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Posted on: January 22, 2019

Foreign Policy Discussions

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Join a group discussion at lunchtime (12:00 p.m.) or in the evening (6:00 p.m.). Come to the entire series or just drop in for single topics of interest. Each week we watch a 25-minute video to get up to speed on the topic before we jump in to the discussion. No registration required. Request a PDF of a briefing article by emailing All articles are also available at the evening programs. Plus, online resources available by clicking “more” under topics below. Presented with Great Decisions, America’s largest discussion program on world affairs.

Upcoming topics

The Rise of Populism in Europe


Mass migration, and the problems associated with it, have directly abetted the rise of populist parties in Europe. Opposition to immigration was the prime driver of support for Brexit, it brought a far-right party to the German Bundestag for the first time since the 1950s, and propelled Marine Le Pen to win a third of the vote in the French presidential election. In addition to calling for stronger borders, however, these parties are invariably illiberal, anti-American, anti-NATO and pro-Kremlin, making their rise a matter of serious concern for the national security interests of the United States.

Decoding U.S.-China Trade


Though arguably the most advanced economy in the world, the United States still uses centuries-old numbers to measure trade.  These antique numbers mangle understanding of the U.S.-China trade relationship, shrinking America’s true economic size and competitiveness, while swelling China’s.  Bad numbers give rise to bad policies that ultimately kill U.S. jobs and cede market share to China.  What other tools can the United States employ to counter China’s unfair trade practices?  There are several available, yet they remain mostly unused.

Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics


Cyber conflict is a new and continually developing threat, which can include foreign interference in elections, industrial sabotage and attacks on infrastructure. Russia has been accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential elections in the United States and China is highly committed to using cyberspace as a tool of national policy. Dealing with cyber conflict will require new ways of looking at 21st century warfare. Is the United States prepared to respond to such threats?

The United States and Mexico: Partnership Tested


The United States and Mexico have a long, intertwined history, with both countries prominently featured in each other’s politics and agendas. The war on drugs, immigration and trade issues have taxed the relationship over the years. What impact will new leadership in both countries have on this crucial partnership?

State of the State Department and Diplomacy


During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Many positions in the State Department have never been filled, and meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now, and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries?

Alta Foreign Policy Discussions

Wednesdays, JAN 30-MAR 27.

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