October 28, 2017

October 28, 2017

A Message From the President of SDWAC

Dear SDWAC Members and Friends,

SDWAC is coming off what is probably the most resoundingly successful event we have mounted during my term as president.  Eighty-six people attended our October 19 panel discussion on NAFTA at the AMN Health Care Auditorium.  Feedback about the event was uniformly positive, with many attendees praising the high caliber of our panelists: Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico 1998-2002; Dennis Arriola, Executive Vice President of Sempra Energy for Corporate Strategy and International Affairs; Gavin Nardocchio-Jones, Consul of Canada in Los Angeles; and Dr. Rafael Fernandez de Castro, the Director of UCSD's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies. Ambassador Davidow reflected that the current U.S. administration’s attitude toward Mexico, including its threats to walk away from NAFTA, constitutes a regression from 25 years of positive relations with our neighbor to the South, while Dr. Fernandez de Castro underlined the importance of NAFTA in reducing anti-Americanism and nationalism in Mexico.  Mr. Arriola, whose company is a major investor in Mexico, noted the practical benefits of the treaty to U.S.. business, particularly the energy sector, while Mr. Nardocchio-Jones reminded us what a major export market Canada is for the U.S., especially Canada.  SDWAC immediate past president David Edick, Jr., did a terrific job moderating a highly substantive dialogue.

I want to extend special thanks to our co-sponsors for this event, the Kroc School of Peace Studies at USD and the Institute of the Americas at UCSD for contributing to its success.  Dr. Everard Meade of the Kroc School’s Trans-Border Institute and Ambassador Jamal Khokhar, President and CEO of the Institute of the Americas, were on hand and made insightful opening remarks.  Both of these institutions have upcoming events that are deserving of our members’ support and we look forward to further productive collaboration with each of them.   Our thanks as always to AMN Healthcare for offering us such a lovely venue for our sessions.  

The Council’s momentum continues with a talk on “Russia: Preventing Peace on its Periphery” on Thursday, November 2, by Dr. James Coyle, director of global education at Chapman University in Orange County.  With Russia’s ongoing intervention in Ukraine posing what one of our recent speakers, senior German diplomat Thomas Matussek, labeled “the most serious crisis in Europe in decades,” the topic is both timely and relevant.  Dr. Coyle, who is a former State Department officer and was special adviser to the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, has a new book out entitled Russia’s Border Wars and Frozen Conflicts and will be autographing copies at the event.  I anticipate another solid turnout from our membership on November 2.

Finally, I’d like to recognize the contributions of two of our outstanding volunteers, the people who really make our organization go: (1) Anne Burke, who recently stepped down after a year as editor/proofreader of our newsletter and other announcements. The rigor and dedication that she brought to these tasks raised the level of the Council’s communications. Thanks, Anne. (2) Petya Dolaptchieva, whose organizational abilities and commitment, as applied to SDWAC’s programming, are formidable.  Petya continues to give us the benefit of her talents and experience after landing a full-time, demanding job. Congratulations, Petya, and thanks!

-- John Schlosser



Thursday, November 2, 2017

Russia: Preventing Peace on Its Periphery

A discussion and book signing featuring:

Dr. James J. Coyle

Russia has a long history of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, especially those on its periphery. Upon examination of Russia’s foreign affairs, a pattern emerges: Russia encourages separatist movements, often arming or fighting on their behalf. By continuing to perpetuate conflict in regions such as Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine, Russia has exerted its influence over regional diplomatic processes, asserting its dominance in their internal affairs, strengthening its own presence and power. Drawing on international law and nationalism, Professor James J. Coyle will examine why Russia seeks to prevent the resolution of conflict in these divided regions.

About our Speaker 

Dr. James J. Coyle is director of global education at Chapman University and a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council. Prior to joining Chapman University in 2004, Dr. Coyle was a foreign service officer for 24 years, with postings in Pakistan, Germany and Turkey. He was a special adviser to the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force and was director of Middle East Studies at the US Army War College. Dr. Coyle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a Master’s degree in public administration from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in political science from George Washington University.

Dr. Coyle will be signing his new book, Russia’s Border Wars and Frozen Conflictswhich examines the origins and execution of Russian military and political activities in Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

6:00 p.m-6:30 p.m. Registration & Reception

6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Presentation and Q&A

8:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Book signing


National University, Sanford Center Auditorium

11355 N. Torrey Pines Road

La Jolla, CA 92037

Register Here



November 28, 2017

San Diego World Affairs Council and the ISCOR Student Society at San Diego State University will host a special screening of the documentary at San Diego State University 

“America’s Diplomats”

Followed by a post-screening discussion with Former U.S. Diplomats John Schlosser, Amb. Leslie Basset (ret.) and Amb. Reno Harnish III (ret.). 

