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  • Author: Ruba Husari, Samantha Gross, Gerald Feierstein, Jean-Francois Seznec
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: One of President Biden's most ambitious campaign promises is centered around American energy policy. Biden has vowed to shift away from a traditional focus in oil toward investments in renewable energy sources. Meanwhile, the oil industry in the Middle East is already facing severe repercussions from the coronavirus pandemic. States like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon are struggling to replace oil revenue, cutting social benefits and worsening social unrest in the process. Oil has been the economic backbone on which the U.S. and nations in the Middle East have built diplomatic relationships and maintained mutual security interests. How will these crucial bonds be affected by a greener Biden presidency?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Oil, Pandemic, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, United States of America
  • Author: Edmund Fitton-Brown, Ken Dilanian, Nadwa Al-Dawsari, Jane Marriott, Aimen Dean
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were a dramatic wake up call to the United States and the wider world as to the threats posed by violent jihad. However, more than 20 years later, the challenges remain and efforts to combat the likes of al-Qaeda and ISIS have led to even greater levels of conflict and terrorism itself. With a view to hindsight and an eye focused forwards, this panel will seek to assess the lessons learned from the war on terror since 2001 from a range of international perspectives and to present alternative approaches to dealing with the challenges that prevail today.
  • Topic: Terrorism, History, Counter-terrorism, 9/11
  • Political Geography: Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Motaz Zahran, Joey Hood, Paul Salem, Gerald Feierstein, Mirette F. Mabrouk
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East has become a kaleidoscope of evolving relationships and developments. Following almost a decade of near chaos, Libya has just elected an interim government, paving the way for a new transition. Despite several new normalization treaties with Arab states, Israel remains deadlocked in perhaps the most urgent of its relationships with Arab states; that with Palestine. A decade of stressful and largely fruitless negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is threatening to become even more complicated by Ethiopia’s internal conflicts and the possibility of a civil war spilling over its borders, threatening a fragile transition in Sudan and possibility of stability in the Horn of Africa. Amid all these developments, relationships and alliances are being reformed and reevaluated. Where does Egypt stand on all of these issues? MEI held a private, on the record roundtable discussion with the Ambassador of Egypt to the United States Motaz Zahran and Acting Assistant Secretary of State Joey Hood. MEI President Paul Salem gave an introduction and Senior Vice President Amb Gerald Feierstein and Egypt Programme Director Mirette F Mabrouk moderated the discussion.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Regional Cooperation, Transition
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, North America, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Barbara F. Walter, Erica Chenoweth, Christian Davenport, Jesse Driscoll, Joe Young
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
  • Abstract: Why are Americans at such odds about what should be done about the novel coronavirus? Why have Americans become so polarized, even on issues related to our health? What is the source of polarization regarding the pandemic and, if a pandemic doesn't bring the American public together, what will?
  • Topic: Public Opinion, Domestic Policy, COVID-19, Polarization, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Abe Denmark
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This event was held on September 21, 2020 and featured Abe Denmark, Director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Senior Fellow at the Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States; and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. The event was moderated by Tom Christensen, Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University As the Indo-Pacific emerges as the world’s most strategically consequential region and competition with China intensifies, the United States must adapt its approach if it seeks to preserve its power and sustain regional stability and prosperity. Yet as China grows more powerful and aggressive and the United States appears increasingly unreliable, the Indo-Pacific has become riven with uncertainty. These dynamics threaten to undermine the region’s unprecedented peace and prosperity. U.S. Strategy in the Asian Century offers vital perspective on the future of power dynamics in the Indo-Pacific, focusing on the critical roles that American allies and partners can play. Abraham M. Denmark argues that these alliances and partnerships represent indispensable strategic assets for the United States. They will be necessary in any effort by Washington to compete with China, promote prosperity, and preserve a liberal order in the Indo-Pacific. Blending academic rigor and practical policy experience, Denmark analyzes the future of major-power competition in the region, with an eye toward American security interests. He details a pragmatic approach for the United States to harness the power of its allies and partners to ensure long-term regional stability and successfully navigate the complexities of the new era. This event was cosponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Partnerships, Alliance, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Bi-khim Hsiao
