Letter From the President

To our members;

Summer is winding down again in the desert southwest.  The 2019 program year has been an active and productive one for Tucson Great Decisions Association and we are looking forward to another great year for the 2020 program year.  Our fall event this year is now scheduled for November 22nd, the Friday before El Tour.  The topic will be Climate Change Is Here… How Can the World Adapt?  This topic is perfectly aligned with our first Great Decisions discussion topic for 2020, Climate Change and the Global Order.   An interesting sidelight to the topic is the news that Indonesia is now planning to move the capital of that Pacific island nation from Jakarta to a new location on the island of Borneo.

In our Climate Change and the Global Order discussion, we’ll be considering the issues surrounding nations like Indonesia, where the water levels of the oceans are now infringing on life, as well as issues that may impact food production worldwide.  How might an increase in worldwide temperatures affect Greenland and our other northern people and wildlife? How might the US foreign policy approach going forward link to the “Climate Accord?”

The second discussion topic will focus on India and Pakistan.  These two nations have been bitter enemies since they were created in 1947. This past spring the longstanding dispute over Kashmir heated up amidst armed aircraft incursions and capture of an Indian pilot.  So, how does the US manage its diplomatic efforts in working with these two nations that both, individually have relations with the US but are diplomatically at odds with each other.

What has been happening in the Red Sea Security including Iran and the Straits of Hormuz, Yemen and Saudi Arabia will provide a focus for another discussion in the 2020 program.  The confrontations between Yemen and Saudi Arabia present a challenge for US foreign policy and the situation with the Straits of Hormuz presents a challenge for maintaining shipping from the rich oil fields in the region without accelerating the situation to a full-scale war.

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking will expand on our 2015 look at Human Trafficking to look at slavery.  In the 21st century we still have many instances of enslavement of people around the world. We’ll learn more about how these problems exist here and elsewhere in the world.  How should our foreign policy be strategized to provide an effective deterrent to nations and peoples practicing slavery or human trafficking.

The discussion of U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle (Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador)  will give us the opportunity to investigate the causes of the majority of immigration pressures at our southern border.  Thanks in large part to endemic violence, citizens of El Salvador, together with those of the other countries in Central America’s so-called Northern Triangle, Guatemala and Honduras, have accounted for 75 percent of all undocumented U.S. border apprehensions in 2019. What are the possible foreign policy answers to this issue? (In addition to being a topic for our regular great decisions discussions in 2020, we’ll be including this in our Kick-Off event presentation on Stability in Central and South America.)

China’s Road into Latin America will provide an interesting follow-up to the northern triangle discussion.  We have previously looked at how China has worked in Africa and is developing the Belt and Road.  We have learned how China actively pursues developing relationships in countries around the world in order to develop sources for the needs of their economic development.  What is their driving force behind developing relationships in Latin America?  How will this affect US foreign policy?

When I served in the US Navy during the Viet Nam war, my view of The Philippines and the U.S was primarily based on our military presence in the country.  We no longer have military bases on that island nation and the new government in the country looks to a very different relationship with the US.  With our concerns about China’s expansion in the Western Pacific, where does the Philippines fit in our foreign policy?  What will our relationship with the Philippines look like in the coming decade?

Finally, we’ll be visiting AI again in Artificial Intelligence and Data. How will work patterns and education requirements change in the future to provide a workforce ready to effectively interface with AI in a world dominated by AI?  How will the advent of a world of AI affect our foreign policy?

So, we are looking at another great year of Great Decisions:  Discovery, Discussion and Decision.  Again, this year we’ll be looking at issues of this changing world.  As the world grows smaller because of the technology of the 21st century, our Great Decisions discussions help all of us to increase our understanding of how these changes affect us and how our United States interacts with the world. We hope you’ll join one of our discussion groups to add your personal understanding and experience to gaining and sharing a group understanding of the great decisions on these important issues.

Some of you may have experienced our new audio system which we first used at our spring event.  The system was purchased entirely through donations from our members.  Tucson Great Decisions is a 501 (c)3 Not for Profit organization and donations are deductible as allowed by current tax law. Your donations help us to maintain our programming at affordable rates.  We’ll always have donation materials at our events, or you can donate by sending a check to Tucson Great Decisions Association; PO Box 69726; Oro Valley, AZ 85737

Your personal comments are invited using the contact tab on www.TGDA.org or by email to info@tgda.org

Dick Kelbaugh

Tucson Great Decisions Association