Great Decisions on PBS

Sphere of Influence: Russia's Foreign Policy (Great Decisions 2015 Ep. 1 screener) from Foreign Policy Association on Vimeo.


Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor David Strathairn, Great Decisions in Foreign Policy brings you eight half-hour documentaries, each tackling a different challenge facing America today. The 2015 series features nearly 100 of the most important figures in international affairs along with introductory remarks from every living U.S. Secretary of State. Great Decisions airs on more than 250 PBS stations nationwide; check your local listings for details.

 

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2015 Lineup

SPHERE OF INFLUENCE: RUSSIA'S FOREIGN POLICY

Synopsis:

Putin’s pushback against European expansionism has the West wondering: If Putin’s Russia isn’t afraid to take an aggressive stance against Ukraine’s pivot to the West, what does that mean for the rest of Russia’s neighbors?

 

Guests:Russia

  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America
  • Thomas Pickering, Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Former Secretary-General, NATO
  • Garry Kasparov, Former World Chess Champion
  • David Kramer, Senior Director, McCain Institute
  • Stephen Cohen, Professor of Russian Studies, NYU & Princeton
  • Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Deputy Director of Russian/Eurasian programs, CSIS
  • Eric Marat, National Defense University
  • Julia Ioffe, Former Senior Editor, New Republic
  • Colum Lynch, Senior Diplomatic Reporter, Foreign Policy
  • Carla Robbins, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Amb. Chas. Freeman, Retired from U.S. Foreign Service
  • David Satter, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

 

THE TRADEOFF: PRIVACY IN A DIGITAL WORLD

Synopsis:

The idea of “privacy” has undergone significant changes in the digital age, as has the idea of privacy “harm.” 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.

 

Guests:Privacy

  • Senator Ron Wyden, Senator from Oregon
  • James Woolsey, Former Director of the CIA
  • Barton Gellman, The Century Foundation
  • Peter Singer, New America
  • John Tye, Legal Director, AVAAZ
  • Mieke Eoyang, Director of National Security Program, Third Way
  • Carla Robbins, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Alex Sinha, Fellow, Human Rights Watch & ACLU

 

THE GREAT DIVIDE: SUNNI vs SHIA

Synopsis:

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. 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?

 

Guests:

  • Amb. Robert Ford, Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria
  • Shadi Hamid, Author, Temptations of Power
  • Amb. Barbara Bodine, Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen
  • William Luers, The Iran Project
  • Deborah Amos, International Correspondent, NPR
  • Carla Robbins, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Amb. Frank Wisner, Former U.S. Ambassador
  • Amb. John Hirsch, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University, SIPA
  • Geneive Abdo, Fellow, Stimson Center
  • Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern studies, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Amb. Chas. Freeman, Retired from U.S. Foreign Service
  • Mohamad Bazzi, Associate Professor of Journalism, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Frederic Hof, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
  • Kai Bird, Author, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames
  • Thomas Pickering, Former Under Secretary of State, Political Affairs
  • Fen Osler-Hampson, Director of Global Security & Politics Program, CIGI

 

INDIA RISING

Synopsis:

Inspired by its “top-down” model for growth, the world’s largest democracy has started taking its cues from China, one of America’s economic rivals. It’s a mindset that led to Modi’s election in 2014, and has signaled the developing economy’s desire for real change. Now, it’s up to the U.S. to determine how to best secure its interests as India asserts itself on the world stage.

Guests:India modi foreign policy

  • Frank Wisner, Former U.S. Ambassador to India
  • Jonah Blank, RAND Corporation
  • Dr. S. Jaishankar, Ambassador of India to the U.S.
  • Shashi Tharoor, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Indian Parliament
  • Barbara Crossette, Former The New York Times correspondent
  • Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan & S. Asia, Concil on Foreign Relations
  • Wendy Chamberlain, President, Middle East Institute
  • Kai Bird, Kai Bird, Author, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames
  • Tanvi Madan, Director of India Project, Brookings Institution

 

THE PROMISE OF AFRICA

Synopsis:

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. How can U.S. policy live up to its promise and values while securing its interests in the region?

 

Guests:Africa foreign policy

  • Mo Ibrahim, Philanthropist, Mo Ibrahim Foundation
  • Rosa Whitaker, President, Whitaker Group
  • Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, U.N. World Food Programme
  • Amb. Prudence Bushnell, Former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya
  • Linda Greenfield-Thomas, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. State Department
  • Gayle Smith, Senior Director, National Security Council
  • Mark Dybul, Executive Director, The Global Fund
  • Cindy McCain, Founding Member, Eastern Congo Inititative
  • Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern studies, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Deborah Amos, International Correspondent, NPR
  • Amb. John Campbell, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative
  • John Prendergast, Founding Director, Enough Project
  • Jason Stearns, Senior Fellow, NYU
  • Semhar Araia, Founder and Executive Director, DAWN
  • Amb. John Hirsch, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University, SIPA
  • William Easterly, Author, The Tyranny of Experts
  • Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

 

SYRIA: THE WORLD'S LARGEST REFUGEE CRISIS

Synopsis:

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 population in a matter of months. As Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and other neighbors strive to accommodate the millions of Syrians, the risk of allowing Syrians to become dependent on emergency aid and forming a “lost generation” remains. 
 