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: On October 6, 2020, newly appointed Representative of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the United States, Bi-khim Hsiao discussed the challenges and opportunities in US-Taiwan relations with Professor Tom Christensen. Representative Bi-khim Hsiao assumed her position as Taiwan’s Representative to the United States in July 2020, after serving as a Senior Adviser to the President at the National Security Council of Taiwan. Representative Hsiao previously served four terms in the Taiwan Legislature, representing overseas citizens for the first term, and then the constituents of Taipei City and Hualien County through different terms. For many years she was ranking member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and previously the chair of the USA Caucus in the Legislative Yuan. She began her political career serving as Director of the Democratic Progressive Party International Affairs Department. After Taiwan’s first democratic change of government in 2000, she became an Adviser in the Office of the President, and was international spokesperson for all DPP presidential elections between 2000 and 2012. Representative Hsiao has taken on numerous leadership roles in international organizations. She was the Chair of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), an organization representing Asian democratic political parties. Between 2005 and 2012, she was elected Vice President on the Bureau of Liberal International (LI), a London-based global political party organization. She is also a founding Board Member of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Born in Kobe, Japan, Representative Hsiao grew up in Tainan, a city in southern Taiwan. She has an MA in Political Science from Columbia University in New York and BA in East Asian Studies from Oberlin College, Ohio.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ronald Schramm
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Ronald Schramm, Visiting Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University Moderated by: Shang-Jin Wei, N. T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy and Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School Professor Jin Wei will interview Ron Schramm about new and important developments in China’s financial and economic system since the first edition of Schramm's textbook in 2015 (Routledge/Taylor&Francis): China Macro Finance: A US Perspective. Both new reforms and retrenchments in the Chinese economy will be discussed as well as the fraught economic relationship with the United States. Students and scholars of China will benefit by putting their own research in the context of how far China has come and where it is going in terms of economic and financial reform.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Economics, Reform, Finance, Business
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Noriyuki Shikata, Takako Hikotani, Gerald Curtis
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The Abe administration (2012-) and its diplomacy has been remarkably stable despite the geopolitical challenges and instability of its alliance partner, the United States. Is Japan going to stay its course, or are we going to witness major changes in the years ahead? How will Japan respond to recent developments, such as the Coronavirus outbreak? Noriyuki Shikata, Former Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Beijing, will discuss how he forecasts Japan’s diplomacy in 2030.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Thierry de Montbrial, Robin Niblett, Ed Feulner, Feng Zhu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Ifri’s Executive Chairman Thierry de Montbrial spoke at the 20th World Knowledge Forum in Seoul on September 25, 2019 with Robin Niblett, Chatham House's director, Ed Feulner, The Heritage Foundation's Founder and Former President and Feng Zhu, Director of the Institute of International Studies at Nanjing University about the major governance issues of our time. The global geopolitical situation is caught in a maelstrom. The conflict between the United States and China is getting worse and subsequent negative effects are rising. In Europe, Brexit is making the continent more divisive than harmonious. The instability in Middle East is not solved. In addition, the North Korea’s nuclear weapons are an endless source of problem that defies a quick solution, which made the politics surrounding the Korean Peninsula more complex. The problem is that the currently weak global governance may lead the global political landscape into a serious crisis. To give an answer to these problems, heads of top think tanks share their prospect and the future of the global governance, giving a guideline for each country to listen for a better direction.
  • Topic: Governance, Geopolitics, Think Tanks, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Middle East, North Korea, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Syed Mohammed Ali, Gerald Feierstein, Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, Marvin G. Weinbaum
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The relationship between Pakistan and the United States has never been easy or stable, and in recent years has come under increasing strain. Yet both countries have a vital stake in the maintenance of a working relationship. Several factors have complicated prospects for bilateral cooperation in the past, leading to a growing strategic divergence in how both countries view one another, and their interests vis-a-vis other regional players. Perhaps the biggest shortcoming in the Pakistan-US relationship has been that both sides have tried to address the issues between them without common frames of reference, resulting in differences of perceptions and policies. An expert group of academics, policy analysts, and retired government officials have recently convened at the Middle East institute to study the Pakistan-US relationship. The product of their discussions is a paper that explores a range of ideas and concrete proposals designed to move the relationship in a positive and stable direction. With support from the Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, and hosted by the Middle East Institute, we are pleased to invite you to this presentation by a team of former government officials and analysts, and other experts involved in this effort. This event will take place over a light lunch on March 3rd from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm at the Middle East Institute.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Przemysław Osiewicz, Alex Vatanka, Suzanne Kianpour
