Thursday, July 02, 2009

Reading list for Fourth of July

TWR will be enjoying the holiday break. But before I depart, a few of the pieces that I've read this week:

Misreading Tehran, by Suzanne Maloney. "While there was intense attention to the June 12 presidential election and its potential impact on Iran’s internal balance of power and foreign policy, no serious analyst or scholar predicted the series of events that has transpired in the wake of that ballot. The primary developments in this crisis would have been dismissed by the array of Iran experts—myself included—as implausible or even inconceivable ..."

Obama's Summit in Russia: Who Blinks First? Interview with Stephen Sestanovich. "The American view has tended to be that the relationship should be reset by reaching arms control agreements, above all renewing the START I treaty. NATO enlargement actually seems to be on a somewhat slower track now. The administration's budget for missile defense is down. On that basis, you could imagine a different and more productive relationship, but not if the Russians are determined to get explicit agreements about every aspect of it. They've been saying recently that they can't rely on political understandings. They need legal commitments."

Weak States and National Strategy, by Derek Reveron. "The emergence of weak states also says something about power. ... The Taliban in Afghanistan, warlords in Somalia, and insurgents in Iraq simply do not care that the United States is a military superpower. Ballistic missile defense, space dominance, and fifth generation fighters are irrelevant in conflicts characterized by insurgent cells and improvised explosive devices."

Rewiring Washington by David Rothkopf. An interesting set of observations, including how the trend of real power/authority being more based on peoples'"personal relationships with the president than their official titles ..."

The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2009
Call for Applications
Berlin, 27th – 31st July, 2009

The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2009 will bring together experts from the fields of academia, politics, and the private sector for a weeklong program that will focus on the role of soft power in the international environment. The following are a selection of the confirmed speakers for the Symposium:

* Jorge Sampaio, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Former President of Portugal (1996-2006)
* Joaquim Chissano, Former President of Mozambique (1986-2005), Former Chairperson of the African Union (2003-2004)
* Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia (1999-2007)
* Cassam Uteem, Former President of the Republic of Mauritius (1992-2002)
* Dr. Vasile Puşcaş, Romanian Minister for European Affairs
* Ints Dālderis, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia
* Borys Tarasyuk, Member of Parliament and Former Foreign Minister of the Ukraine (1998-2000, 2005-2007)
* Dr. Erkki Tuomioja, Member of Parliament and Former Foreign Minister of Finland (2000-2007)

Further information about the Symposium can be found under:
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