Middle East talks to kick off series


Only in the Middle East do so many simultaneous and interrelated national and international conflicts defy resolution.

Civil wars rage in Syria and Yemen, where regional powers such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey intervene. Also active are Russia and the United States. In Lebanon, Christian-Muslim relations are tenuous; the Israeli-Palestinian problem is ever present; and the question of nuclear weapons and Iran persists.

The opening session of Delaware’s 2019 Great Decisions Free Community Discussion Series on U.S. Foreign Policy takes place Friday, Feb. 22, with a talk on “The Middle East: Regional Disorder” by Richard Herrmann, social and behavioral sciences distinguished professor and chair of the political science department at The Ohio State University.

From 2001-2011, Herrmann was the director of Ohio State’s Mershon Center for International Security Studies. He has written and lectured widely on politics in the Middle East, international security and American foreign policy.

Besides his scholarship, Herrmann has a wealth of practical experience. From 1989 to 1991, he served on Secretary of State James Baker’s policy planning staff at the U.S. Department of State. From 1991-1996, he served as co-editor of International Studies Quarterly, the flagship journal of the International Studies Association.

Herrmann has been a frequent visitor to the Middle East, lecturing and conducting research in Israel and the West Bank, as well as in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as the American Political Science Review, International Organization, World Politics, International Security and the Journal of Conflict Resolution.

All Great Decisions meetings begin at noon in the Fellowship Hall of the William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William St., Delaware. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch. Coffee and tea are provided. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/greatdecisionsdeloh.

Available for purchase is a booklet with articles about this year’s eight topics, compiled by the Foreign Policy Association, originator in 1954 of the nationwide Great Decisions program. The Delaware County District Library’s main location in Delaware and the Orange branch make the booklet available to Delaware county readers. The library has created and offers copies of a bibliography of important books on current international affairs. It can also be found at www.delawarelibrary.org.

Audience participants will have the option of completing a survey, prepared by the Foreign Policy Association, to add their opinions to thousands of others across the nation. Survey results will be made available to Washington decision-makers.

The topic for the Friday, March 1, discussion is “Cyber Conflicts and Geopolitics,” featuring Cantay Caliskan, assistant professor, mathematics and computer science, Ohio Wesleyan University.


Special to The Gazette

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