Category Archives: U.S. Foreign Policy

Sarah Lande, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sarah Lande Picture“Visionaries to the Grand Celebration in Beijing—The Iowa Xi Jinping Story”

Watch this program

“For me, you are America,” then-Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, told Sarah Lande during a 2012 return visit to Muscatine, Iowa. This visit brought Muscatine to the national spotlight, but the visionaries behind this landmark event and the benefits enjoyed by Iowa as a result are less widely known.  These visionaries, such as Governor Bob Ray, Paul Engle, and Herbert Hoover laid the groundwork for Iowa-China cultural exchanges and international cooperation.  Sarah Lande will reflect upon those who started it all, the recent celebration commemorating Iowa-China relations, and what the future holds for the two of us together.

Former President and Executive Director of the Iowa Sister States organization, Sarah Lande in 1985 facilitated a visit to Muscatine by a delegation of the Chinese government including Xi Jinping (then an up-and-coming agricultural official from Hebei Province). In February of 2012, Sarah and her husband, Roger, hosted a tender reunion in their Muscatine home with old friends including Xi Jinping. Later that year, Xi in kind hosted Sarah and other Iowa friends in China, and he has since become President of the country. For her diplomatic endeavors, in 2013 Sarah was named an “Honorary Friendship Ambassador” by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Beyond this, she has proactively served the Muscatine community throughout her lifetime. Sarah is a recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Service from the University of Iowa, from which she graduated with her BA and MBA degrees.

Leave a comment

Filed under China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2015, U.S. Foreign Policy

Jim Olson, Thursday, October 23, 2014

jim olson photo“Iowa and the United Nations”

Watch this program

As we mark the 69th anniversary of the United Nations Charter on October 24, Jim Olson will describe the many connections of Iowan, past and present, with the United Nations system.  At a time when the United Nations – and the world – face unprecedented challenges and opportunities, it is important to recall Iowa’s rich tradition of bipartisan support for and engagement with the United Nations and its family of agencies.

Jim Olson is the President of the Iowa United Nations Association.  He served as the Vice President for National Programs of the United Nations Association – USA and as the Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office.  A native of Minnesota, Jim has an undergraduate degree in history from Hamline University in St. Paul and an M.A. and Ph.D. in European history from New York University.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fall 2014, Governance Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Harilaos Stecopoulos, May 1, 2014

“Origins of US Cultural Diplomacy in the 1940s”

Watch this program here.

Some foundations of current day US diplomacy lie in the cultural internationalism of the 1940’s.  By way of diplomats, authors and thinkers, some obscure, but equally influential figures became its respected architects including William Fulbright, Archibald MacLeish,  and Sumner Welles.  Harilaos Stecopoulos examines these figures and lays a foundation for understanding diplomacy of the period.

Harilaos Stecopoulos is Associate Professor of English at the University of Iowa, and the Editor of the prestigious The Iowa Review. Stecopoulos earned a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in English Literature.  He has authored several books, articles and book chapters, and is currently completing “Telling America’s Story to the World: The Literature of U.S. Diplomacy.”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2014, U.S. Foreign Policy

Chris Anderson, Elena Osinskaya & Jill Anderson, April 23, 2014

“Regional Views of Ukraine’s Current Crisis” 

Watch the program here.

The most urgent issue in international diplomacy continues to be the developing crisis in Ukraine.  policy makers and analysts around the world anxiously await developments to what some fear could become the largest forced annexation of European countries since the fall of the Soviet Union.  But, what started this crisis? Who are the Ukrainian people?  What is their relationship to Russia, and what are their perspectives on the crisis?  Three Iowans with substantial ties to the country will share insights on Ukrainian society and history and how regional differences have shaped recent events.

Chris Anderson is a Ph.D. candidate in the UI Department of Political Science studying comparative politics.  He has a BS in Economics from Iowa State, and a MA in Russian Studies from Jagiellonian University in Poland.  He is interested in democratization and nationalism in Ukraine and Georgia.   He has made more than a dozen trips back to Ukraine since 2004.

Elena Osinskaya was born in Ukraine, eventually earning her undergraduate in Moscow.  She is the Language Initiatives Manager in the UI Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures.  She is working towards  a Ph.D. in International and Comparative Education.

 

Jill Anderson is a Ph.D. candidate in the UI Department of Political Science, focusing on International Relations and Comparative Politics.  She holds a BA in Political Science from Central College.  As spent a 2 years teaching English in Yarmolyntsi, Ukraine as a Peace Corp Volunteer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Nick Grossman, April 2, 2014

Grossman pic“The Future of Drones and Unmanned Systems”

Watch this program here.