Meet Our Panelists 

John Schlosser is the President of SDWAC and a Senior Advisor of Albright Stonebridge Group. Prior to joining the firm, John was Director of the Office of Regional Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. Prior to that assignment, Mr. Schlosser was founding Director of the Department’s Office of Export Control Cooperation and Sanctions. Previously he served as Deputy Political Counselor and chief of the Political-Military and External Affairs units at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland and as Senior Political Officer in the State Department’s Office of Cuban Affairs. 

Leslie Bassett had completed 35 years as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer when she retired to Imperial Beach, CA, in 2017. She served as second in command/acting ambassador in Botswana, Mexico, the Philippines and Korea before being named as U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay in 2014. Her commitment to strong leadership was recognized by the Department of State when she was twice asked to address the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference on integrity and mentoring. 

Ambassador Reno L. Harnish III founded the Center for Environment and National Security at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prior to this, he spent 33 years in the Foreign Service, including positions as the U.S. Ambassador in Azerbaijan, the Chief of Mission in Kosovo and the Deputy Chief of Mission in Egypt. He was heavily engaged in conflict resolution, democratization and energy issues. He received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award twice and the Department of State Distinguished Service Award among other decorations. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm  


San Diego State University 

5500 Campanile Drive 

San Diego, CA 92115 


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

November 2, 2017

North County Chapter member Farouk Al-Nasser, Ph.D., will present “Yemen Today: The Tragedy of a Failed State.” Yemen, a country of rich biblical history, is caught in the middle of a proxy-sectarian war between predominantly Sunni Muslim countries of the Arabian Peninsula, led by Saudi Arabia, and predominantly Shi’a Muslim Iran. The result is a humanitarian catastrophe marked by acute shortages of food, water, fuel, and medical supplies in what is already one of the world’s poorest countries. Is there a path to end the fighting?

Dr.  Al-Nasser was born in Iraq. He received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Denver, and held technical, operational, and executive positions in the high technology industry for more than 40 years.

A North County Chapter Executive Committee meeting directly follows this program.

November 9, 2017

North County Chapter member Kiki Munshi, Ph.D., a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer, will examine “Why Democracy Building Hasn’t Worked.”  The U.S. has tried to export “democracy” for the past several decades with mixed results and mostly limited success.  Dr. Munshi will explore the various aims of this oft-used process. 

Dr. Munshi has worked on democracy building in Iraq, Tanzania, Romania and Sierra Leone. She has a master’s degree in Indian History and Politics from UC Berkeley, and a Doctorate in History from the University of Bucharest.

A North County Chapter Program Committee meeting directly follows this program.

November 16, 2017

North County Chapter member Jack Bowsher will discuss “How Do We Make America Great Again in Global Affairs.”  From 1942 to 2000, the United States was the economic and military leader in world affairs.  Today, that leadership is shared by many countries and the United States is accumulating unprecedented levels of national debt.  The presentation discusses 12 key decisions by either a Republican or Democratic President that are required for new leadership.

 Mr. Bowsher spent 33 years at IBM, where he was Director of Education, with responsibility for a $900 million budget.  He has an accounting degree from the University of Illinois and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago.

November 30, 2017

Retired Vice Adm. Robert Thomas will speak on “U.S. Alliances in the Indo-Pacific: A Practitioner’s Perspective.”  The U.S. maintains five treaty alliances in the Indo-Pacific. Japan, Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand have militaries with varying capacities, capabilities, and interoperability with the U.S. Armed Forces. Examining these alliances through the lens of a former U.S. 7th Fleet Commander, Adm. Thomas will discuss their utility in the 21st century and applicability in five zones of interest: the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea, the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, and Oceania. The operative question of today: Will the U.S. be the preferred security partner in the future? 

Adm. Thomas, a career submarine officer, was commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet from 2013 to 2015.  The 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations.  Adm. Thomas received a bachelor of science degree from UC Berkeley and a master of arts in National Security Studies from the National War College.

