PS21 update week ending March 18

Greetings from Washington DC. Some great events coming up in the next couple of weeks in all three cities, starting with a really great discussion in New York next week on the geopolitical implications of the energy price crash. The following week, we will be looking at think tanks on think tanks in Washington DC and the managing of strategic shocks in London.

We had a truly fantastic discussion on Tuesday on The interplay of foreign and domestic politics in the US election. Huge thanks to Nikolas Gvosdev, Asha Castleberry, Alex Ward and Julia Clark For one of the most stimulating discussions so far. Multiple takeaways, particularly on the looming growth of isolationism, the jockeying for jobs within future administrations and the very considerable challenges whoever does win will face.

Came away with the very strong feeling that whoever wins in November, we are coming to the end of an era in American politics and foreign policy. There is much less appetite for engagement in the outside world, particularly military engagement that goes beyond air strikes and special forces raids. Donald Trump exemplifies that and even if he does not win, the candidates that follow him may well espouse a similar philosophy.

You can watch the video of the discussion here. Also worth reading Nick Gvosdev in the National Interest please piece on the collapse of the conventional narratives in US foreign policy, in which engagement and global trade in the world were seen making America both richer and safer. Both of those ideas on out being significantly challenged.

This week’s Imagining 2030 piece takes a similarly.view, with Alex Sanchez imagining a dystopian future for policing in Peru. Definitely worth a read.

My weekly column for Reuters, meanwhile, looks at Brexit. Things are going badly in Europe, I argue — but Britain should still stay in for now, in part because it shouldn’t want to make things worse by further trashing the already struggling institutions which have helped keep Europe’s stable since the second world war. Plenty of ways you can disagree with my thesis from all angles, though. You can read the story here.

Finally, huge congratulations to PS21 trustee and member of the board Katherine Maher who was  announced earlier this week as the new interim executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the operators of Wikipedia.



Geopolitical implications of the energy/commodities price crash


Wednesday, March 23, 6 PM, 708 3rd Ave., New York

PS21 and Women In  International Security bring together a panel to discuss the geopolitical implications off the recent crash in global commodity and energy prices. Who are the winners and losers, what are the broader implications And what might this mean for the United States?

Christina Madden [moderator] — Executive Director, Women In International Security, New York

Carolyn Kissane — Professor, School of Global Affairs, New York University

Simon Coote — Head of Advisory, Oxford Analytica

Sign up here


Think tanks, what are they really for?

Monday, March 28, 6 PM. Washington DC location tbc

Washington DC is to think tanks while Detroit once was to the global auto industry. But what do these institutions really bring to the table? Are they best thought of as academic institutions like universities, simple generators for policy or a storage center for those temporarily outside government.  How useful are they to policymakers, journalists and others? What kind of people do they attract — and who do they marginalize or do without? Do they operate differently in other countries or even cities? PS21 and a great panel of think tank types will be getting more even more introspective than usual…
Negar Razavi [moderator] — Anthropologist, University of Pennsylvania. PS21 global fellow
Andrew Selee — Executive Vice President, Woodrow Wilson Center
Peter Apps — Global Affairs Columnist, Reuters. Executive Director, PS21
Maria Stephan — Senior Policy Fellow, United States Institute for Peace. Former US State Department official

Sign up here


Managing Strategic Shocks

Thursday, March 31. Kings College London

This year marks the 15th anniversary off 9/11 and the 75th of Pearl Harbor. PS 21 examines how major shocks such as these —  also including natural disasters such as Fukushima –can be managed by both government and others. How do they change our actions, how do they shift public opinion? PS21 will host another world class panel, while introducing two new Global Fellows.
Tom Bruxner [moderator] – former British Army officer

Group Captain Ian Shields – former RAF officer with experience in Afghanistan, currently teaching at Anglia Ruskin University

Frederic Ischebeck-Baum — former UNODC Counter-Piracy Advisor, Fellow of the Cambridge Security Initiative

John Bassett– former GCHQ official and head of London and Washington stations

This is a joint event between the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War at King’s College London and PS21.

Guests can arrive from 5.30pm and the discussion starts at 6.00pm.

Sign up here


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