In the last few decades, semi-autonomous killer machines have migrated from science fiction to a central role in real-world international relations.  The United States utilizes unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as “drones,” to strike targets both in and outside of military contexts.  Though the US is at the forefront of unmanned technology, all advanced militaries use robots to perform a variety of tasks. From surveillance to ordinance disposal, drones are used in the air, water, and on land.  With the US and other militaries’ increasing reliance on unmanned systems, the FAA endorsing commercial drones in 2015, and Google developing a self-driving car, the prevalence of robots is increasing exponentially.  As Grossman points out, technology often develops faster than humans’ understanding of it.

Nicholas Grossman is a lecturer in the political science department of the University of Iowa, where he teaches classes on terrorism and insurgency, national security policy, and 21st century technology and warfare.  He received a PhD in International Relations from the University of Maryland with a dissertation titled “Robotics and the Future of Asymmetric Warfare.”  Before coming to Iowa, he presented on preemptive warfare at the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, and on terrorism to the Applied Physics Laboratory.  As a technology enthusiast, Grossman finds developments in robotics to be both exciting and highly concerning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014, Technology, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Tyler Priest, November 20, 2013

Ty Priest“40th Anniversary:The 1973 Oil Embargo and its Aftermath”

Watch the program here.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1973 oil crisis or “shock.” The shock is mainly remembered for the Arab oil embargo imposed in the fall of 1973, but there were underlying structural problems within the oil industry that turned the embargo into a full-blown crisis. The inability of U.S. production to compensate for supply shortages, combined with the loss of the major oil companies’ control over Middle East production and prices, created a shock that reshaped the international petroleum industry and world affairs in ways that still reverberate today.

Tyler Priest (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor of History and Geography, University of Iowa.  He is a specialist in the history of oil and energy.  He is the author of The Offshore Imperative: Shell Oil’s Search for Petroleum in Postwar America (Texas A&M Press: 2007) and is working on a new book titled, Deepwater Horizons: Managing Offshore Oil and Gas in the United States.  In 2010-2011, he served as a senior policy analyst for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Leave a comment

Filed under Economics, Environmental Issues, Fall 2013, Governance Issues, Past Events, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy

Vicki Hesli Claypool, November 6, 2013

vicki picture“Egypt’s Revolution & Regional Dynamic: Current Status?”

Watch the program here.

Recently eyes have been turned to the Middle East. Not just the recent Arab Spring, but also the revolts in Egypt have people more interested in that part of the world. Since Mohamed Morsi was removed as president by the Army Chief General, Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, the idea of democracy has been threatened. Vicki will talk about the departure of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s 30-year dictator; the rise, via democratic elections, and fall, via military coup, of the Muslim Brotherhood; the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood in the aftermath of the coup; and the regional realignments occurring in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Vicki Claypool is a professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa.  She has served in numerous UI service positions over the years including Chair of the University of Iowa Research Council  and Chair of the Faculty Assembly.  She created and then coordinated the University of Iowa Middle East and Islamic World Studies Group. She serves on the editorial board of the flagship journal of the American Political Science Association. Her publications include six books, numerous book chapters, and over forty peer-reviewed journal articles.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fall 2013, Past Events, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Jim Leach, October 24, 2013

1267“What is Old, New, and Unprecedented in America’s Relationships with the World”

Watch the program here.

Jim Leach will address the United States’ relationships with key countries in the context of a global setting in which weapons of mass destruction have proliferated and terrorism has been globalized. Such countries include: Syria, Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea. He will conclude by emphasizing the role of the United Nations and of diplomacy in general.

Following a thirty-five year Congressional career, Jim has been very active. Since leaving Congress, he has taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at Princeton. He served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2009 until earlier this year.  This fall, Leach, 70, has returned to Iowa. He has joined the faculty as a visiting professor in the UI College of Law as the University of Iowa Chair in Public Affairs. He will work with the UI Center for Human Rights, advise law students, and help secure field placements in Washington, D.C. He also drives a black and gold Mini Cooper, which he’s owned for several years, proving his Hawkeye bona fides pre-dates his membership on the UI faculty.

Leave a comment

Filed under China & East Asia, Fall 2013, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Peter Gries, October 17, 2013

Picture1“Hollywood in China: How American Culture Shapes Chinese Views of the USA”

Watch the program here.

If America is the world’s largest exporter of culture, China is certainly the world’s largest importer. Peter Gries will discuss the role of popular culture in improving attitudes toward America in China and increasing the desire for friendlier US policy.

Peter Gries is a professor at the Institute for US-China Issues at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of China’s New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy, co-editor of Chinese Politics: State, Society and the Market and State and Society in 21st-Century China: Crisis, Contention, and Legitimation, and has written dozens of academic journal articles and book chapters. His work focuses on nationalism, the political psychology of international affairs, and China’s domestic politics and foreign policy.

Peter received a BA in East Asian Studies from Middlebury College, an MA in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mershon Center for Security Studies at Ohio State University. He directs a research lab on the political psychology of US-China relations.

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Fall 2013, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Robert Naiman, May 2, 2013

“A Critique of the U.S. Drone Strike Policy”

RobertNaiman

Watch the program here.

