Luncheon Meeting on May 17, 2018

Topic

Why Iran Remains a Challenge for U.S. Foreign Policy

Speaker

Professor Afshon Ostovar

Assistant Professor at Naval Postgraduate School

Overview

The United States and Iran have long had an adversarial relationship.  Many observers point to the U.S.’s long history of interventions into Iranian politics as the factor that has most shaped the modern relationship
between the two nations.  More recently, Iran’s expanding foothold across the Middle East has exacerbated U.S.-Iran relations. As of this writing, the most imminent threat emanates from Washington, where the Trump Administration is poised to retreat from the 2015 nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Afshon Ostovar, a popular professor of Middle East politics at the Naval Postgraduate School, will examine the dynamics of the U.S.-Iran relationship and the U.S.’s strategy to combat Iran’s regional influence and nuclear ambitions.

Dr. Ostovar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at NPS. His research and writing focus on conflict and security in the Middle East, with a special focus on Iran and the Persian Gulf. His most recent book, Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Oxford University Press, 2016) examines the rise of Iran’s most powerful armed force—the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC—and its role in power politics, regional conflicts, and political violence.

Dr. Ostovar earned his B.A., summa cum laude, in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan.

Agenda

Thursday, May 17, 2018
11:30 am: Registration
12:00: Luncheon
12:50: Program

Location

Rancho Canada
4860 Carmel Valley Road

Luncheon Menu

  • Asian Salad
  • Teriyaki Salmon
  • Roasted Red Potatoes and Vegetables
  • Chef’s Choice Dessert
  • Vegetarian Option: Vegetable Stir Fry
Luncheon Cost:
  • $29 for members
  • $35 for guests
  • Credit card charge: $2 each person
  • Lecture is open to the public at no charge, beginning at 12:50pm

Registration

To register by mail, fax, or phone click here to view or download the Luncheon Reservation form in PDF file format and follow the instructions.

 

Discussion Group on Monday May 14, 2018

To see a list of recent Discussion Group events, click here.

Free Trade: Boom, Bane, or Somewhere in Between

Free to the Public

The next MPC Discussion Group meeting will focus on Free Trade: Boom, Bane, or Somewhere in Between?  Participants will discuss the positives and negatives of free trade agreements, and where we are now in terms of international trade agreements and tariffs.

This timely discussion will be held on Monday, May 14 at 4:00 pm in the Social Science Building, Room 101, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont Street, Monterey, CA 93940.  Parking is available in Lot D for $3.00; parking permits are available for attendees.

Come join the discussion!

The Passport for May 2018

This is an online version of the monthly newsletter of the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area (WACMB). You may click here to see other online issues or click here to reach the archive of recent issues in PDF format.

Luncheon Meeting – Thursday, May 17, 2018

Topic

Why Iran Remains a Challenge for U.S. Foreign Policy

Speaker

Professor Afshon Ostovar

Assistant Professor at Naval Postgraduate School

Overview

The United States and Iran have long had an adversarial relationship.  Many observers point to the U.S.’s long history of interventions into Iranian politics as the factor that has most shaped the modern relationship
between the two nations.  More recently, Iran’s expanding foothold across the Middle East has exacerbated U.S.-Iran relations. As of this writing, the most imminent threat emanates from Washington, where the Trump Administration is poised to retreat from the 2015 nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Afshon Ostovar, a popular professor of Middle East politics at the Naval Postgraduate School, will examine the dynamics of the U.S.-Iran relationship and the U.S.’s strategy to combat Iran’s regional influence and nuclear ambitions.

Dr. Ostovar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at NPS. His research and writing focus on conflict and security in the Middle East, with a special focus on Iran and the Persian Gulf. His most recent book, Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Oxford University Press, 2016) examines the rise of Iran’s most powerful armed force—the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC—and its role in power politics, regional conflicts, and political violence.

Dr. Ostovar earned his B.A., summa cum laude, in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan.

Agenda

Thursday, May 17, 2018
11:30 am: Registration
12:00: Luncheon
12:50: Program

Location

Rancho Canada
4860 Carmel Valley Road

Luncheon Menu

  • Asian Salad
  • Teriyaki Salmon
  • Roasted Red Potatoes and Vegetables
  • Chef’s Choice Dessert
  • Vegetarian Option: Vegetable Stir Fry
Cost:
  • $29 for members
  • $35 for guests
  • Credit card charge: $2 each person

Click here to open or download the luncheon reservation form in PDF format.


March Program Report

Summary of “North Korea’s Weapons of Mass Destruction”

Speaker: Melissa Hanham, MIIS
Date: March 27, 2018

The World Affairs Council was treated to a real-life Sherlock Holmes detective story during our March luncheon. Melissa Hanham from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) spoke about North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and particularly about the missile program designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Melissa and her colleagues at MIIS have gained an international reputation for using publicly available tools to shed light on WMD programs in various countries around the world.

