It was a busy week in Washington, D.C. as students in the Josef Korbel School in D.C. program attended and participated in many events held by the capitol's numerous thinks tanks.
On Tuesday, November 9th, Robert Kaplan, author and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) gave a packed presentation on his new book, Monsoon at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel directly across from the White House.
Second-year students in the International Security program, Jessica Ramirez and Bailey Culp, both worked at the event in their capacity as interns at CNAS. Kaplan signed copies of his new books for attendees (including your author) and then answered questions from the audience. Kaplan said that the vision of the world centered on the Atlantic was outdated and his book presented a "new geography" focused on the "arc of Islam" running from East Africa to Indonesia. Kaplan's focus in his new book is on the potential for power projection from both China, India and the United States in the Indian Ocean- a body of water which more than 70% of the world's oil supplies pass through.
Kaplan sees great potential in the states surrounding the Indian Ocean as trade and development come to the coasts of Pakistan, Oman, India and Africa. He sounded a note of caution on Pakistan which he referred to at one point as a "nuclearizing Yugoslavia."
Wednesday, November 10th saw the Center for American Progress give a well-attended symposium on the future of Turkey's relationship with the United States. Attended by your author as well as representatives from the U.S. State Department and numerous foreign embassies, the event focused on key issues surrounding the U.S.-Turkey partnership. Some of these questions included the role of Islam in Turkish government and society and the question of Turkey's "new direction" in foreign policy which some feel indicates that Turkey is "drifting away" from the West. Others were quick to caution that Turkey remains firmly grounded in the ideals of western democracy but with an "eastern outlook" focused on reducing tensions with Turkey's nearest neighbors (Iran and Syria) and acting as a mediator in regional conflicts including the Iranian nuclear issue and Lebanon-Syria.
Held concurrently the same day was an event at the Atlantic Council worked by second-year MA International Studies student Roy Baran, who is currently interning at the committee. Former Pakistan President and coup leader Musharraf spoke at this event, which was billed as a chance for Musharraf to explain his views on economic and political challenges in Pakistan. Musharraf spoke on Pakistan as "THE happening place" in the world today. He was also clear during his talk that he intended to return to Pakistan at some point and run for president. On this point he was challenged that there were arrest warrants out for him should he risk returning to Pakistan- which he acknowledged as a barrier to his hoped-for political resurrection. Musharraf also failed to answer questions on how he affords to live a luxurious life abroad on the salary of a retired general.
Two days, three great events. Just another excellent week in the Josef Korbel School in D.C. program as we all look forward to Thanksgiving break and our eventual return to Colorado in January.
-Shane Hensinger, MA candidate in International Security
Josef Korbel School of International Studies