‘Great Decisions’ Discussions on Foreign Policy Begin in February

Prepare to discuss the world with the Creative Retirement program at Iowa Valley Business and Community Solutions. Creative Retirement is offering a series of discussions on foreign policy called “Great Decisions.” The series of eight discussions will begin February 10th from 9:30 – 11:30 am and will meet every other week for eight sessions, ending on June 2nd.

Great Decisions was established in 1918 by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA), an independent nonprofit organization whose purpose is to stimulate wider interest in and greater understanding of world affairs. FPA takes no position on matters of foreign policy; rather the organization seeks to provide objective, nonpartisan information on timely issues through its publications, forums, and website:

Consensus is not a goal – discussion group participants do not attempt to “convert” participants but have respect for each member’s experiences, value systems and beliefs. Discussion participants are not expected to be experts but gather to learn more about the world around them. Each session addresses a new topic and attendance at all sessions is not necessary. The topics include:

Energy Geopolitics

Access to oil and gas has long held an influence over the politics of individual nations and their relations with others. But as more countries move toward sustainable energy, and supply chain shortages affect the availability of oil and gas, how will this change the way in which the United States interacts with the outside world? By Carolyn Kissane.

War Crimes

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in widespread charges of war crimes and calls for justice. But what exactly are war crimes? Opinions of what constitutes a war crime have evolved, as have ways to identify and punish the perpetrators. How will the war crimes committed in Ukraine be dealt with? By Francine Hirsch.

China and the U.S.

For the past ten years, the United States and China have been locked in a competition for who has the greatest global influence. One major point of contention is the status of Taiwanese sovereignty, which has become even more relevant recently with the possibility that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may prompt China to take similar action regarding Taiwan. How will the United States engage a China which is increasingly seeking to expand its sphere of influence? By David Lampton.

Economic Warfare

Waging economic warfare consists of a variety of measures from implementing sanctions to fomenting labor strikes. Such tools are utilized by states to hinder their enemies, and in the case of the United States have been used as far back as the early 19th century. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, economic warfare has been the main means for the west to challenge Russia. How effective will these sanctions be at convincing Russia to cease its war? By Jonathan Chanis.

Politics in Latin America

Electoral results in Latin America over the past four years have led many observers of the regional/political scene to discern a left-wing surge in the hemisphere, reminiscent of the so-called “Pink Tide” that swept the area some 20 years ago. But how much do these politicians actually have in common? What implication does their ascendency have for the region? By Jorge Castañeda.

Global Famine

Fears of global food shortages have followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted grain shipments from the major grain producer. But what about countries and regions that were suffering before this impending shortage? How is famine defined, and how is it different from simple food shortages? What if any remedies are there? By Daniel Maxwell.

Iran at a Crossroads

By the fall of 2022, Iran was in a state of turmoil due to widespread protests the government-enforced wearing of the hijab, a failing economy, an ineffective new president, and the looming succession of the country’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Abroad, the renewal of the Iran nuclear deal seemed doubtful, and tensions remain high between Iran, Israel, and Arab states. Many Iranians have lost hope of a better future, and the country seems at a crossroads. How should the United States deal with it? By Lawrence Potter.

Climate Migration

As climate change accelerates and drought and rising sea levels become more common, millions of people in affected regions must uproot themselves and seek safety elsewhere. Who are these affected individuals, and how might the United States aid them, and be affected by the migration? By Karen Jacobsen.

To register call (641) 752-4645 and ask for Great Decisions, Class ID 11319. Registration of $69 includes the cost of the book plus a bonus: Free Creative Retirement membership February – July 2023.  Membership in Creative Retirement includes attendance in the free Roundtable meetings that are held every other Friday morning also from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. The next few topics include February 3rd “Vegan Diets” by Lloyd Luck; February 17th “Esports Program at MCC” by coach Nate Rodemeyer; and March 3rd “International Students at MCC” by Vicki Unferth and students.