The Institute of World Politics is a graduate school of national security and international affairs, dedicated to developing leaders with a sound understanding of international realities and the ethical conduct of statecraft, based on knowledge and appreciation of the principles of the American political economy and the Western moral tradition.
**Please note that the views expressed by our guest lecturers do not necessarily reflect the views of The Institute of World Politics.**
Estonia’s “Total Defense” Principle: Learning from History
This event is part of The Intermarium Lecture Series sponsored by The Institute of World Politics.
About the lecture: The defensibility of the Baltic states has been a subject of much discussion since the Russian invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine. A 2016 report by the RAND Corporation caused a stir when it determined that NATO was unprepared to defend the Baltics against a Russian attack, with Russian forces able to reach the outskirts of Tallinn in 60 hours. However, while American strategic thinking is focused on conventional military defense, due to its size, geography, and history, Estonia’s National Security Concept embraces a “total defense” principle. This is important for U.S. strategic thinkers and policymakers to understand and integrate into allied defense strategy and assistance.
About the speaker: James A. Rice is the Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, for whom he has worked since June 2000. In this role, James serves as the chief advisor to Senator Grassley on foreign policy matters, including in Senator Grassley’s capacity as co-chair of the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus. James’s previous professional experience includes positions in the Iowa Senate, an internship with the British Conservative Party, and work on various political campaigns. James has been recognized by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his contributions to public diplomacy. James received a B.A. from Drake University with majors in political science and history and a M.A. in Statecraft and International Affairs at the Institute of World Politics. He is a native of Davenport, Iowa.
Communist China’s Modern Intelligence Reforms
This event is sponsored by the Asia Initiative Lecture Series at The Institute of World Politics.
About the lecture: Since their 1949 victory, the Chinese Communist Party has been highly successful in making mainland China a very hard target for foreign espionage. But hitherto, China’s security and intelligence agencies have often endured a lack of interagency coordination, turf battles, and internal corruption. Under Mao Zedong, they were attacked and dismantled during the Cultural Revolution, taking decades to recover. During China’s corruption crisis of the 1990s and 2000s, intelligence and counterintelligence operations were hobbled by internal graft, leading to high-level penetrations by the CIA’s China Program.
However, Xi Jinping has systematically attacked these problems since his ascent in 2012. His famous anti-corruption drive was partly intended to blunt alleged American efforts to provide cash for their agents within the Chinese state to secure corrupt promotions. Beijing’s drive to regain “information dominance” (制信息权, zhi xinxi quan) over an increasingly fluid, networked, and technologically sophisticated society appears to be broadly successful. Interagency coordination looks more robust under strengthened party oversight by the new Central State Security Commission. Meanwhile, an intelligence and military reorganization that was launched in 2015 has resulted in a sharper mission focus by the Ministry of State Security and the intelligence units of the People’s Liberation Army.
This presentation will review these efforts, and what problems still exist. It will evaluate the possibility that the 2020s will be a decade of better coordinated and more aggressive espionage operations by Beijing, and the extent to which the increasingly successful surveillance state might expand and grow ever stronger inside China.
About the speaker: Dr. Matthew Brazil is the researcher and writer. He pursued Chinese studies as an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley, as an Army officer with tours in Korea and NSA, and as a graduate student at Harvard in their Regional Studies East Asia program. After a stint as the China specialist for the Commerce Department’s Office of Export Enforcement, he was assigned as a Commercial Officer with the U.S. Embassy, Beijing, where he both promoted and controlled U.S. high technology exports to China. Afterward, Matt spent 20 years as a security professional, performing investigations in China for a chip manufacturer, and leading the development of a security organization in China for an American specialty chemicals firm. His PhD dissertation at the University of Sydney (2013) described the place in the Chinese Communist Party of their intelligence organs. That and further research led to his contribution as the coauthor of Chinese Communist Espionage, An Intelligence Primer (2019). Matt has begun research on a second book intended to be an integrated narrative history of intelligence operations in the Chinese Communist movement.
Ethiopia in 2021: Tackling Challenges and Looking Toward the Future
About the lecture: Ethiopia today is at a crossroad, the government of Ethiopia recently launched a campaign to uphold the rule of law in order to keep the peace and security of its citizens. The government is also gearing up to conduct its first election in the Post-TPLF era in June 2021. All eyes will be on the reformist leader Abiy Ahmed, a 2019 Nobel peace prize laureate who promised to bring his nation of over a hundred million people back to its historical prominence by unlocking the country’s untapped natural resources.
Our panelist will analyze the challenges facing the Prime Minister as he embarks on his goal to achieve making Ethiopia a middle-income nation by 2025. One of these challenges currently is the conflict between the federal government of Ethiopia and TPLF leadership in Tigray.
About the panelist:
Dr. Gedion Timothewos Hessebon, is the current attorney general of Ethiopia.
Bronwyn Bruton, a democracy and governance specialist with extensive experience in Africa was a 2008-2009 international affairs fellow in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Ms. Bruton has also served as a program manager on the Africa team of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives, as a policy analyst on the international affairs and trade team of the Government Accountability Office, and as a program officer at the Center for International Private Enterprise.
Yoseph Mulugeta Badwaza is the Senior Regional Advisor at Freedom House, having formerly served as the Senior Program Officer for Ethiopia.
