The Passport for February 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.

Upcoming Luncheon Meeting

Challenges to South Africa’s Democracy

Speaker: E. Philip Morgan, Emeritus Professor

Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS)


After a short honeymoon, the promise of President Nelson Mandela’s 1990s legacy has suffered many slings and arrows in the intervening twenty years. The remarkably peaceful transition from the minority rule of the apartheid state to open, universal suffrage, competitive elections, and guaranteed human rights was seen as a great achievement the world over and a beacon to the rest of the African continent. However, a combination of global and internal forces challenged the new, liberal government almost immediately upon ratification of a new constitution in 1996.

The ruling African National Congress party has maintained its collective participatory decision making at many levels. It still has legitimacy as the party that delivered majority rule and discouraged ethnic factions from be-coming breakaway parties. But the increasing incidences of unaddressed corruption have been undermining these virtues in recent years. These events have affected confidence in the national economy; growth is barely discernible. The judicial system is robust to this day, but if criminal behavior on the part of people in high places is not prosecuted, the public sees impunity. When this gap is filled it is usually by the media. South Africa has a free press but has been threatened in recent years by the cur-rent government. So the question Professor Morgan will attempt to answer is: “Will South African leadership meet the challenges to democracy?” This is a transition year, national elections occur in 2019.

Professor Morgan is the former Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy Studies at MIIS. While a professor of politics, public administration and development throughout his career, he has also worked with The World Bank, USAID, and UNDP on diagnostic studies, technical assistance and training. He has lived and worked extensively in both the French and English-speaking countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, with a long-term commitment to the countries of Southern Africa. Philip Morgan earned his PhD. in Political Science at Syracuse University.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018
11:30 am: Registration begins
11:50 am: Luncheon
1:00 – 2:00 pm: Program


Rancho Canada, Carmel Valley Road

Luncheon Menu
  • Caesar Salad
  • Oven Roasted Salmon with Béarnaise Sauce
  • Rice and Vegetables
  • Fresh Rolls and Butter
  • Chef’s Choice Dessert
  • (Vegetarian option: Pasta Primavera tossed in pesto olive oil with parmesan cheese)

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

Special Notice
Luncheon Price Increase
Starting This Month

Due to rising labor and food costs, the price of our luncheons at Rancho
Canada increased to $29 for members and stays at $35 for guests.

This is the first increase in many years.

The new payment deadline is 7 days in advance.

December Program Report

Meteorology, Oceanography and National Security

Speaker: Dr. Jim Hansen

The World Affairs Council was pleased to host Dr. Jim Hansen, head of the Naval Research Lab (NRL) in Monterey, during our December luncheon. Dr. Hansen spoke on what the NRL and the co-located Fleet Numerical Center do with regard to “Meteorology, Oceanography and National Security.” In a nutshell, Fleet Numerical is in charge of daily forecasting for the US Navy world-wide, while the NRL is the Navy’s “corporate laboratory” concentrating on big picture basic research.

As an example, a warmer future includes numerous outcomes, including more cyclones, so how might the Navy respond? What types of ships and equipment would likely be needed given those changed conditions in the decades ahead?

Dr. Hansen gave numerous examples of the types of problems that researchers at the NRL deal with, including: emergent large dust storms bearing down on the fleet, night time ice flows that can seriously harm ships if not accounted for, tropical cyclones that strike at night and are thus not visible, pirate risk analysis, major drug running patterns and interdiction that the Navy is called on to deal with, and even the proper spacing of submarines for maximum effect and minimum accidents.

Hansen concluded that “science is easy, people are hard.” That is, the NRL’s major task is to make science user friendly, particularly when it comes to uncertainty. There are lots of captains and admirals who have done things a certain way for years and need to be convinced that the NRL’s science often shows a better path forward to solving fleet problems.

by Glenn E. Robinson