CC In the World

 

Camden Conference in the World-July 2018

How serious are perceived threats to democracy around the world and at home in the US? A prognosis for democracy that “although hardly inspiring — is less dire than much commentary suggests” was outlined by UCLA political science professor and 2015 Camden Conference speaker Daniel Treisman in the Washington Post last month. Not only do four commonly cited ratings system reviewed by Treisman show the global proportion of countries that are democracies “at or near an all-time high,” but his own historically based research indicates a likelihood of less than one in 3,000 of a democratic breakdown in a country as wealthy and with as long of history of democracy as the US.   Cas Mudde, a University of Georgia professor and widely cited commentator who spoke on the rise of the far right at our 2017 conference on Refugees and Global Migration, argues in The Guardian that liberals, fearful…

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Camden Conference in the World-June 2018

Former US Ambassador to Nato Nicholas Burns, minced no words in recent criticism of President Donald Trump’s May decision to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal of 2016, terming the move “reckless and one of the most serious mistakes of his presidency.” While many 2013 Camden Conference attendees will remember Burn’s tough engagement on the side of the US with former Iranian nuclear negotiator Seyed Hossien Mousavian, Burns is now recalling how the subsequent 2016 accord “has dismantled Iran’s nuclear apparatus and denied it the possibility of developing a nuclear weapon for more than a decade.” Not surprisingly, Mousavian in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, took the criticism a step further: “Trump has officially declared a regime-change policy towards Iran, as his speech made clear, setting himself on an all-out confrontational path against Iran. A dangerous new US-Iran escalation will now ensue, and it will have…

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Camden Conference in the World-May 2018

Chatham House associate fellow Cleo Paskal recently explored another fascinating niche angle of the changing geopolitical landscape: Britain’s expanding post-Brexit role as a counter to China in several small Pacific countries that are also in the Commonwealth. Paskal, a popular favorite at the 2018 conference on New World Disorder and America’s Future who will be returning to Camden Aug. 14 for a Camden Conference friendraiser, writes regularly for India’s Sunday Guardian and other Indian newspapers. Natalie Nougayrede, a companion speaker of Paskal’s in Camden in 2018 and a regular columnist in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, calls French President Emanuel Macron “a poster boy for radical centrism in an age of democratic retrenchment and rampaging populism,” in an assessment of Macron’s recent state visit to Washington.   Those already looking forward to next year’s conference on China might want to check out this conversation from last month on US-China relations between 2018…

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Camden Conference in the World-April 2018

The news this month has been filled with former Camden Conference speakers discussing national and international rising tensions. Two speakers from 2015’s Russia Resurgent Conference have discussed the relationship between the West and Russia following the nerve-agent attack on a former spy in Britain. Quoted in The Irish Times: “A multi-faceted diplomatic war has begun between Russia and the West,” Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor-in-chief of the respected Russia in Global Affairs journal, wrote on his Telegram account on Monday. Diplomacy was supposed to preserve lines of communication at times of crisis, he said. “But what is happening today seems like a negation of that function.” In an article in US News and World Report, Russia expert at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington, Matthew Rojansky said, “The risk of escalation doesn’t just come from tit-for-tat punishments.” Rojansky cited the potential for more aggressive moves from the Middle East to the cyber…

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Camden Conference in the World-March 2018

Both the opening and closing speakers at the February Camden Conference on “New World Disorder” addressed ongoing attacks on diplomacy and its contemporary practitioners last month in other forums, as well. Chas Freeman looked back to historic examples of successful US diplomacy in Southern Africa and on the China-Taiwan question to argue for better attention to the Rusting Tool of American Statescraft in a lecture to a combined audience from three top US foreign policy schools delivered just before he came to Camden. Stephen Walt took a different angle, proposing means to fix a “rot” that “runs deep” in the now highly professionalized US foreign policy establishment, in this article published just after the Camden Conference. Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a 2013 Camden Conference speaker, applies the call for more and better diplomacy to the specific context of the Middle East in calling on Saudi Arabia and Iran “to openly and…

