Monday, June 11, 2007

Oh, to be in D.C. tomorrow...

My inner wonk is beside herself in anticipation of the white papers that will come out of a series of panels that will be held at the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency tomorrow. The Center for American Progress and The Century Foundation will cohost the symposium called America in the World.

Just look at the topics the panels will address!

Energy, the Environment, and National Security

This panel will explore the nexus between energy scarcity, the environment, and national security. Key questions the panel will explore include: How will energy scarcity and climate change impact U.S. national security? How may a changing climate affect political stability and increase demands on U.S. diplomacy and military forces? What steps must the United States take to confront energy scarcity and climate change? How should the United States deal with competition for energy among emerging large energy consumers like India and China? What are the prospects for getting India and China to agree to a cap on greenhouse gas emissions? What are the prospects for a successor international agreement to the Kyoto Protocol? Are the domestic and international constituencies for enforceable measures strong enough to produce action that will meet the targets that scientists suggest are necessary to avoid the most dramatic impacts of climate change?

America and the Middle East

This panel will consider how the United States can most successfully advance its values and security interests in the Middle East today, mindful of regional aspirations and realities and of the rise of violent Islamist extremism. What are core U.S. interests and concerns in the region, and what are the main threats to them? In what ways should the United States act, alone or with partners, to achieve Arab-Israeli peace settlements? How can the United States and its partners most effectively address Iranian ambitions and avert the increasing nuclear threats in the region? Amid the wreckage of Iraq, what roles can the U.S. and international partners play in support of the country’s stabilization, and what are the implications for the U.S. military presence? What linkages exist among U.S. policies in different parts of the Middle East and with the struggle against global terror networks, and to what extent should the U.S. seek to forge a strategic, comprehensive approach in the region?

America and the Global Economy

This session examines America’s role in the global economy—the challenges and opportunities at home and abroad. What must we do to confi dently predict that the United States will remain a global economic leader, that American workers will continue to have decent work and good opportunities, and that their children will have futures brighter yet than their parents? How can we remain the world’s leading military power in the face of new powerful economies with strength in basic industries important to defense? Can our ambitions also include a robust role for the United States in making decent work a reality around the globe, including in the “left-behind” countries of the developing world—and in the “left-behind” areas inside the United States where earnings potential and job prospects have shrunk dramatically since 1980? Facing trade and budget defi cits, the prospect for more off-shoring of jobs and services that were once fi rmly rooted in America, and mounting economic insecurity and inequality at home, what strategy do we offer for American success in globalized markets? Can we open new markets, and help developing economies create new consumers, for American goods and services? Does the recent agreement between the President and Congress on labor rights and trade agreements signal a new opportunity for U.S. leadership in making decent work a reality around the globe? Does America’s capacity for innovation offer a route to our own future growth? What investments must we make in education, health care, science and technology, and infrastructure to compete? How do we pay for them?

America’s Defenses and 21st Century Challenges

This session will consider how America’s defense capabilities may need to be reconfigured to address 21st century challenges. In the aftermath of the war in Iraq, what kinds of challenges and constraints are likely to define the demand for U.S. military forces in the future? And how does the U.S. military need to adapt to meet these challenges? Given the enormous strains that recent operations have placed on the force, what can and should be done to restore military readiness and the long-term effectiveness of the force? To what extent can the burdens of maintaining international security be reliably multilateralized (NATO, U.N., coalitions of the willing, etc.) and still be effective in meeting shared challenges? Finally, given that the military is just one instrument of U.S. global power, how should investment in defense be coupled with investment in other areas, such as diplomacy and development assistance, to advance national security?

All of my obsessions! I’m quite literally giddy in anticipation of the papers that will result. And as always, when they are released, I will read them so you don’t have to!

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