Richard Weitz Talks US-China Relations

Vice President Joseph Biden delivers remarks at the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue Joint Opening Session in the Dean Acheson Auditorium at the US Departement of State in Washingon, D.C.

As the latest issue of the Pacific Forum’s Comparative Connections journal suggests, the success of the US’s realignment to Asia will certainly depend on its rapport with China. And yet, a lot has changed since Hillary Clinton’s article first popularized the ‘pivot to Asia’ idea. (See America’s Pacific Century.) That’s why Richard Weitz’s recent visit to the Center for Security Studies (CSS) was a fortuitous one. It provided us with the opportunity to ask him three questions about this major shift in US foreign policy.

Conflicts and Conflict Resolution in the Caucasus

President of the Republic of Armenia visiting troops in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Photo: Republic of Armenia/Wikimedia Commons

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, conflicts ranging from Chechnya’s fight for independence to the ‘frozen’ Nagorno-Karabakh dispute have attracted the attention of scholars to the Caucasus region. Indeed, Russia’s rekindled presence in the region, Georgia’s disputes with the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the latest status of Nagorno-Karabakh provided the basis for the latest “Evening Talk” staged by our parent organization, the Center for Security Studies. The event, which was entitled Conflicts and Conflict Resolution in the Caucasus, brought together different experts to discuss the future trajectory of security in the region. In the following podcast, Oxford University’s Professor Neil Macfarlane explains, among other things, why Georgia will not be reclaiming the breakaway republics any time soon, and lays out the prospects for improved dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

International Peacekeeping in Africa: Conference Roundup

Burundi peacekeepers preparing for the next rotation to Somalia. Photo: US Army Africa/flickr

On 23-24 November, colleagues from our parent organization, the Center for Security Studies (CSS), hosted a two-day conference entitled International Peacekeeping in Africa: Actors and Missions.  The event brought together an assortment of academics and practitioners to discuss a broader range of issues than the conference’s title suggests. And since the majority of the sessions were by-invitation only, today we would like to present a series of brief podcasts that summarize some of the research topics raised and discussed at the conference.

Andreas Falke on the 2012 US Presidential and Congressional Elections

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the first presidential debate. Photo: VOA/Wikimedia Commons

On 8 November, our parent organization – the Center for Security Studies – hosted a colloquium on the recently completed Presidential and Congressional elections in the United States. The guest speaker, Professor Andreas Falke, not only analyzed the election data for his audience, he also speculated on how the election’s outcomes might impact US domestic and foreign policies over the next four years, to include its influence on transatlantic relations.

Hosting Professor Falke also provided us with the opportunity to put some questions of our own to this keen observer of American politics. In the following podcast, we ask him whether he thought there was anything surprising about the election results, what the future holds for the US Republican Party, and what else we might expect from President Obama in his second term.

The CSS at IDRC Davos

Earthquake and Tsunami Japan
Earthquake and Tsunami Japan. Photo: CECAR – Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation R/flickr

Under the co-sponsorship and patronage our colleagues at the Center for Security Studies (CSS), the biennial International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC) is making a welcome return to Switzerland. IDRC Davos 2012 will take place from 26 August to 30 August and will bring together the world’s leading risk and disaster experts to discuss a multitude of resiliency-related problems confronting global society.

In particular, IDRC Davos 2012 will provide its participants with expert analyses and opinions from the public and private sectors, international organizations, individual researchers and other risk and disaster practitioners. Plenary sessions will cover a host of topics ranging from urban risks and resilience to risks confronting the agricultural sector. The conference will also host a number of parallel sessions, poster presentations and training courses. Exhibitors include the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection, the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) and the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Reduction (PEDDR).

The event organizers – the Global Risk Forum – expect to attract 1,000 participants from 100 countries. And as the CSS will have a presence at IDRC Davos 2012, we at the ISN thought this would be an ideal opportunity to report on the highlights of this conference and some of the issues shaping risk and disaster management. Accordingly, in early September we will be discussing some of the key findings from IDRC Davos 2012 with Timothy Prior, who is a Senior Researcher within the CSS’s Risk and Resilience Research Group.

For more information on IDRC Davos 2012 go here.

For more information on issues and events that shape our world please visit the ISN’s Security Watch and Editorial Plan.