Great Decisions, a non-partisan discussion forum, provides education on important American policy issues. Each program features a presenter with expertise in the topic, who will set the stage for the discussion of diverse viewpoints.
Participants are encouraged, but not required, to checkout or read the desk copy of the Great Decisions briefing book — available at the Galaxie Library — prior to the program.
Great Decisions is a nationally recognized model for foreign policy discussions sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association, coordinated statewide by Global Minnesota, and sponsored locally by District 196 Community Education and Dakota County Library.
All discussions will take place at the Galaxie Library.
China and America: The New Geopolitical Equation
Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6:30–8 p.m.
In the last 15 years, China has implemented a wide-ranging strategy of economic outreach and expansion of all its national capacities, including military and diplomatic capacities. Where the United States has taken a step back from multilateral trade agreements and discarded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China has made inroads through efforts like the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). What are Beijing's geopolitical objectives? What leadership and political conditions in each society underlie growing Sino-American tensions? What policies might Washington adopt to address this circumstance?
Presenter Duncan McCampbell is an American lawyer and professor of international business and law at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis, where he also serves as MBA Program Director. He spent 14 years — much of it abroad — with the Westlaw division of Thomson Reuters, starting new online businesses in the United Kingdom, Germany and China. He has a professional background in international business, non-US legal systems and corruption prevention. Every summer he teaches law and business in China and travels extensively in Asia. He was recently appointed co-chair of the U.S. China Business Connection, Minnesota's oldest China business organization. He writes on global commercial, legal, political and security issues. In addition to his writing and teaching, McCampbell leads a business consultancy that helps companies enter new markets overseas.
U.S. Global Engagement and the Military
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 6:30–8 p.m.
The global power balance is rapidly evolving, leaving the United States at a turning point with respect to its level of engagement and the role of its military. Some argue for an "America First" paradigm, with a large military to ensure security, while others call for a more assertive posture overseas. Some advocate for a restoration of American multilateral leadership and a strengthened role for diplomacy. Still others envision a restrained U.S. role, involving a more limited military. How does the military function in today's international order, and how might it be balanced with diplomatic and foreign assistance capabilities?
Presenter Jon Olson is a retired U.S. Navy commander and an adjunct professor in Carleton College's Political Science Department and the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University. Olson was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy and served as a naval intelligence officer before retiring at the rank of commander. His assignments during his 21-year career included duty aboard aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships, participation in numerous operations around the world, to include Iraq, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, and service in the U.S. Navy in strategic-level clandestine Human Intelligence (HUMINT) collection operations as a CIA-trained case officer. His final assignment before retirement was as the U.S. Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, Finland. Jon also earned a master's in National Security and Strategic Studies at the U.S. Naval War College in 2004, and qualified as a Navy parachutist, logging 35 jumps during his career.
Since retirement from the navy, Olson has co-authored two novels and two accompanying short stories. He and his co-author have just signed a two-book publishing deal for their third and fourth novel. Olson has also co-authored a feature length screenplay about the Falklands War.