A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

August 19: India v. Pakistan

No, we’re not going to discuss cricket (much—although the current Pakistani PM is a cricket hero). We’re going to discuss the relationship between India and Pakistan.

Both countries possess “nukes,” and have historically fraught relations exacerbated by religious differences, the disputed territory of Kashmir, and India’s seemingly well-supported claim that terrorist groups targeting India are based in Pakistani territory (remember a few months ago, when India’s military executed operations in Pakistani territory?).

So they have attracted outsized attention and concern for decades.

  • Will the current disputes be resolved peacefully, or will they accelerate in the “wrong” direction?
  • What should U.S. policy be toward these countries and their various disputes?
  • What other countries have interests in this dispute, and what should their role (if any) be?

I hope some other prospective attendees will come up with some good (but digestible) reading references, but here are three to whet your appetite:

And, of course, you can search Wikipedia for other, background information.

August 12: Racism & Labels

A few weeks ago, there was an “inside baseball” media kerfluffle about whether whether journalists should characterize some Trump tweets as 1) “comments that some considered racist,” 2) “racist comments,” or 3) comments by a racist President.

This week, we’ll discuss the use of such labels—and whether they advance or inhibit dialogue and understanding.

Here’s a Washington Post op-ed to get us started.

August 5: Talkin’ Turkey

Turkey is moving forward with a purchase of Russian SAM batteries, despite warnings from the U.S. and NATO that the integration of Russian defense technology is not consistent with NATO’s security requirements.

We’ll discuss:

  • How did we get here? Is this mostly due to President Erdogan, or is it evidence of a longer-term megatrend that may be more difficult to reverse?
  • What would be the implications of lesser Turkish involvement in NATO (either by the Turkish government’s choice or NATOs)?
  • How important is Turkey to the NATO “European shield”?
  • What should be done (if anything)…
    • By the U.S.?
    • By other NATO allies (or NATO in its own right)?

I hope we’ll be joined by Bob Sargent, who has some experience with Turkey. All depends on Bob’s availability and Mike Wolf’s ability to get the “Owl.”

Here’s an opinion piece from the Ellsworth American to get you thinking…but feel free to Google and add more sources in the comments.

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