This course is offered online via the easy-to-use Zoom program.
Each week we will explore the 2021 Great Decisions curriculum that allows for an in-depth examination and discussion of current international challenges through the lens of national interests. Topics will include:
March 26th: The World Health Organization's Response to Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust the World Health Organization (WHO) into the limelight, for better and for worse. While some of the Trump administration’s criticism of the organization is unfair, the response to the early stages of the pandemic left many experts wanting more from the WHO. What is the WHO’s role in responding to international pandemics? What can be done to improve the WHO’s response to future global health crises?
April 2nd: The Future Of Persian Gulf Security
The Persian Gulf remains tense as the rivalry between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran continues. Tensions escalated in early 2020 as the United States began to intervene in the Gulf, launching an airstrike that killed two Iranian military commanders. What are the historical influences that have led to these tensions? What role, if any, should the United States play? Is using military force a viable foreign policy option for 2021 and beyond?
April 9th: Global Supply Chains and U.S National Security
The shutdown of global supply
chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore an issue with the high
level of global economic interdependence: what happens when one country is the
main source for an item, say face masks, and then can no longer supply the
item? Countries suddenly unable to meet the demand for certain supplies are
faced with growing calls for economic nationalism. What are some of the lasting
effects that the pandemic could have on global supply chains and trade? How
would this affect national security?
April 16th:The Coldest War: Toward A Return To Great Power Competition In The Arctic?
U.S. President Donald Trump left many scratching their heads when it was rumored that he was looking to purchase the large island nation of Greenland from Denmark. While any potential deal seems highly unlikely, the event shows the changing opinion within the U.S. government toward engagement with the Arctic region. Because of climate change, large sheets of arctic ice are melting, exposing vast stores of natural gas and oil. With Russia and China already miles ahead with their Arctic strategies, can the U.S. catch up?
April 23rd: The Two Koreas
The Korean Peninsula is facing a defining era. Attempts by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump to repair the rift between North and South have lost any momentum as Pyongyang continues to test long-range missiles for its nuclear weapons program. As the rift between the U.S. and China grows further, South Korea may end up in the middle of the two superpowers. What does the future hold for the U.S. relationship with the ROK?
April 30th: The End of Globalization?
As the United States enters another election season, the merits and drawbacks of globalization are again being debated by the presidential candidates. With the passing of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s America First doctrine, protectionist policies have become more prevalent, challenging globalization. What is globalization and how will it be affected by protectionist trade policies? How will the United States and the world be affected by such policies? Is globalization really at an end, or in need of a refresh?
John Dickson served 26 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, with assignments in Nigeria, South Africa, Peru, Mexico and Canada as well as Washington, DC. He is active in local history projects in Pittsfield while continuing international work through two Peace Corps alumni organizations: Encore de la Paix and the Peace Corps Community for Refugees. He holds degrees in history from Princeton University and the University of Massachusetts.
Click here to support lifelong learning in the
OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 | firstname.lastname@example.org