Think Tank (4/2020)
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RSIS Webinars by Dr Adam Garfinkle
08 Jul 2020

Dr Adam Garfinkle, RSIS Distinguished Visiting Fellow; and Founding Editor of The American Interest gave three webinars between July to August 2020.

  1. US Korea Policy: The Persistence of Failure
  2. How We Have Misunderstood Islamist Terrorism
  3. Black Lives Matter: Implications for International Relations and America’s Foreign Policy

US Korea Policy: The Persistence of Failure

US policy towards Korea, and specifically toward the threat of DPRK nuclear-weapons proliferation, has played over more than three decades like a multi-act saga of frustration, error, and failure. The problem is worse than ever, and now threatens to metathesise further. Come learn what has gone wrong, why, and how ultimately the problem must be addressed by the next US Administration. Once the ineluctable conclusions emerge and US policy begins to change, East Asian geopolitics will in turn change significantly. Many Singaporeans will worry about the implications of these changes; they shouldn’t.

How We Have Misunderstood Islamist Terrorism

As with the parable about the homeward-bound barfly who searches for his lost keys under a streetlight, not because he suspects they are likely to be found there, but because that’s the only place where there is any light to look, so American reactions to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 focused on familiar lit ground instead of where genuine understanding lay. The result was a spectacular and damaging misunderstanding of the sources of the problem, which led to a range of policy errors whose effects are still with us today. Come learn about what was really behind 9/11 and what remains the underlying motivation of most Islamist radicals today, and about how and why the Americans who mattered got it so wrong.

Black Lives Matter: Implications for International Relations and America’s Foreign Policy

The reaction to the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis touched off immediate and widespread, and some continuing protest in the United States, and spilled over as well in various kinetic and non-kinetic forms to other countries.  The actual sources and subsequent perceptions of the protests – including the role of the Black Lives Matter organization – have themselves become contentiously divisive in the United States amid an already polarised political and cultural environment, and during an election year to boot.  The sum of the complexities is that they magnify the inward turning of elite and mass American opinion alike away from foreign policy concerns, and provide ammunition for some to tarnish – unfairly and often hypocritically – the image of the United States abroad.

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