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The relationship between the European Union and the Middle East is facing a critical period of change, given the changing leadership in key European Union bodies, rising tensions with regard to Iran, and increasing confrontation between the United States and Iran. The Middle East Institute is pleased to invite you to a conversation with MEI scholar Przemysław Osiewicz, who will discuss his recently released paper series on the impact of leadership changes in key EU bodies such as the EU high representative for foreign and security policy, the European Commission, and the European Council on EU-MENA relations. He will be joined by MEI Senior Fellow Alex Vatanka and moderator Suzanne Kianpour to explore divergences between the United States and the EU approaches in their policies toward Iran, internal divisions within the EU on engagement with Iran, the role of economic factors, and the future of the JCPOA.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Politics, Geopolitics, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Selena Larson, James Shires, Thom Langford
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Although the cyber domain is an emerging field of conflict, it is no longer a new frontier – many battles in cyberspace have been fought and it is imperative they be understood to begin imagining how the future of warfare online may look. As the United States, the Middle East, and policy community globally begin to consider how a Biden administration will approach conflict and cyber conflict in the region, this panel is an opportunity to study the history of cyber warfare in the Middle East as context for the policy challenges that will arise in the next four years. This panel is sponsored by SentinelOne, a cybersecurity solution encompassing AI-powered prevention, detection, response and hunting in a single autonomous platform.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Conflict, Non-Traditional Threats, Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Mamuka Tsereteli, Margarita Assenova, Alex Vatanka, Rauf Mammadov
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has entered its fourth week. The scope of the war has not been limited to the boundaries of the combat zone, resulting in human loss and destruction of civil infrastructure. The region’s important network of energy infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines, are not immune to this latest round of fighting. The military confrontation is taking place in proximity to the critical energy infrastructure that connects the Caspian basin with the European markets. Can the fighting cause disruption to oil and gas flows to the West? What could potential disruption mean for global markets? Can the Southern Gas Corridor be prevented from being launched by the end of this year as had been planned? What are the interests of regional stakeholders such as Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Iran and others that are either energy exporters, consumers or transit nations for Caspian hydrocarbons. And finally, what are the interests of the United States in this conflict and its impact on the energy markets?
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Territorial Disputes, Infrastructure, Conflict, Exports
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Eurasia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, United States of America
  • Author: Khaled Elgindy, Martin Indyk, Nour Odeh, Shibley Telhami
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: As Americans head to the polls in November the results will have far reaching implications for Americans and the global community alike—perhaps none more so than Israelis and especially Palestinians. Insofar as Israelis and Palestinians are concerned, the differences between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden could not be more stark. While Trump has upended one sacred pillar of the peace process after another Biden has pledged to reverse the most destructive of these policies in the hope of salvaging what remains of a two-state solution and to restore U.S.-Palestinian relations, now at an all-time low. Even as the Trump administration has worked to preempt virtually all issues of concern to the Palestinians—from Jerusalem and refugees to the prospect of self-determination—Palestinians are themselves beset by a host of internal and external challenges. Internal political division, institutional paralysis, and a chronic economic crisis, have brought the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the verge of collapse and sapped its legitimacy. Meanwhile, the recent normalization deals between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, and the possibility further normalizations, have underscored the marginalization of the Palestinian cause, both in the region and in the global policy discussion. What is—or should be—the Palestinian national strategy in light of these unprecedented challenges? Can the PA survive another Trump term? Would an ostensible return to the status quo ante by a Biden administration be enough to save the two-state solution?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Elections, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Alex Vatanka, Hannah Kaviani, Behnam Ben Talebiu, Jon B. Alterman
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The looming arrival of the Joe Biden administration in January 2021 provides the leadership in Tehran with an opportunity to seek a qualitatively different relationship with the United States. President-elect Biden has already expressed a desire to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Trump administration abandoned in 2018. While Tehran awaits to see what, if any, conditions the Biden team has for the resumption of the diplomatic track and removal of US-led sanctions, a policy fight is already under way inside the Iranian state about the future of US-Iran relations. The American question in Tehran is not just a foreign policy file but ultimately linked to the question of whether the Islamic Republic opts to continue a revolutionary and militant foreign policy or settles for a path of de-escalation with Washington and other rivals. How much of this policy competition in Tehran will shape Washington’s next steps vis-à-vis Iran? To discuss these matters and other key challenges in the path of US-Iran relations in the coming Biden administration, we are delighted to host a panel of experts.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Khaled Elgindy, Sam Bahour, Tareq Baconi, Mustafa Barghouti, Noura Erakat