Since the beginning of the War on Terror, the U.S. has used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to remotely target enemy militants. In recent years these attacks have escalated; hundreds of non-combatants have died in countries which are not formally at war with the U.S. This drone strike policy, as it has come to be known, has led to a rise of anti-American sentiment, as well as various contentions within the U.S.

Mr. Naiman will discuss key problems with the drone strike policy, what we know about public opinion, the state of efforts to open up the drone strike policy to public scrutiny, and opportunities for increased pressure on Congress and the Administration.

Robert Naiman is the Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman edits the Just Foreign Policy news summary and writes on U.S. foreign policy for the Huffington Post. He is president of the board of Truthout. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. He has master’s degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois. In October, he participated in a peace delegation to Pakistan to protest the U.S. drone strike policy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Past Events, Spring 2013, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Prof. Ron McMullen, April 17, 2013

mcmullen

“WikiLeaks and its Impact on U.S. Diplomacy

Watch the program here.

In early 2010, WikiLeaks, a non-profit whistleblower organization, began releasing classified U.S. diplomatic cables.

By the end of 2011, over 250,000 cables had been leaked, constituting the largest security breach in U.S. State Department history. The cables were widely disseminated and provoked significant criticism of U.S. foreign policy.

Ambassador Ron McMullen will discuss the circumstances leading up to these events and their subsequent impact on U.S. diplomacy.

McMullen, currently a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, served as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Eritrea. Ron has over 30 years of diplomatic experience and has lived, worked, or traveled in 91 countries. In Burma he worked closely with Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy groups. While posted in Fiji he helped prevent civil conflict after an armed takeover of parliament. He was shot at during a riot in Sri Lanka and helped train mongooses to detect heroin. He survived a voodoo curse in the Dominican Republic and took Hillary Clinton on a tour of South Africa’s Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.

Between foreign assignments, Ron served for three years as Visiting Professor at the Military Academy at West Point, where he taught International Relations and Comparative Politics. He was Diplomat-In-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin 2010-2012. He has authored many scholarly works and is a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award. A native of Northwood, Iowa, he earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Iowa.

Leave a comment

Filed under Past Events, Spring 2013, Technology, U.S. Foreign Policy

Peter Eichstaedt, April 9, 2013

“Above the Din of War: Afghans Speak About Their Lives”

Watch the program here.

Once international forces finally vacate Afghanistan in 2014, the hope for the country will lie solely with its people. Peter Eichstaedt’s new book, “Above the Din of War: Afghans Speak about Their Lives, Their Country, and Their Future-and Why America Should Listen”, illuminates the people of Afghanistan and how they have lived, and will continue to live, in a country that has been at war for 30 years.

After spending 2004 in Afghanistan working for the non-profit Institute for War and Peace Reporting and helping build Afghanistan’s first independent news agency, Peter Eichstaedt returned to Kabul in 2010. As he worked with Afghan journalists to document their history and collective struggles, he realized that although Kabul itself appeared cleaned up, the optimism of the freshly liberated capital had faded under the rise of insurgency. The war in Afghanistan is often examined from the perspective of a foreign correspondent, political analyst or US soldier. In “Above the Din of War”, Eichstaedt provides a forum for the everyday people of Afghanistan to be heard.

Peter Eichstaedt is a veteran journalist who has reported from locations worldwide, including Slovenia, Moldova, Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, and Uganda. He worked most recently as the Afghanistan Country Director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in The Hague, during which time he managed six journalism development programs, including the Afghan Investigative Journalism Fund, a one-year project to build investigative journalism reporting capacity. He is the author of “Consuming the Congo”, “First Kill Your Family”, “If You Poison Us”, and “Pirate State”. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2013, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy

Prof. Wenfang Tang & Prof. Brian Lai, December 4, 2012

“China’s Leadership Transition”

Watch the program here.

The world has been watching with interest the recent 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) because it will bring in a new generation of leaders who will likely rule the world’s second largest economy, the most populous country, and the largest authoritarian state for the next 10 years. Professors Wenfang Tang and Brian Lai will discuss the leadership transition in China and its significance for US-China relations.

Wenfang Tang

Wenfang Tang is the Stanley Hua Hsia Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Iowa. His current research focuses on public opinion and political change in contemporary China, as well as comparative political behavior. He has authored and coauthored several books published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Stanford University Press, and many articles in academic journals including American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Public Policy, China Quarterly, and Journal of Contemporary China, among others.

Brian Lai

Brian Lai, also from the University of Iowa’s Political Science Department, is an  Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies. His areas of emphasis are International Relations, American Foreign Policy, Terrorism and Conflict Processes.  He has contributed articles to academic journals including, Conflict Management and Peace Science, American Journal of Political Science and Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Leave a comment

Filed under China & East Asia, Fall 2012, Governance Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy