F102 | Great Decisions  


Fridays

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Online

3/18, 3/25, 4/1, 4/8, 4/22 & 5/6 (no class 4/15 and 4/29)

Six Sessions



























This course is offered online via the easy-to-use Zoom program

Explore in-depth six topics in international relations.  Each week, we will follow the Great Decision curriculum that allows for in-depth examination and discussion of current international challenges through the lens of national interests.  Topics for spring 2022 include: Climate Change, Russia and the U.S., The Quad Alliance, Drug Policy in Latin America, Outer Space, and Biden’s Agenda. 

March 18:  Russia and the U.S.

Russia and the United States have many areas of conflict and some possible areas of mutual interest. Arms control, Russian interference in U.S. elections and support of cyberattacks, the status of Ukraine, the fate of opposition politicians in Russia, all continue to be concerning. How will the new administration in Washington approach these issues?

March 25: Climate Change

The ideological divide in the United States on the subject of climate change has impeded progress in curbing greenhouse emissions. But extreme weather events at both ends of the thermometer have focused attention on the consequences of inaction. What role will the United States play in future negotiations on climate?

April 1: The Quad Alliance

As part of the U.S. pivot to Asia, the United States has been in dialogue with Japan, Australia, and India in an effort to contain China. Recently, the Quad countries held joint naval exercises in the South Pacific. How effective will the actions of this alliance be? 

April 8Drug Policy in Latin America

The issue of migration to the United States from Latin America has overshadowed the war on drugs, which has been underway for decades with little signs of progress. What are the roots and the bureaucratic logic behind today's dominant drug policies in Latin America? Is it time to reconsider punitive drug policies that disrupt supply chains and punish drug possession?

April 22: Outer Space

The launch of Sputnik 1 in October 1957 marked the beginning of the space era and of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. in the 21st century, there are many more participants in space, including countries such as India and China, and commercial companies such as SpaceX. How will the United States fare in a crowded outer space?

May 6: Biden’s Agenda

The new administration in Washington promised to reverse many of the policies of the past administration, especially in foreign policy. How will issues such as climate, the pandemic, and alliances be treated under the Biden administration?


John Dickson served 26 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, with assignments in Nigeria, South Africa, Peru, Mexico and Canada, as well as in Washington DC.  He is active in local history projects in Pittsfield while continuing international work through two Peace Corps alumni organizations: Encore de la Paix and the Peace Corps Community for Refugees.  The author of History Shock: When History Collides with Foreign Relations, he holds degrees in history from Princeton University and the University of Massachusetts.

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