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Part 1 – Reviving Palestinian Political Life Former Vice President Joe Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump is likely to produce a major reset in American-Palestinian relations as well as in Washington’s role in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. No U.S. president had done more to isolate Palestinians and delegitimize Palestinian national aspirations than Trump. Meanwhile, Biden has pledged to reverse the most destructive aspects of Trump’s policies and restore U.S.-Palestinian relations in the hope of salvaging what remains of a two-state solution. Yet even as the Palestinians breathe a collective sigh of relief at Trump’s departure, the Palestinians’ internal house remains in a state of disarray and decline. The Palestinian national movement, now at one of the lowest points in its history, continues to be racked by political division, institutional stagnation, and a lack of strategic clarity.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Negotiation, Peace, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Douglas London, Chris Costa, Charles Lister, Karen Greenberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: After nearly two decades of the so-called War on Terror, the threats and challenges posed by terrorism to the United States and its allies have proliferated in number, grown in sophistication, and expanded geographically. While our terrorist enemies have proven resilient and adaptable, our strategy and tactics have remained largely unchanged. Although the U.S. mainland may be better protected from a 9/11-style attack, our interests overseas and the stability of regions like Africa and the Middle East have never been more challenged. As terrorism continues to evolve and the threats we face diversify, the time has come for a serious re-examination of American counterterrorism policy and the determination of more effective approaches to counter the threats of tomorrow. What lessons can we learn from the past two decades of countering terrorism? In what ways have our enemies adapted? How might we adapt to more effectively counter terrorism? Given domestic political constraints, what approaches are likely to be most realistic and effective?
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tarek Osman, Ariane Tabatabai, Morad Vaisibiame, Alex Vatanka
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The January assassination of Qassem Soleimani shocked the leadership in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had not expected the United States to escalate tensions between the two countries in such a manner. The assassination of Soleimani was an effort to change Tehran’s strategic calculations and policies for the Middle East. With continued sanctions imposed by the United States, regional tension, and the loss of a key decision maker, Iran is facing intensified challenges to achieve its goals at home and in the region. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to welcome a group of experts to assess Iranian policy towards the Arab world following the death of Soleimani and to discuss how Arab states are reacting to Iran’s actions. How has Iran’s strategy in the Arab world performed following Soleimani’s death? In what ways have proxy forces in the Middle East that operate under Tehran’s command been affected? Who is left to make key decisions about the Islamic Republic’s involvement in the Arab states, and are we faced with a weaker IRGC Quds force after Soleimani? Finally, what do Arabs think of Iranian policies aimed at them?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sanctions, Qassem Soleimani, Assassination, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), Regional Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, United States of America
  • Author: Marvin G. Weinbaum, Saad Mohseni, Anthony H. Cordesman, Muqaddesa Yourish, David Sedney, Ali Jalali
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The future of Afghanistan’s constitutionally liberal democratic system is very much at issue. On its survival rests the aspiration of the greatest number of its people, the deep investment of the international community in the country’s stability and wellbeing, and ultimately the security of the region and beyond. Negotiations are beginning in what is certain to be a lengthy process that may in the name of a compromise trade away social and economic gains realized over nearly two decades. Afghanistan has additionally to cope with the disengagement of foreign forces just at a time when their leverage militarily and diplomatically could be critical. In the absence of a verifiable ceasefire, the country confronts a prospect of exploding violence and possible descent into chaos. Can Afghanistan pull itself together to not only protect its achievements but to overcome past errors? Should Afghans and their international partners think about formulating a Plan B to save the republic while striving for true reconciliation with the insurgency? The Middle East Institute is pleased to host a panel of experts to discuss these questions and more.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political stability, Domestic politics, Violence
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States of America
  • Author: Stephen Walt, Bilal Y. Saab , Barry R. Posen
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Of all the internal obstacles and external challenges the United States is likely to face in its pursuit of its new foreign policy priority of great power competition, the Middle East might prove to be the biggest. If the region continues to command U.S. attention and resources, Washington will struggle in its efforts to effectively pivot and counter Chinese and Russian ambitions in Asia and Europe, respectively. How does or should the Middle East fit in America’s new grand strategy? Does the great power competition necessitate an entirely new U.S. approach toward the Middle East? Which U.S. approach best serves Washington’s new global plans? To answer these questions and many others, the Middle East Institute (MEI) is honored to host a conversation with Professor Barry Posen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor Stephen Walt from Harvard University.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Grand Strategy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Middle East, Asia, United States of America