March 22 PCFR: Status report on Europe

March 14, 2016


To members and friends of the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations (

Big things underway internationally now include  the Ziki virus and economy worsening in Brazil, the North Korea regime  threatening a “pre-exemptive’’ nuclear strike on South Korea, China continuing to militarize the South China Sea, the probable failure of cease-fires in Syria,  the start of the British debate on leaving the European Union, gains by right-wing parties in Germany and preparations for the G7 Summit in May.

Besides the officially scheduled speakers below, note that we plan in the coming season to have speakers on New England ports (see bottom of this memo) and  the geopolitics and economics of global warming as well as a look at global ocean-fishing issues and the Zika virus. Also refugees, economics, security and other matters involving Germany, with the German general consul speaking to us.

Our next meeting comes on Tuesday, March 22, with the very distinguished Andrew A. Michta, professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and an adjunct fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Europe Program).

He’ll talk about European politics and security, including NATO and the future of the European Union. He has a special focus on Central Europe and the Baltic States. (We hope he talks about the Russian buildup in the enclave of Kalingrad.)

In 2013–2014, he was a senior fellow focusing on defense programming at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C. In 2011–2013, he was a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS) and the founding director of the GMFUS Warsaw office.

He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.  

As usual, the dinner will be at the Hope Club, 6 Benevolent St., Providence. Drinks start at about 6, dinner by 7, then the talk and a Q&A and the evening ends by 9.

Please let us know whether you will join us March 22 by replying to or, in a crunch, calling (401) 523-3957. Thanks very much to those who have already let us know! The Hope Club needs good estimates no later than the day before a PCFR dinner.

Dues and dinner cost information may be found at: Other membership information may be found there, too.  (A member asked if (the modest) dues for this nonprofit membership organization are ever deductible for business purposes. Ask your tax adviser.)

Columbia Prof. Morris Rossabi, who had been skedded for March and is one of the world’s greatest experts on Central Asia,  is  being rescheduled to September or October as is Ambassador Tod Sedgwick, who had previously been skedded for May.

We have asked Professor Rossabi to focus on Mongolia, whose ability to become a real democracy stuck between the great expansionist police states of China and Russia, has long fascinated us.

On Tuesday, April 12, celebrated author, TV documentary maker and former foreign correspondent Hedrick Smith will join us; he’ll talk about Russia, and the current state of America, too.

On Wednesday May 11, comes the internationally known expert on cities around the world, Greg Lindsay.

Look at:

He is a contributing writer for Fast Company, author of the forthcoming book Engineering Serendipity, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next. He is also a senior fellow of the New Cities Foundation — where he leads the Connected Mobility Initiative — a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative, a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, and a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute.

On Tuesday, June 7Michael Soussan, former UN whistleblower; acclaimed author; widely published journalist; NYU writing professor, and women's rights advocate, will speak. His satirical memoir about global corruption,  Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course In International Diplomacy (Nation Books / Perseus) is being adapted  for a feature film, starring Ben Kingsley and Josh Hutcherson

He will speak about the subject of his next book TRUTH TO POWER: how great minds changed the world. A brief history of thought leadership.

Evan Matthews, a key thought leader at the North Atlantic Ports Association and director of the Port of Davisville,  will  talk to us on Wednesday, June 22, on changes in world shipping, including the widening of the Panama Canal and other changes of huge interest to New England ports.