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World Affairs Council of Hilton Head

Directory Listing

World Affairs Council of Hilton Head
P.O. Box 22523
Hilton Head Island, SC 29925
843-384-6758
Web | Email

Staff/Contact Information

Maureen Korzik, Executive Director, Email

John Gilbert, President, Email, 843-384-6758

Benjamin Kinnas, Program Committee, Email, 843-384-6758

Dr. Joan Apple Lemoine, WACA National Board Member and Immediate Past ED of WAC Hilton Head, Email, 843-422-1442

Laney Hall, Test, Email, 843-384-6758

Upcoming Events

October 2 | Ambassador Doug Lute

World order is never in stasis for too long. And indeed, we seem to be witnessing a historic shift now. The relatively stable decades after World War II saw gains for global democracies, rapid economic growth fueled by globalization, and the birth of the Internet. But they also saw the speeding of global warming, widening inequality, and the scourge of transnational terrorism. The institutions and agreements that have grounded the modern international order are showing signs of weakness, while illiberal sentiment gathers strength across the West. Nationalism is having a moment. Europe is having an identity crisis. And China is challenging the dominance of the United States. How did we get here? What’s next?

October 23 | Mathew Burrows

Recent years have seen the old Communist enemies grow closer five decades after Kissinger’s opening to China.  Are we back to a new Cold War with the US and the West facing a united Russo-China front?  Both Moscow and Beijing share a deep resentment against Washington, propounding an alternative vision of non-US-dominated world order.  But, in a switch, is Moscow willing to be the junior partner to China?  Or is a growing friendship a tactical move until Russian sanctions are dropped and China attains better terms with the US?  A real alliance or a marriage of convenience?

November 6 | Maud Olofsson

Words like cooperation, consensus, and compromise are keywords in our Nordic tradition. But also openness, social justice, equal rights and opportunities are core values for the whole society. These countries combine social safety and strong individualism at the same time. The private sector, the public sector, and NGOs have worked together on these values. 

This is interesting to look at in a political context where conflict and differences are the new mantras. Globally, it seems like it’s better to find ways to disagree rather to find common ground. It seems better to talk about what divides us rather than what’s bringing us together; it’s very much about right or wrong. Of course, these tendencies also reach the Nordic countries. The last financial crisis, globalization, digitalization, and also a big migration to Europe are challenging for the region. A lot of people feel that things are getting worse when facts show the opposite. 

So the question is: will it be possible for the Nordic countries to use their historically strong position of values and development to meet all these challenges? There’s a debate about if these common values of equal rights, free trade, and a market economy are right for the future. So, is it possible to meet these challenges with new answers, and who are the main actors?

November 20 | Richard MacGregor

Australia is traditionally one of America’s closest allies, but it also increasingly relies on China for trade. That makes it a test case for the abiding question of our time – whether the US-led alliances that have sustained the Indo-Pacific since World War II can survive the rise of China. Does Australia have to choose between its longstanding security ally and its new economic partner? And what does that mean for the future of the West?

December 4 | Alexandra Bell

No matter who will be sitting in the Oval Office on January 21, 2021, they will be confronted with multiple nuclear crises. They will have to make choices that will affect whether we are living in a world in which the number of nuclear weapons is going up or going down. These choices will be related to both internal and external policies. Should we use nuclear weapons first in a crisis? Do we need more than one person involved in the authorization of a nuclear strike? Is it is a good idea to invest in new low-yield nuclear capabilities? Should we reenter what's left of the Iran Deal? How do we make arms control agreements with Russia when the trust between our nations is broken? 

January 8 | David Eisenhower II, J.D.

A graduate of Amherst College and George Washington University Law School, Eisenhower served in the U.S. Navy and authored Eisenhower at War, 1943-1945, a New York Times bestseller and one of three history jury selections for the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1987. 

David Eisenhower is the director of the Institute for Public Service at the Annenberg School at the  University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Communication and the Presidency, which examines the impact of the "Bully Pulpit" on recent and contemporary national politics. He also oversees COMPS (Communication in Public Service) undergraduate students' course work and internships. The Institute also sponsors events and symposia and brings teaching fellows to the Annenberg School.

January 22 | Col. David Maxwell

What is the nature of the Kim Family Regime and why is it important to the United States? There are five major issues surrounding Korea: war, instability and regime collapse, human rights, proliferation, and global illicit activities, and unification. South Korea and the US remain blood allies but there is always friction within the alliance that must be managed. While North Korea is an existential threat to South Korea it is in the US national interest to prevent conflict and if it (or regime collapse) occurs to ensure that what follows is a secure, stable, economically vibrant, non-nuclear peninsula unified under a liberal constitutional form of government that might be called the United Republic of Korea. 