When it came to tracking down the building in which North Korea houses its large missiles, Melissa’s tools included Google Earth, architectural programs, a keen eye for details in pictures published by Pyongyang, and a robust knowledge of the history of North Korea’s actions on the WMD front, all mixed together with a dash of intuition and some advice from a trucker cousin. Using photographs of the new generation of missiles as they were carried on Chinese trucks, and knowing the measurements of those trucks, Melissa was able to carefully estimate the exact length of the missile, and thus know how tall a building would need to be to house such a missile if it were raised on the back of the launch truck. Based on these calculations and some other pictures, Melissa was able to (we know now) accurately determine the architectural design of the building that houses these missiles, including the use of casters (thanks to that trucker cousin) to maximize the storage capacity for the trucks and missiles within the building.

Sure enough, when a close inspection using Google Earth revealed just such a unique building in an area known for being a closed military zone, Melissa and her team at MIIS knew they had solved the mystery. That such a tightly held state secret could be revealed by researchers using only publicly available sources is remarkable, and a true testament to the power of the information revolution.

Melissa’s actions have earned the wrath of the North Korean regime, which routinely tries to hack into her accounts and others at MIIS. Sherlock Holmes would be proud!

Report by Glenn Robinson

For more information about Ms. Hanham’s work, click here to read the research paper that she co-wrote, and click here to see a related article published on BBC News.


Did You Know?

The World Affairs Councils of America (our umbrella organization) has a worldwide travel program.

Run by WAC of Philadelphia, the program offers a plethora of opportunities for you to travel to all the corners of the world, learn from experts, meet people who are making a difference in their communities, and see some truly amazing sights.

There are still some spaces available for trips in 2018, including to Ireland, the south of France, Botswana, and Cuba.  In addition, the 2019 schedule is up and offers some absolutely incredible tours.  Here’s just a taste: Antarctica, Hamilton’s Caribbean, southern Africa by rail, Mongolia during the Naadam Festival, Vietnam, Morocco, and a private jet tour that will take you to 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The world is waiting!  Want to learn more?  Visit the travel site at https://www.wacphila.org/travel/

Luncheon Meeting on April 20, 2018

Topic

A Global Water Crisis?
The Future of Water is Closer and Better Than You Think

Speaker

Dr. Jeff Langholz

Professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

 

 

 

 

Overview

Experts warn that in the 21st century, water shortages will become increasingly common across the world. Many believe water will become the oil of the 21st century, driving major geopolitical decisions and creating a dividing line between those who have it and those who don’t. Recent water shortages in California and beyond have highlighted our shaky relationship with the world’s most important resource.

Dr. Jeff Langholz, a natural resource policy and management expert at the Middlebury Institute, argues that the potential crisis has, in fact, spurred breakthrough innovations that make water more reliable, affordable, and ecological. In his presentation, he will explore exciting new pathways to a more sustainable approach to water.

Dr. Langholz is an award-winning teacher, researcher, and entrepreneur, with a passion for “triple bottom line” solutions to global challenges. A primary focus of his work has been sustainability of the world’s natural resources. For this, he has drawn on extensive professional experience with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and consultancies across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. His work has been covered by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Geographic, The Economist, and more than 250 other media outlets.

A former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and Fulbright Scholar in
South Africa, Dr. Langholz earned his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Policy and Management from Cornell University.

Agenda

  • 11:30 AM – Registration
  • 11:50 AM – Luncheon
  • 12:50 PM – Program

Location

Rancho Canada
4860 Carmel Valley Road

Registration

This event has ended.

Discussion Group on Monday April 9, 2018

To see a list of recent Discussion Group events, click here.

World Affairs Council Discussion Group

Free to the Public

The World Affairs Council Monterey Peninsula College Discussion Group meets each month to discuss a topical international issue. Meetings are held on the second Monday of every month from April through January. These meetings are free to the public.

The next MPC Discussion Group meeting will be held on Monday, April 9 at 4:00 pm in the Social Science Building, Room 101, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont Street, Monterey, CA 93940. Parking is available in Lot D for $3.00; parking permits are available for attendees.

Come join the discussion!

The Passport for April 2018

This is an online version of the monthly newsletter of the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area (WACMB). You may click here to see other online issues or click here to reach the archive of recent issues in PDF format.

Luncheon Meeting – Friday, April 20, 2018

Topic

A Global Water Crisis?  The Future of Water is Closer and Better Than You Think

Speaker

Dr. Jeff Langholz

Professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Overview

Experts warn that in the 21st century, water shortages will become increasingly common across the world. Many believe water will become the oil of the 21st century, driving major geopolitical decisions and creating a dividing line between those who have it and those who don’t. Recent water shortages in California and beyond have highlighted our shaky relationship with the world’s most important resource.

Dr. Jeff Langholz, a natural resource policy and management expert at the Middlebury Institute, argues that the potential crisis has, in fact, spurred breakthrough innovations that make water more reliable, affordable, and ecological. In his presentation, he will explore exciting new pathways to a more sustainable approach to water.

Dr. Langholz is an award-winning teacher, researcher, and entrepreneur, with a passion for “triple bottom line” solutions to global challenges. A primary focus of his work has been sustainability of the world’s natural resources. For this, he has drawn on extensive professional experience with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and consultancies across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. His work has been covered by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Geographic, The Economist, and more than 250 other media outlets.