Besu Feleke has been a human rights and democracy advocate for 18 years. He is on the board of Friends of Angola, PRO Leadership Inc, Global Innovation Network, Senior Policy Advisor at Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia, and Community Advisor to the Chief of Police in Alexandria, Virginia. Besu works in various Peacebuilding initiatives and programs in the US and Africa.
Professor Jon Abbink is an anthropologist-historian and carries out research on the history and cultures of the Horn of Africa (Northeast Africa), particularly Ethiopia.
Learn more about the panelists: https://www.iwp.edu/events/38022/.
Children of the Borderlands by Doctor Lucyna Kulinska
This event is part of the Intermarium Lecture Series sponsored by The Institute of World Politics.
About the lecture: The book Children of the Borderlands, by Lucyna Kulinska Ph.D., is not just a collection of eyewitness accounts of people who survived the savage genocide of the Polish population committed by Ukrainians, but is also a case study relevant to the multi-ethnic United States that faces numerous ethnic tensions, pressures, and challenges. It illustrates the involvement of numerous intelligence services in this genocide and the creation of the present Ukrainian state and its identity.
About the speaker: Paul Szymanski is a naturalized citizen of the United States. He was born in Gdansk and immigrated from Poland in 1989. He graduated from the Loyola University of Chicago in 1995 and obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration. He works as a Cybersecurity Engineer and is certified as a Project Management Professional. Mr. Szymanski translated short stories by renowned American climber, John Long, into Polish and published them in the book titled Opowiesci z Krainy Largo (The stories from Laro’s world). This translation was a part of a project to obtain a new helicopter for the Tarta’s Mountain Rescue Squad. (The previous helicopter crashed during a rescue of high school students who unfortunately perished in an avalanche.) The book Children of the Borderlands was his first translation from Polish to English. He translated it with Jakub Zarazka and the poems were translated by Sister Jadwiga Szczechowicz from the Albertine Sisters convent. Sister Jadwiga is a former sergeant of the US Marine Corps. Mr. Szymanski enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, scuba diving, and has completed four half-ironman triathlons.
Where the Birds Never Sing, The True Story of the Liberation of Dachau
About the lecture: Jack Sacco’s presentation (based on his award-winning book, Where the Birds Never Sing), details his father’s heroic journey through the greatest battles of World War II with a special focus on the liberation of Dachau. His testimony bears witness to the truth of the Holocaust while honoring both the victims and liberators.
About the speaker: Jack Sacco is the award-winning and Amazon #1 bestselling author of Where the Birds Never Sing and Above the Treetops. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He is the winner of the Alabama Library Association’s 2005 Author Award for Where the Birds Never Sing. Past winners of this prestigious award include Harper Lee for To Kill a Mockingbird and Walker Percy for The Second Coming. Where the Birds Never Sing, published by HarperCollins, is a nonfiction account of his father Joe Sacco’s experiences during the Second World War, including his part in the liberation of the notorious Nazi concentration camp at Dachau.
The book has been praised by critics and readers alike, including Senator Bob Dole, who contributed the Foreword. In addition, scholars of the Holocaust have been enthusiastic in their praise. Where the Birds Never Sing has been endorsed by Rabbi Abraham Cooper on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Where the Birds Never Sing was nominated for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and rose to become an Amazon #1 Bestseller.
Jack Sacco is in demand as an accomplished public speaker who lectures widely throughout the United States and abroad. He has lectured at Yale University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Southern California, UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, the University of Texas, and George Mason University, as well as other colleges and conferences throughout the nation. He has been chosen to deliver the keynote presentation at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau. He was also chosen to give a special presentation before the Royal Families of Europe, including the Habsburg, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein families.
Poland at War (1914-1921)
About the lecture: Most politically active Poles welcomed the outbreak of the Great War as a chance to regain independence for their nation. Polish politicians and their followers were deeply divided among themselves. There were several orientations among them vying for influence. "Russian" Poles were pro-Western and counted on the victory of the Entente and sovereignty at best, or autonomy at worst. "Austrian" Poles pursued an "Austro-Polish solution," hoping that Vienna would unite all Polish lands under the scepter of the Habsburgs. Yet, the Austro-Hungarians increasingly yielded to Prussian prerogatives. Berlin at most entertained an idea of a dwarf Polish puppet state in the central provinces of Poland. Notwithstanding, the Poles raised several armed forces by the sides of the Russian, Austrian, and, lastly, Prussian armies. Meanwhile, emigre Poles, in particular in the United States supported the pro-Entente orientation. They also fielded the largest Polish force in the field which fought first in France and then, from 1919, in Poland itself. As the empires collapsed, it was both the diplomatic effort of the Poles in the West and the valor of Polish arms at home that facilitated the resurrection and defense of the Commonwealth. Ultimately, although they enjoyed some material assistance from the United States, France, and Hungary, it was the valor of Polish arms alone that secured the reborn nation's freedom.
About the speaker: Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz currently serves as a Professor of History at The Institute of World Politics, where he holds the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies. He also leads IWP’s Center for Intermarium Studies. At IWP, Dr. Chodakiewicz teaches courses on Contemporary Politics and Diplomacy, Geography and Strategy, Mass Murder Prevention in Failed and Failing States, and Russian Politics and Foreign Policy.
He was formerly an assistant professor of history of the Kosciuszko Chair in Polish Studies at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. He also served as a visiting professor of history at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.