SDWAC and NCC members who wish to attend a round table luncheon after the presentation should contact Phyllis Murchland at pmurchland@san.rr.com



Oct. 30 -- Assistant Sec. of State Palmieri at the Institute of the Americas

The Americas continue to be at a threshold of driving forward sustainable economic growth and prosperity against a backdrop of rapidly evolving approaches to trade and investment through trade liberalization and the emergence of new global, often ‘non-traditional’ investment partners.  To better understand U.S. priorities and strategies and how these may be managed over the coming months and years, please join the Institute of the Americas on Monday, October 30 for a unique opportunity to hear from Francisco ‘Paco’ Palmieri, the U.S. Department of State’s Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).  Details and registration information here.

Nov. 2 -- Dr. Stephen Walt at USD

What is the future of U.S. foreign policy? Join renowned author and academic Dr. Steven Walt for a provocative overview of global challenges and U.S. response on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 12:30 p.m. at the Joan B. Kroc Institute at USD.  Details here.

Nov. 8 -- SDSU Hostler Institute Fall 2017 Lecture 


Join San Diego State University's Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs for its Fall 2017 Lecture featuring distinguished Indian diplomat Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, currently serving as Consul General of India in San Francisco. Wednesday, November 8, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Behner-Stiefel Auditorium. More information here.

Nov. 16 -- "The Spectre of Global China" by the 21st Century China Center (UCSD)

China has recently emerged as one of Africa’s top business partners, aggressively pursuing its raw materials and establishing a mighty presence in the continent’s booming construction market. Among major foreign investors in Africa, China has stirred the most fear, hope, and controversy. Ching Kwan Lee, professor of sociology at the UC Los Angeles in her new book “The Specter of Global China,” analyzes the peculiarity of outbound Chinese state capital by comparing it with global private capital in copper and construction in Zambia. Detailshere.

Payment deadline Nov. 17 -- SDSU Cuba Trip

Join San Diego State University alumni and friends for an exciting trip to  Cuba, March 9-16, 2018. This excursion through a country mostly off limits to Americans for more than half a century will make stops in lively Havana, charming Santa Clara, and the wonderfully preserved towns of Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Sancti Spiritus.

This trip is limited to just 25 travelers. The tour operator is Go-Next, Inc., which is conducting tours to Cuba this year for more than 40 universities. Payment deadline is November 17, 2017. More information: Cuba Trip 2018 Flyer and Brochure

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

American Foreign Policy; Xi Jinping Elevated; Shinzo Abe's Victory; Kenyan Democratic Crisis; Uncertainty in the Middle East

Quote of the Week:

"Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as 'telling it like it is,' when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified."

-- Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), in a Tuesday statement on the Senate floor.

The Precarious Future of American Foreign Policy

"'I Will Not Be Complicit.' Jeff Flake's Retirement Speech, Annotated" Amber Phillips -- The Washington Post, October 24, 2017

"Permanent Warfare as Normality" Paul Pillar -- The National Interest, October 20, 2017

"An Accident Waiting to Happen: Trump, Putin, and the U.S.-Russia Relationship" Bobo Lo -- Lowy Institute, October 25, 2017

"A Space Policy for the Trump Administration" Jerry Hendrix and Adam Routh -- Center for a New American Security, October 23, 2017

"'America First' Is a Losing Strategy on Trade" Mireya Solis -- Brookings Institution, October 24, 2017

Xi Jinping Cements His Legacy

"China Enshrines 'Xi Jinping Thought', Elevating Leader to Mao-Like Status" Chris Buckley -- The New York Times, October 24, 2017

"China's Xi Elevated in Party Constitution, Joining Mao, Deng" Ting Shi -- Bloomberg Politics, October 24, 2017

"Xi Jinping Just Made It Clear Where China's Foreign Policy Is Headed" Rush Doshi -- The Washington Post, October 25, 2017

"The 19th Party Congress Leadership: A Guide to China's New Men in Black" Zheping Huang -- Quartz, October 25, 2017

"Empowering China's New Miracle Workers" A. Michael Spence -- CFR, October 24, 2017

Landslide Victory for Shinzo Abe

"Japan's Ruling Coalition Retains a Supermajority in Snap Election" -- The Economist, October 23, 2017

"Abe After the Election: What Comes Next?" Daniel Sneider -- Asia Times, October 25, 2017

"Make Japan Great Again: Abe's Landslide Is a Victory for Militant Nationalism in the Trump Age" Alexander Griffing -- Haaretz, October 24, 2017

"The Bright Side of Japan's Bleak Election" Tobias Harris -- New Republic, October 25, 2017

Office: (619) 325-8200

Address: 113 Street, West G Street #601 San Diego, CA 92101 

Email: sdwac@sdwac.org




Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council

113 West G Street #601

San Diego, CA 92101

Office: (619) 325-8200



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