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May 12, 2019 Newsletter

May 12, 2019

A Message from the President of SDWAC

Dear SDWAC Members and Friends:

First of all I want to thank the more than a dozen members who responded to my appeal in the last newsletter for greater member participation and either put themselves forward for the board of directors or volunteered to serve on standing committees.  We will be a stronger council as a result of their commitment.  As noted previously, our June 22 annual meeting will elect new board members, and the newly constituted board will then choose officers from among its ranks.

We are coming off a pair of outstanding events featuring U.S. Government officials, each of whom, in their own way, is on the front lines of U.S. foreign and security policy.  On April 22 we hada standing-room only audience at National University's Sanford Auditorium for the U.S. Consul General, Sue Saarnio.  Ms. Saarnio addressed the delicate balance the U.S. has to strike between "security and prosperity" on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Pointing to large infrastructure projects either completed, underway or in the planning stages for improvements to border crossings at San Ysidro, Calexico-Mexicali and the Cross Border Xpress (to the Tijuana airport), she made the case that we can increase the ease with which people and cargo can cross the border while not relaxing security measures. The biggest challenge on the security front, Ms. Saarnio opined, is the lack of sufficient Border Patrol personnel; some are now frequently working 16-hour shifts and CBP is strained to its limits. 

On May 7 another good crowd gathered at the same venue to hear Captain Chris Cavanaugh, USN, Commodore of Submarine Squadron 11, which is based in Point Loma.  Capt. Cavanaugh is the first serving naval officer to speak to our Council in recent memory and, especially since the large Navy presence is one of our city's principal claims to international importance, he was welcomed warmly.  Beginning at the strategic level, Capt. Cavanaugh explained that, just within the span of his own career, the Navy has moved from a self-possessed assumption of maritime superiority to a sharply focused naval strategy aimed at coping witha resurgent Russian navy "with very capable technology platforms" and a China whose "naval capacity has grown exponentially."  Deftly moving to the operational level, he described the existing classes of U.S. submarines, including his own fast-attack subs, and their various missions.  Capt. Cavanaugh also detailed his role as commander of the multinational but ultimately unsuccessful 2018 rescue effort to find a lost Argentine submarine and lessons learned from that operation.  Both the Commodore and the Consul General did an excellent job of fielding their audiences' probing questions.

I'd like to draw your attention to a couple of upcoming SDWACactivities.  On Saturday May 25 the Council will be represented at the Harmony in Action Cross-Cultural Non-Profits Fair in Balboa Park's Patio B (next to the Casa del Prado Building).  We have done this several years running now, with a table staffed by board members and volunteers, and it is always an enjoyable way to spread the word about SDWAC and meet representatives of counterpart organizations operating in the international space in San Diego. There likely will be some entertainment as well (last year's fair featured a Chinese dragon dance, with drumming and colorful costumes). 

Finally, our next scheduled event, Saturday June 22 noon-2:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on Fourth Ave. and Date St. on Bankers Hill, will not be merely a business meeting - far from it.  We will have a locally renowned speaker, KPBS-TV journalist Jean Guerrero, who will discuss her experiences on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border as related in her 2018 best-selling book,Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir. Be sure to bring your appetite. Our lunch will be catered by Sayulitas Mexican Food, which will serve all-you-can-eat tacos with a variety of meat and meatless fillings, plus rice, beans and guacamole.  Details on registration, directions, parking, etc. will follow.

-- John Schlosser

Save the Date 

Saturday, June 22, noon-2:00 p.m.

SDWAC Annual Luncheon

featuring keynote speaker

KPBS-TV journalist Jean Guerrero




Jean Guerrero, a native of San Diego, is the author of Crux: A Cross Border Memoir (One World/Random House, 2018), winner of the PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize.  An Emmy-winning investigative reporter for KPBS in San Diego, Ms. Guerrero concentrates on border issues and contributes to NPR, PBS and other public media.  Her "America's Wall" series focuses on the bipartisan nature of U.S.-Mexico border issues.  She started her career at the Wall Street Journal and DowJones Newswires as a correspondent in Mexico City, reporting from the field on narcotics trafficking, coffee smuggling, agricultural challenges and other issues throughout Latin America.  She was named "Latina Journalist on the Rise" by the California Chicano News Media Association and one of San Diego's "Best People" by City Beat.  She is Vice President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists for the San Diego-Tijuana region. 

A brief business meeting, to which all SDWAC members are invited, will precede Ms. Guerrero's presentation.


The complicated world we live in is illuminated a bit more every week at the North County Chapter’s Thursday Morning Forum in Rancho Bernardo. Unless otherwise indicated, the Thursday Morning Forum begins with a coffee social and registration at 9:30 a.m., followed at 10 a.m. with a one-hour program and one hour of polite, but freewheeling, Q&A.

Thursday Morning Forums are typically held at The Remington Club, Phase II, 16916 Hierba Drive, Rancho Bernardo. Free parking is available at the adjacent shopping area.

