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Great Decisions


Dates and Topics

The Great Decisions 2025 Program will begin on Thursday, February 6, 2025.  The 2025 presentations will all begin at 3:00 pm in the Auditorium with participation by Zoom being available.  The dates and subjects of these challenging programs are shown below:


February 6              American Foreign Policy at a Crossroads

February 13            US Changing Leadership of the World Economy

February 20            US - China Relations

February 27            International Cooperation on Climate Change

March 6                  The Future of NATO and European Security

March 13                AI and American National Security

March 20                India: Between China, the West, and the Global South

March 27                After Gaza: American Policy in the Middle East


As in the past, each presentation will begin with introductory comments by Barry Rascovar, followed by a topic-related video.   After the video there will be some additional comments by Barry and then the floor will be open for comments, questions, observations, and opinions moderated by Barry.  All are invited and encouraged to actively participate in the post-video discussion.  Questions?  Contact Michael Yaggy.

Information regarding the briefing books availability and price should be received this fall and will be circulated as soon as received.

Topic Summaries

 The topics are a very interesting and very timely collection.  Clearly each of the topics will be greatly affected by the Presidential and Congressional elections in November as well as other elections around the world that have recently occurred or will occur before the first session on February 6   


American foreign policy at a crossroads.

This session will explore the contours of the U.S. foreign policy debate as it is playing out in a world of multiple and escalating crises and domestic polarization.


U.S. changing leadership of the world economy.

Under President Biden the U.S. has advanced new ideas about trade technology industrial policy competition with China and the organization of the world economy. For most of the postwar era the U.S. has tied its global leadership to cooperative agendas aimed at creating a more open world trading system but that has apparently come to an end. What are America’s options and opportunities as a leader of the world economy? How will America’s “foreign policy for the middle class” and strategic competition with China impact its leadership role? How can the postwar rules and institutions of the world economy be made safe for economic nationalism and great power competition?


U.S.-China relations

Washington’s relations with Beijing have reached an ominous low ebb. Both American political parties have identified China as the country’s preeminent geopolitical challenger and in the eyes of manya systemic threat. What is driving this deterioration of Sino-American relations and what are America’s strategic options in the face of Chinese power and ambition?


International cooperation on climate change

The 2015 Paris Agreement established a UN-sponsored framework for negotiations on climate change and global warming. In subsequent COP meetings experts and political leaders have come together seeking common cause of this growing global crisis. What is the future of these efforts and what has it yielded? What is the U.S. role in fostering cooperation on climate change? In a divided country what is the range of possible futures for American policy leadership?


The future of NATO and European security

European security is more uncertain than it has been for decades. Putin’s Russia has launched a war with Ukraine on its doorstep and America’s uncertain role as leader of NATO and security provider has been called into question with the failure of Congress to pass supplemental military support for Ukraine. What are Europe’s options and how might developments on both sides of Western Europe – in Ukraine and across the Atlantic – impact its choices? What are America’s stakes in NATO and Europe’s strategic dilemmas?


AI and American National Security

The AI revolution is the leading edge of a larger high-tech revolution that promises to transform the world. Experts argue that international cooperation is needed to expand the opportunities that these new technologies hold while protecting societies from their dangers. What are the key policy debates in this area and what are the opportunities and limits on global AI rules of the road? How will the AI revolution impact American national security? What are its policy options to secure the benefits of AI and guide against its dangers?


India: between China, the West, and the Global South

India is an emerging major power in world affairs occupying a pivotal position between China, the United States, and the Global South. Its population size economy and geopolitical location ensure that it will be an influential voice in debates and political struggles over global order. What are India’s choices and opportunities for regional and global leadership? How will it maneuver between China and the United States and what is its role as a voice of the Global South? What opportunities exist for Washington to work with India?


 After Gaza: American policy in the Middle East

The war in Gaza has brought the region to a crossroads. What are the possible outcomes of the war and how might the United States use its influence to shape a long-term settlement that leaves both Israel and the Palestinians in a better position? How might Arab states in the wider region be brought into a settlement? What are America’s interests in the Middle East and how can it advance them?


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