9/08/09 Global food supply
  Global prices for food staples have risen dramatically, resulting in protests and unrest around the world. What factors are driving prices up, and can they be tamed? What will the political fallout be for governments that fail to act, and what role can global institutions play?
9/22/09 Cuba On The Verge
  Since Fidel Castro handed over the presidency of Cuba to his brother, Raúl in early 2008, signs of greater economic openness have led to much speculation. Will Raúl seek to reopen ties with the U.S.? What role will Cuba’s American exiles play in shaping a post-Castro Cuba?
10/13/09 Afghanistan/Pakistan
  Newfound hopes for stability in Iraq have shifted the U.S. military focus back to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one of the most volatile border regions in the world. What impact will this renewed interest have on the two states as well as on U.S. defense strategy?
*10/26/09 Egypt: Key Ally in the Middle East
  Egypt has long played an important role in the Arab world while maintaining a strategic relationship with the U.S. With elections scheduled for 2009, how will Egypt deal with serious domestic issues, ranging from Islamic radicalism to food shortages? What factors will influence the path of this regional heavyweight?*NOTE Date Change!
11/10/09 US and Rising Powers
  Since the end of the cold war, the U.S. has emerged as the world’s predominant power. However, in the 21st century some rapidly developing countries have become increasingly influential. Who are these “rising powers?” Will their emergence change the global balance of power? How will the U.S. react?
*12/2/09 Human Rights in a New Era: Wars For Peace?
  As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 60th anniversary, events in the Balkans, Sudan and Myanmar continue to challenge its idealism, while raising new questions about the prospects for humanitarian interventions. Do human rights transcend national borders and customs? Is the definition of human rights changing?*NOTE Date Change
Nov. 24 The Arctic:
  Rising global temperatures have created new opportunities in the Arctic for resource extraction and inter-continental transport. How will sovereignty disputes among the five countries that border the Arctic affect its potential development? What impact will this race for the Arctic have on an environment already in serious flux?
Nov. 24 Energy & the global economy:
  Rising energy prices, driven by instability in key producing regions such as the Middle East and increasing demand from developing countries, are affecting the global economy. What are the potential consequences of huge wealth transfers to oil-exporting states? Are there any realistic alternative energy scenarios on the horizon?

Great Decisions 2010 Topics

Feb. 9, 2010 China looks at the world: the world looks at China.
  China’s influence is growing, along with its military expenditures. How will this growth affect China’s relations with its neighbors and with the U.S.? Will China’s expanding military and economic power affect traditional U.S. roles and U.S. alliances in East Asia? How will countries like Japan, South Korea and India respond?
March 9, 2010 Special Envoys
  Special envoys can help bring attention and diplomatic muscle to resolve conflicts and global challenges but they also bring with them their own “special” problems. Will the Obama administration’s reliance on special envoys increase the ability of the U.S. to deal with major international issues or complicate our diplomatic options?
April 13, 2010 Preventing Genocide
  Post-election rioting in Kenya in December 2007 brought pressure on Nairobi, from international and regional diplomats, to end tensions and avert bloodshed on a massive scale. What lessons can be learned from the intervention in Kenya? What does it mean for the UN’s emerging responsibility to protect doctrine?
May 11, 2010 Global Financial Crisis
  The global financial crisis that began in late 2007 revealed major deficiencies in the regulation of markets and institutions, all of which came perilously close to collapse. Emergency measures to prevent a full collapse of the global financial system have led to mixed results. How will governments and the world community respond to this challenge?
Second Tuesday,October 12, 2010 The Persian Gulf
  Now more than ever, the Persian Gulf region offers many difficult challenges to U.S. policymakers. How will Obama’s direct appeal to Arabs and Muslims impact U.S. foreign policy in the region? What will the fallout of withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq be? Can the U.S. and its allies prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons?
Second, Wednesday, November 10, 2010 Peace Building/Conflict Resolution
  U.S. campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that military force alone cannot ensurepeace in all conflicts. How can the U.S. successfully integrate the tools of peace building into its statecraft? At what point do poverty, disease and climate change threaten national security? What role can non-governmental actors play in supporting government led efforts?
First Tuesday, December 7, 2010 Globalized Crime
  From the booming sex trade in Eastern Europe, to online fraud syndicates in Africa and the drug cartels of Asia and Central America, crime is becoming increasingly organized and globalized. How can countries better protect citizens seeking the benefits of a globalized world from being exploited? What international actors can effectively fight global organized crime?
February 8, 2011 Rebuilding Haiti
  The January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti struck a country already suffering from widespread poverty and underdevelopment. Did this natural disaster inadvertently provide an opportunity for reassessment and planning a new Haiti? Will the results of the 2010 presidential elections provide the leadership bring to restore the country?
March 8 Global Governance
  International cooperation subjects political leaders to an ongoing test: balancing national needs with a commitment to building a durable international order. How has an increasingly interconnected and shrinking world affected the viability of existing agreements and institutions? What economic, social, political and security concerns are currently on the agendas of intergovernmental bodies, and what is the future U.S. role?
April 12 Horn of Africa
  Since the early 1990s, the U.S. has monitored the Horn of Africa due to security concerns. Internal instability, weak governments in some countries, regional rivalries and a lack of development have resulted in an environment conducive to terrorism. Can the U.S. protect its national interests while mitigating the dangerous conditions in the region
May 10 Responding to the Financial Crisis
  As an immediate response to the financial crisis of 2007–08, governments around the world stepped in to bail out troubled private banks deemed “too big to fail,” underscoring the interdependence between private and public finances. With the recent eurozone crisis, what have we learned so far and is it possible to ensure that future crises will not occur?
September 13 U. S. National Security
  U.S. national security priorities were expanded after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to include waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan, tightening border security, pursuing cyberthreats, halting nuclear proliferation and attempting to snuff out homegrown terrorism. How has the U.S. national security agenda evolved since 9/11? In what ways will this agenda shape the American way of life in the future?
October 11 Germany Ascendant
  Germany has emerged from both the financial crisis and the eurozone crisis as the dominant economic and political power in Europe, in particular setting the tone for dealings with Russia, Eastern Europe and Iran. How important is it for U.S, interests to enhance relations with Germany, and how should the U.S. react when German and U.S. interests fail to align?
** NOTE DATE Change – November 15 Sanctions and Non-proliferation
  Sanctions have been created to curb nations in violation of international law, especially agreements concerning nuclear nonproliferation. How successfully have sanctions been applied against past violators? Is there any chance sanctions can curtail North Korea and Iran from continuing to develop nuclear weapons?
December 6 The Caucusus
  The countries and regions of the Caucasus all have strong national identities but have long lived in the shadow of their larger neighbors: Russia, Iran and Turkey. How does this influence the Caucasus of today? How do the region’s energy resources play into its relations with the outside world?

<<< Return to the current Great Decisions page.