A former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and Fulbright Scholar in
South Africa, Dr. Langholz earned his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Policy and Management from Cornell University.

Agenda

Friday, April 20, 2018
11:30 am: Registration begins
11:50 am: Luncheon
1:00 – 2:00 pm: Program

Location

Rancho Canada
4860 Carmel Valley Road

Luncheon Menu

  • Apple cider salad with
    grilled chicken pecans,
    dried cranberries,
    and bleu cheese crumbles
  • Fresh rolls and butter
  • Chef’s choice dessert
  • Vegetarian option: apple cider salad
Cost:
  • $29 for members
  • $35 for guests

Click here to open or download the luncheon reservation form in PDF format.


February Program Report

Summary of “Challenges to Democracy in South Africa”

Speaker: Professor E. Philip Morgan, MIIS
Date: February 27, 2018

South Africa is important as a bellwether of how African governments can maintain legitimacy as they deal with the challenges of population growth, climate change, economic development, and employment. Failure to do so has consequences beyond the African continent.

Over the 25 years of its dominance in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) party has lost much of its moral authority because of corruption and extreme inequality. Half of its population lives in poverty; unemployment is between 30% and 36%.

Previous ANC-led governments have tried a number of programs to improve the livelihood of the majority of black citizens, but they were often ineffective because of corruption at local levels. Popular dissatisfaction came to a head as the Public Protector (PP) disclosed evidence of then-President Jacob Zuma’s involvement in malfeasance and corruption. The PP is an independent body created by the constitution to protect South African democracy. It is vested with the authority to order other state institutions to take appropriate remedial action against any government impropriety. Two PP reports in particular have fueled public anger: one concerning the improper use of US$21.4 million in state funds to upgrade Zuma’s private home, and the other concerning “State Capture” by the Gupta brothers, immigrants from India who, with the collusion of Zuma, built a fortune in South Africa through the acquisition of media companies, leveraging influence via bribes of employees in state corporations, mines, and other businesses under contract to the government. They persuaded Zuma to sack the very competent Minister of Finance and replace him with an unqualified crony!

As a result, at the December 2017 ANC Party Conference, the delegates chose Cyril Ramaphosa as the party’s next presidential candidate. Although Zuma’s term did not end until the 2019 general election, he was pressured to resign early so as not to com-promise the ANC’s chances at the next election.

Ramaphosa’s reputation was tainted in 2012, when more than 30 striking mine-workers were killed at a site where he was a company board member. However, he is probably the best person to lead South Africa at this critical time. He is a genuine “hero of the anti-apartheid struggle.” In addition, he was Nelson Mandela’s Deputy President, a trade union leader, a corporate executive in mining and other conglomerates, and Zuma’s deputy. Thus, Cyril Ramaphosa is best positioned to promote economic development and restore integrity to the national leadership.

by Philip Morgan

Luncheon Meeting on March 27, 2018

Topic

North Korea’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

Speaker

Melissa Hanham

Senior Research Associate,
James Martin Center for
Nonproliferation Studies
,
Middlebury Institute of
International Studies at Monterey

 

 

 

Overview

Melissa Hanham is a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), as well as the Mixed-Methods, Evaluation, Training & Analysis (META) Lab. She studies East Asian security and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), with particular focus on North Korean WMD procurement and proliferation networks, and China’s nuclear posture. She also studies Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese nuclear exports, as well as East and Southeast Asian export control systems and proliferation finance activities.

Hanham supports MIIS’ research at both CNS and META Lab by investigating new techniques in open source geospatial analysis, incorporating satellite and aerial imagery and other remote sensing data, large data sets, social media, 3D modeling, and GIS mapping. She teaches “Geospatial Tools for Nonproliferation Analysis” at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and is a regular contributor to Arms Control Wonk.

Agenda

  • 11:30 am registration
  • noon luncheon
  • 1-2 pm program

Location

Rancho Canada
4860 Carmel Valley Road

Reservations

This event has ended.

 

WACMB Video Lecture

“The Global Rise of Populist Nationalism?”

Presented on July 14, 2017
by Prof. Francis Fukuyama

Click here to view the video.

Fukuyama is best known for the international sensation caused when he published his essay “The End of History?” in 1989, which later led to his 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. The book was published by Free Press and has appeared in over twenty foreign editions. He ignited a global debate with his revolutionary thesis, that the Cold War marked an endpoint of mankind’s ideological evolution. He felt that the universalization of Western liberal democracy would be the final form of human government. He later published Trust: Social Virtues and Creation of Prosperity in 1995, which modified his earlier thesis to include that culture cannot be fully separated from economics. Fukuyama has immense global recognition for his theories on democracy, development and economics.

Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), resident in FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Dr. Fukuyama has written widely on questions concerning democratization and international political economy. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution was published in 2002. His recent books are America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy, and Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap between Latin America and the United States. The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution was published in April 2011. Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Present Day was published in 2014.