely attractive to transnational terrorist groups because they have unmonitored borders and provide places where terrorists can plan attacks. If this is the case, why are only a minority of these states home to terrorist groups? In fact, mainstream beliefs about the threats posed by failing states are based on anecdotal arguments, not on a systematic analysis of the connections between state failure and transnational security threats. A country's institutional weakness is not the only appeal to terrorist groups; it is a state's ambivalent relationship with, or direct support for, these groups that attracts them. Join Stewart Patrick as he shows that while some global threats do emerge in fragile states, most of their weaknesses create misery only for their own citizenry and the real global threats originate farther up the chain in government.

Direct download: 11_29_11_Stewart_Patrick.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:37am PST

There is a growing consensus among economists and world leaders that girls' education is the single most effective tool for fighting poverty in developing countries. While not a panacea, education yields enormous benefits for girls, their families, and society, including increased future income, lower risk of HIV/AIDS, and improved health outcomes. Yet not all approaches to educating girls are equally effective. Join Ann Cotton, Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, and Joel Samoff as they discuss the benefits and the challenges of educating girls in Africa, and share lessons learned from years of experience working in the sector.

Direct download: 11_21_11_Girls_Education.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:39am PST

Representing the aerospace center of California during nine terms in Congress, Jane Harman served on all the major security committees: six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence and four on Homeland Security. She has made numerous Congressional fact-finding missions to hotspots around the world including North Korea, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Guantanamo Bay to assess threats against the U.S. Most recently, in her new role, she was in Tunisia and Egypt as an election monitor. The Honorable Jane Harman is a former member of Congress, and current President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. This luncheon format offers an opportunity to hear remarks from Ms. Harman on issues of national security, followed by a conversation including your questions and comments.

Direct download: 11_18_11_Jane_Harman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:45am PST

Lebanese-born Nada Prouty was a respected agent for the FBI and CIA who was assigned to high-level terrorism cases, working in Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq. In the months following the 9/11 attacks, she was accused of selling information Hezbollah and stripped of her American citizenship. She was ultimately exonerated, but almost a decade later, she has not regained her citizenship. Prouty will discuss her story, and how anti-Arab sentiment and a rush to judgment may have cost her her livelihood and her American identity.

Direct download: 11_17_11_Nada_Prouty.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:47am PST

Global total military expenditures is estimated to account for about 2.7% of global GDP. If the sheer size of the business was not enough to influence politics, then the fact that the majority of arms contracts are awarded by governments to supply militaries makes them of incredible political importance. Sometimes these contract negotiations take place publicly but often there is no bidding or competition at all. Join Andrew Feinstein as he draws back the curtain on a world of legitimate multi-billion dollar government contracts, the illicit arms trade and the frequent links between the two. He will reveal the impact this trade has, not only on less stable countries around the world but also the democratic institutions of the United States and the United Kingdom.

Direct download: 11_10_11_Andrew_Feinstein.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:48am PST

For the second installment of the three-part series “China: Reshaping the East” the Council is pleased to welcome Dr. Bates Gill, Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to discuss his recently completed a study on China-North Korea relations. In his analysis Dr. Gill will put a particular focus on the new and emerging actors in China that are seeing to a deepening of relations between Beijing and Pyongyang, and the implications of those relations for US policy in East Asia.

Direct download: 11_8_11_Bates_Gill.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

General Carter F. Ham became commander of U.S. Africa Command headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany on March 9, 2011. U.S. Africa Command is one of six unified geographic commands within the Department of Defense unified command structure. General Carter F. Ham served as an enlisted Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division before attending John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was commissioned in the Infantry as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1976. His military service has included assignments in Kentucky, Ohio, California, Georgia, Italy and Germany to name a few. He has also served in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Macedonia, and Iraq. He has held a variety of positions to include Recruiting Area Commander; Battalion Executive Officer at the National Training Center; Advisor to the Saudi Arabian National Guard Brigade; Commander, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry; Chief of Staff, 1st Infantry Division; Commander, 29th Infantry Regiment; commander, Multi-National Brigade, Mosul, Iraq; Commander, 1st Infantry Division; Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC.

Direct download: 11_08_11_Gen_Carter_Ham.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:52am PST

Advances in mobile technology and digital tools are radically changing the landscape of human rights reporting and adjudication. They are also allowing development agencies and governments access to parts of the world that were previously unreachable, due to lack of infrastructure. The Council will host three panelists to discuss the role of technology in this growing field. Whether it’s mobile banking in the South Pacific, malaria education in Mali, or human rights reporting in the DRC, technology is playing an increasingly vital role.

Direct download: 11_2_11_Going_Digital.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST