Diplomacy and International Relations

Diplomats, heads of state, and foreign policy analysts discuss the changing international relations landscape, including US foreign policy, emerging world powers, and international conflict and cooperation.

Tuesday, February 19, 6:30–7:45 p.m.

The US and Russia are revisiting some of the flashpoints of the old US-Soviet rivalry—influence over the direction of Europe, security in the Middle East—and antagonizing each other in Ukraine and Georgia, creating a new conflict corridor in Russia’s own backyard. What do these new/old disagreements tell us about the players? And what do they and the many other points of contention between the two tell us about the global setting nearly 30 years since the disappearance of the Soviet Union?

Veterans of the “old” Cold War will have a wide-ranging conversation about the key factors driving Russia’s new foreign policy activism, including how much of it is ascribable to an aggressive Vladimir Putin and to what extent, if any, the Russian president’s external policies tells us something about his broader personal agenda. They also will attempt to backtest this apparently personality-driven strategy against traditional Russian national interests.

Discussants: Peter Clement, Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Professor, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs; Richard Levitt, Adjunct Assistant Professor, NYUSPS Center for Global Affairs.

Monday, March 11, 6:30–7:45 p.m.

Moderator: Judith Siegel, former Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State

Friday, March 29, 6:00–7:30 p.m.

Conflict in the South China Sea has become one of the most significant geopolitical concerns of the 21 century. It is estimated that $5.3 trillion worth of goods moves through the South China Sea annually, 1.2 trillion of which is with the US. Around forty percent of global liquefied natural gas trade moves through the South China Sea. Any military conflict there would cripple critical global supply chains. In recent years, China has undertaken efforts to reclaim thousands of square feet in the South China Sea. Its construction of artificial islands and infrastructure such as runways, support buildings, loading piers, and possible satellite communication antennas has prompted its neighbors and the US to question China's motives. The US Navy sends ships into the South China Sea to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese, and some Southeast Asian navies operate. The slightest miscalculation could have dire consequences not just for Sino-US relations but also have implications for the region.

Can there be a “win-win” situation in the South China Sea? What are China’s ultimate objectives? What should the US’s strategic goals be? How should the US and other countries within the region avoid conflict and instead foster a greater sense of trust and enhance cooperation in the South China Sea?

Moderator: Earl Carr, Adjunct Instructor, NYUSPS Center for Global Affairs; Managing Director, Momentum Advisors

Panelists: Kimball Chen, Chairman, The Global LPG Partnership; Chairman, Energy Transportation Group, Inc.

Rorry Daniels, Deputy Project Director, Forum on Asia-Pacifc Security, National Committee on American Foreign Policy

Brigadier General S. Clinton Hinote, Deputy Director, Air Force Warfghting Integration Capability Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements, Headquarters US Air Force

Li Qingsi, Professor for International Relations, School of International Studies, Renmin University

Monday, April 1, 6:30–7:45 p.m.

The Trump administration has made it clear that great power confict is back. From the 2017 National Security Strategy to Vice President Pence’s recent speech on China, it is evident that, at least from the US perspective, the security focus should be on a resurgent Russia and a rising China as a frst priority. Interstate confict, potentially between nuclear-armed great powers, appears to be back on the agenda.

States—large and small—have long realized that information and infuence is a key component of national advantage, alongside diplomatic, military, and economic power. Therefore it should come as no surprise to see states active in the cyber world, both defensively and—increasingly—in an offensive role.

How these trends play out in the near future is a major concern. Will cyber serve as an arena for low-level competition, characterized by dirty tricks—a virtual nuisance and nothing more? Or will it be used as another weapon in an overall campaign of interstate competition or perhaps as a prelude to conflict? Does its real value lie in its ability to spread mis-and dis-information in our societies, exploiting and exacerbating the fault lines inside Western states and across our international alliances and institutions?

Join CGA to explore whether the future consists of one or all of these possibilities, and what their impact might be on global conflict.

Wednesday, April 10, 6:30–7:45 p.m.

The Trump administration’s approach to nuclear non-proliferation is exceptionally unorthodox. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program has, by all accounts, succeeded in stopping its relentless march towards weaponization. Yet the Trump administration has rejected the agreement and pulled out of it. In contrast, the unprecedented summit meeting in Singapore between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un, was high on optics and rhetoric but vague on specifcs, and there is little evidence that it has stopped North Korea’s program. Yet the Trump administration has proclaimed it to be a model approach to non proliferation.

Is there a rationale behind this unusual approach to Iran and North Korea? More importantly, is this approach likely to work? What role might the United Nations (UN) and related agencies play in this role? And what are the implications for global non-proliferation if it fails in its stated objective?

Moderator: Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, Clinical Associate Professor, NYUSPS Center for Global Afairs

Pre-registration is required for events and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for a complete list of CGA events.