February 5 | Steve Olikara

The direction of American foreign policy will prove highly consequential to Millennials -- on issues ranging from climate change and war, to COVID-19 and humanitarian aid. More connected internationally than ever, Millennial leaders entering public leadership are poised to fundamentally reshape foreign policy on these issues, transforming old debates framed by traditional “hawk-dove” and Left-Right divisions. The generations that came of age during U.S. wars in the Middle East, a global economic recession, the largest climate protests in history, and major pandemics will push for bold action to protect the most vulnerable and a new era of global cooperation.

February 19 | Ambassador Joseph Yun

The two historic meetings between Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un alleviated tensions between the two nations who at one time seemed on the brink of a military encounter. But there is a “fundamental difference in understanding” between the two sides regarding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the major goal of the summits.

While Washington was only considering a peace treaty and loosening sanctions on Pyongyang after it had denuclearized, North Korea’s position was a phased approach in which it would receive concessions for every step taken toward denuclearization. That difference is a major reason for the current stalemate in negotiations.

This is a complicated game of diplomacy with both sides looking to make the next best move. Ambassador Yun will share his insights into North Korea and its short and long-term goals and discuss the prospect of Kim abandoning North Korea's nuclear weapons.

March 5 | Russel Hsiao

Madame Tsai Ing-wen won a second term in January 2020 to serve as the president of Taiwan for another four years. The first term of her presidency saw steady improvements in US-Taiwan relations and a deterioration in cross-Strait ties as Beijing ramped-up diplomatic, military, and economic pressure on Taipei to accept its terms for unification. As the power disparity between Taiwan and China widens, Taipei is becoming more susceptible to Chinese coercion and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping may become more emboldened to use military force. What are the implications for the Taiwan Strait over the next four years and beyond? 

March 19 | Michael Reynolds

Although usually described as an “Eastern European” or “Eurasian Power,” contemporary Russia in the past decade has emerged as a major actor in the Middle East. Moscow has demonstrated an unusual ability both to apply military force effectively and to practice diplomacy deftly, juggling and expanding ties not just with American adversaries like Syria and Iran, but also with American partners such as Israel, Turkey, and Egypt. Russia’s seeming success appears all the more remarkable given the routine dismissal of Russia by American observers as a declining power. What is the historical background of Russia as a Middle Eastern power? Is Russia’s success in the region real and what explains it? How sustainable is it? And what does Russia’s role in the Middle East mean for America?

April 9 | Richard Stengel

Disinformation is as old as humanity. When Satan told Eve nothing would happen if she bit the apple, that was disinformation. But the rise of social media has made disinformation even more pervasive and pernicious in our current era. In a disturbing turn of events, governments are increasingly using disinformation to create their own false narratives, and democracies are proving not to be very good at fighting it.

During the final three years of the Obama administration, Richard Stengel, the former editor of Time and an Under Secretary of State, was on the front lines of this new global information war. At the time, he was the single person in government tasked with unpacking, disproving, and combating both ISIS’s messaging and Russian disinformation. Then, in 2016, as the presidential election unfolded, Stengel watched as Donald Trump used disinformation himself, weaponizing the grievances of Americans who felt left out by modernism. In fact, Stengel quickly came to see how all three players had used the same playbook: ISIS sought to make Islam great again; Putin tried to make Russia great again; and we all know about Trump.

May 7 | Matthew Kroenig

The United States of America has been the most powerful country in the world for over seventy years, but recently the U.S. National Security Strategy declared that the return of great power competition with Russia and China is the greatest threat to U.S. national security. Further, many analysts predict that America's autocratic rivals will have at least some success in disrupting-and, in the longer term, possibly even displacing-U.S. global leadership.

Matthew Kroenig, author of The Return of Great Power Rivalry, will discuss how this conventional wisdom is wrong. Drawing on an extraordinary range of historical evidence and the works of figures like Herodotus, Machiavelli, and Montesquieu and combining it with cutting-edge social science research, Matthew Kroenig advances the riveting argument that democracies tend to excel in great power rivalries. He contends that democracies have unique economic, diplomatic, and military advantages in long-run geopolitical competitions. He considers autocratic advantages as well but shows that these are more than outweighed by their vulnerabilities. Kroenig then shows these arguments through the seven most important cases of democratic-versus-autocratic rivalries throughout history, from the ancient world to the Cold War. Finally, he analyzes the new era of great power rivalry among the United States, Russia, and China through the lens of the democratic advantage argument. By advancing a "hard-power" argument for democracy, Kroenig demonstrates that despite its many problems, the U.S. is better positioned to maintain a global leadership role than either Russia or China.

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