Upcoming Programs for May 2019

MAY 16Our guest, Don Christian will give a talk entitled “Making Electric Cars in China and Racing on China’s Silk Road”, discussing the US EV startup, Coda Automotive, that manufactured electric cars in a state-owned auto assembly plant in China, his experience as Engineering Director at Coda, managing the gap between communist and capitalist employees, and his participation as an EV driver in anaround-the-world electric vehicle rally, driving the length of China’s legendary Silk Road, from the Pacific  across Central Asia to Europe. Don is currently CEO of Silicon Valley EV startup, and holds an MSEE from Southern Methodist University, BS in Computer Science from Ohio State Univ. Please contact Bob Meyer if you would like to attend the Round Table Lunch,

MAY 23:  Dr. Patrick Drinan, Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus at USD, will discuss "The Status of Socialism in the Contemporary World", describing how the collapse of the Soviet Union was widely expected to be followed by the implosion of socialism internationally but its adaptability, while uneven, has shown resilience in unexpected places.  The evolution of socialism as an ideology will be reviewed and its implications addressed. Dr. Drinan taught at USD for 30 years; he has a Ph.D. in Government and a MA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia; he served two terms as President of SDWAC. This meeting will be continuous until 11.30 AM, followed by a Board Meeting.

MAY 30Our guest, Professor Michael D. Ramsey (J.D.), will present “The Constitution, Separation of Powers, National Sovereignty, and International Institutions: Who Controls U. S. Foreign Policy? “. He is the Director, International & Comparative Law Programs and the Hugh & Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, School of Law.  Agraduate of Stanford Law School, he was a law clerk at the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit  and at the U. S. Supreme Court.  He practiced international business law with Latham & Watkins, taught comparative law at the Sorbonne, Paris, lectured at Kuwait International Law School, and authored, The Constitution's Text in Foreign Affairs (Harvard Univ. Press).  He will explore how our Constitution describes control over U.S. foreign policy and how our Constitutional governance actually affects foreign policy practice.  

For reservations to the limited seating Round-Table Lunch after the meeting, please contact Tom Reeve



Upcoming events of the San Diego World Affairs Council and our North County Chapter can be seen on and 

May  8, 2019

Weekly World News Update

South Africa Votes Today; Spotlight on Turkey; Middle East on the Brink of War?; Should the U.S. Risk a Proxy War in Venezuela?; Great Power Rivalry; May Fourth Movement 100 Years On; Ukraine's Zelensky and Russia; and America's Arctic Policy

Quote of the Week

"What we are saying is that never, never, and never again, must South Africa go through what we have gone through where there is sleaze, where there is malfeasance, and where there is rampant corruption ... We have made mistakes but we have been sorry about those mistakes and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us."

-- President Cyril Ramaphosa, in remarks after casting his vote during the May 8 South African election, as quoted in The Sunday Times (South Africa).

South Africa Votes Today

South Africa’s Youth Missing on Election Day” -- The South African, May 8, 2019

'They Were Useless’: What About South Africa’s Forgotten Rural Voters?” Martin Plaut -- African Arguments, May 6, 2019

How Far Can Populism Go in South Africa?” Erin Conway-Smith -- Foreign Affairs, May 7, 2019

In South Africa Election, Ramaphosa Faces Verdict from Disillusioned Voters” Norimitsu Onishi -- New York Times, May 8, 2019

Who Owns South Africa” Ariel Levy -- The New Yorker, May 6, 2019

Spotlight on Turkey

"International Outcry Over Istanbul Election Re-Run” -- BBC, May 7, 2019

Officials Scrub Out Erdogan’s Istanbul Defeat. Is Turkey Now a “Plain Dictatorship” -- Bne IntelliNews, May 6, 2019

Why Turkey and America Cannot Compromise in Syria” Aaron Stein/FPRI -- Eurasia Review, May 4, 2019

Can Turkey Double Down in Libya Game?” Fehim Tastekin -- Al-Monitor, May 3, 2019

Violence in the Middle East: On the Brink of War?

U.S. - Iran, Israel - Gaza Turn Mideast Into a Danger Zone Again” Simon Henderson -- The Hill, May 6, 2019

"Iran Scraps 'Some Commitments' To Nuclear Deal" -- Deutsch Welle, May 8, 2019

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Becoming Dangerous” Colin Kahl -- Foreign Policy, May 7, 2019

Netanyahu Vows To Keep Iran From Nukes After Tehran Backs Away from Deal” -- Times of Israel, May 8, 2019

A Shaky Truce in Gaza” Shalom Lipner -- Atlantic Council, May 6, 2019

Should the U.S. Risk A Proxy War in Venezuela?

To Help Venezuela, America Must Help Herself First” Clay R. Fuller -- American Enterprise Institute, May 6, 2019

Should America Go to War in Venezuela? Let’s Study that Time America Invaded Cuba” Daniel. L. Davis -- National Interest, May 4, 2019

Why Is Russia Clashing With the United States Over Venezuela?” Emily Tamkin -- Washington Post, May 2, 2019

Great Power Rivalry

The Growing Russian Challenge and What Should Be Done About It” Ashish Kumar Sen -- Atlantic Council, May 3, 2019

Inside China and Russia’s Shadow War Against America” Tom Rogan -- Washington Examiner, May 5, 2019

How To Win America’s Next War” Eldridge Colby -- Foreign Policy, May 5, 2019

May Fourth Movement 100 Years On

China’s Path Not Taken” Ian Buruma -- Project Syndicate, May 6, 2019

XI Jinping Tries to Crash the May Fourth Movement’s Centenary” Jiayang Fan -- The New Yorker, May 4, 2019


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Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)

PO Box 34010

San Diego, CA 92163


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