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Camden Conference in the World-February 2018

The speakers who will be debating and discussing the New World Disorder and America’s Future later this month here in Maine are already engaging with diverse aspects of the topic in the big wide world out there. Wall Street Journal commentator Gerald Seib provided insights into President Donald Trump’s current diplomatic thinking following a Journal interview with the president in early January. Seib will be speaking at the Camden Conference on the influence of nationalism and populism on US foreign policy. Natalie Nougayrède, the Guardian columnist who in Camden will address the theme of “Can Europe Hold the Fort?”, last month introduced a new series The Guardian will be running in the coming months on “Europe Now.” That series will consider topics from the Eurozone and refugee crises, to Brexit and separatism.  Our moderator for the February conference, Indira Lakshmanan, bemoaned the “hollowing out of the State Dept.” in one…

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Remembering Calestous Juma

We are sorry to report that Calestous Juma died in Boston on Friday. In his 64 years on this earth he enriched the lives of many and it was our great fortune to have him as a speaker at the Camden Conference in 2014. Professor Juma was to have been the moderator at the 2016 Conference “The New Africa” but took ill and was unable to attend. Calestous Juma was a  distinguished scholar and passionate advocate for his native Africa. He championed technological innovation and sustainable development as a director at the Harvard Kennedy School. But what those of us who met him will remember most in addition to his intellect and energy was his warmth. His laugh will forever echo in the Camden Opera House.  

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Camden Conference in the World-December 2018

As the holidays approach, what better person to turn to for an upbeat take on the “disorder” often apparent in the world around us than Calestous Juma, the Harvard professor and renowned expert on technology and economic development who brought such joy to the 2014 Food and Water Camden Conference. Juma argued in The Conversation last month that, “Africa has become a testing ground for technological leapfrogging.” Threats to the cohesion of nation states are a frequently cited sign of disorder, and the rapid spread of often seemingly alien and uncontrolled technology is another. Juma bucks the trend from both angles in citing use of iris recognition by the breakaway state of Somaliland to insure against voter fraud.   Two favorites from the 2016 Camden Conference on The New Africa have also provided positive takes of late on our sometimes seemingly troubled world. Kah Walla, Cameroon opposition leader and head…

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Camden Conference in the World-November 2017

Camden Conference 2015 speaker Fyodor Lukyanov tackles the conference’s 2018 New World Disorder theme in the context of US, Russian and European relations in the editor’s column in the most recent issue of Russia in Global Affairs. “The uncertain state of affairs will likely endure until each player achieves a measure of domestic stability,” Lukyanov suggests. “This is especially true for the United States, but also for Russia and the EU on the eve of potentially disruptive elections.”   Pranab Bardhan, the UC Berkeley professor who provided the 2011 conference with such memorable comparisons of the economic history and prospects of China and India, comes up with three ideas to address the shortage of productive, well paying jobs that is a root cause of much of the global disorder in a recent piece in The Economic Times of India. His proposed partial remedies for India — state subsidies for hiring…

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Camden Conference in the World-October 2017

New World Disorder and America’s Future is not only the title of the upcoming 2018 Camden Conference, it’s also a theme being addressed these days by many speakers in previous Camden Conferences. Germany has been a particular focus for past speakers, especially since the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party got nearly 13% of the vote in recent elections. Cas Mudde wrote in The Guardian right after the late September German election that the results “mainly shows de-alignment from the mainstream parties, rather than re-alignment to AfD.” Angela Merkel, whom many look to as a bulwark of stability amid the global disorder, won a fourth term as Chancellor but with a sharply decreased share of the vote. Mudde, a University of Georgia professor and active commentator on populist politics, had an uncomfortable message for those who view Merkel as a pillar of Western stability. The election was in many…

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