Day: Monday


Time: 7 p.m.



College Center #127


Instructor: Anne Stilwill




PSCOMM 090 Great Decisions


Course Description

Great Decisions 2015 examines current global issues in historical context and provides background, current policies, and alternative policy options. This program is developed by the Foreign Policy Association ( and discussion groups are held all around the country.


The Briefing Book places the thematic or geographic issue in historical context.  Photographs, maps, charts, and editorials illustrate the text.  Discussion questions, annotated reading suggestions and additional resources, including websites, are provided.  The topics this year are the following: Defense Technology, Israel and the U.S., Turkey's Challenges, Islamic Awakening, Energy Independence, Food and Climate, China's Foreign Policy, and U.S. Trade Policy.


The DVD Series looks at the U.S. foreign policy issues analyzed in the Great Decisions 2014 Briefing Book.   The DVD’s provide documentary footage, analysis by experts, and a lively exchange of views on the critical issues facing the U.S. and the world.


 There is a $5 charge to all participants to cover the purchase of the DVD series which will be donated to the McCall Library




To reflect and enter in discussion on the topic: Russia and the Near Abroad

•  As calls for closer ties with the EU failed to be met, Ukrainians took to the streets in in November 2013. As the movement later known as the Euromaidan, or “Euro Square,” pulled western Ukraine closer to its European neighbors, another powerful force threatened to tear away the country’s eastern half: Russia. Putin’s pushback against European expansionism has the West wondering: If Putin’s Russia isn’t afraid to take an aggressive stance against Europeanization in Ukraine, what does that mean for the rest of Russia’s neighbors?

• To reflect and enter in discussion on the topic:  Privacy in the Digital Age

•  The idea of “privacy” has undergone significant changes in the digital age, as has the idea of privacy “harm.” Fearful of British spying, influence and intervention, the founding fathers granted citizens significant protections in the Constitution. Now, the tables have turned: Concerns about what some see as a U.S. “dragnet” and unwarranted privacy intrusions have compelled other countries to revamp their own privacy protections. Legislation, both at home and abroad, hasn’t kept pace with technological developments, leaving some wondering if privacy as we know it is long dead.

• To reflect and enter in discussion on the topic:  Sectarianism in the Middle East

•  Many of the current conflicts in the Middle East have been attributed to sectarianism, a politicization of ethnic and religious identity. From the crisis in Iraq and Syria to the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the struggle between Sunni and Shi‘i groups for dominance is tearing apart the region and shows no signs of abating. But for all the religious discourse permeating the conflict, much of its roots are political, not religious. How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East? How have governments manipulated sectarian differences? And finally, what is the U.S. doing about it?

• To reflect and enter in discussion on the topic:  India Changes Course

•  Fed up with corruption, dynastic policies and ineffective public services, Indian voters catapulted Narenda Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to power in the country's 2014 elections. For voters, Modi embodied real change and an India that wasn't stumbling, but running, to greatness. But for the U.S., change in India brings its own set of unknowns, heralding an age ruled by a prime minister new to national office and other policymakers who have been out of the public eye for a decade. Now, the U.S. has to determine how to best secure its interests as India asserts itself on the world stage.

• To reflect and enter in discussion on the topic: U.S. Policy Toward Africa

•  Africa is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation. The continent is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it’s become a draw for foreign investors from across the globe. After the “Obamamania” of 2008 died down, though, the realization that Obama wasn’t going to overturn, or even prioritize, U.S. Africa policy kicked in. Still, the U.S. has promised to promote “strong institutions, not strong men,” and to favor good governance and healthy economies over profit. How can U.S. policy live up to its promise and values while securing its interests in the region?

• To reflect and enter in discussion on the topic:  Syria's Refugee Crisis

•  Syrians have for a century welcomed over a million refugees from Armenia, Palestine, Iraq and other countries around the region. Now, thanks to a multiyear civil war, they are on track to become the source of the world’s largest refugee