 

Guests:Syria foreign policy

  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America
  • Shadi Hamid, Author, Temptations of Power
  • Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Elias Bou Saab, Minister of Education, Lebanon
  • David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee
  • Amb. Robert Ford, Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria
  • Mohamad Bazzi, Associate Professor of Journalism, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Deborah Amos, International Correspondent, NPR
  • Gayle Smith, Senior Director, National Security Council
  • Rochelle Davis, Assoc. Professor of Anthropology, Georgetown University
  • Joseph Chamie, Former Director, U.N. Population Division
  • Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, U.N. World Food Programme
  • Geneive Abdo, Fellow, Stimson Center
  • Frederic Hof, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
  • William Luers, The Iran Project
  • Fen Osler-Hampson, Director of Global Security & Politics Prgroam, CIGI
  • Frank Wisner, Former U.S. Ambassador to India
  • Amb. R. James Woolsey, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency

 

MODERN DAY SLAVERY

Synopsis:

Human trafficking represents over $30 billion in international trade per annum and continues to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries. The U.S. and the international community have adopted various treaties and laws to prevent trafficking, but to truly understand and combat the issue, they must find the root causes enabling smugglers to commit millions into slavery.

 

Guests:Human trafficking foreign policy

  • Brady Myles, CEO, Polaris Project
  • Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times columnist and co-author, Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity
  • Carol Pier, Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, Department of Labor
  • Luis CedBaca, Ambassador, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
  • Gary Haugen, President, International Justice Mission
  • Maurice Middleberg, Executive Director, Free the Slaves
  • Louise Shelley, Professor at George Mason University, Director at TraCCC
  • Shandra Woworuntu, Founder, Survivor Economic Empowerment
  • Joseph Chamie, Former Director, U.N. Population Division
  • Sheryl WuDunn, Co-Author, Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity
  • Sarah Stillman, Staff Writer, The New Yorker
  • David Miliband, President and CEO, IRC
  • Cindy McCain, Founding Member, Eastern Congo Initiative
  • Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees

 

BUILDING BRAZIL

Synopsis:

Brazil — it’s the “B” in the acronym BRICS, five emerging economies once seen as soon-to-be superpowers. After economic troubles in the 1990s, Brazil has risen to new global prominence — it’s drawing in more investment, working on global issues ranging from climate change to peacekeeping, and even hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. But some of Brazil’s trickiest problems — staggering income inequality, weak civic institutions, poor regional leadership — have held it back.

 

Guests:Brazil foreign policy

  • Paulo Soter, Wilson Center
  • Shannon O'Neill, council on Foreign Relations
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group
  • Mark Langevin, BrazilWorks
  • Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society, Council of the Americas
  • Eric Hershberg, Director for the Center for Latin American & Lation Studies, American University
  • Barbara Weinstein, Professor of History, NYU
  • Barton Gellman, The Century Foundation
  • Mieke Eoyang, Director of National Security Program, Third Way

 


Reviews:

Even handed exploration of problems facing the USA & the world at this moment in time. Opinions of politicians and experts from both sides of the aisle are given equal weight. Never mind the narrow minded reviewers who might call this propoganda because it happens to contain comments with which they do not agree. Watch it. Listen to the opinions on all sides of the issue and THINK. FOR YOURSELF. The "great decisions" here have not yet been made. Your vote and your letters & e-mails to legislators can make a difference but you need to know what is going on in order to do this. A good example is President Obama's recent decision to go to Congress for permission to intervene in Syria. It was the American people speaking up and demanding that the Constitution's mandate be followed that influenced his actions! America's best hope for the future is a well informed electorate. Programs like this are of immense value.

20 out of 20 members found this review helpful

 

These videos are part of a program from the Foreign Policy Association called Great Decisions. In my opinion it is a great program and my wife and I have been involved for several years. Groups are formed locally and get together to have a informed discussion on the topics. You can go the Great Decisions site to get more information. The topics covered each year are certainly relevant to the world we live in and being informed from sources other than the media can't hurt.

19 out of 19 members found this review helpful

 

This is somewhat of a classier more educated version of VICE. Not in that oddball showcase like VICE can be, but in those important stories that are simply uncovered by most media, this tries to tackle some of them. They interview groups of experts from varying backgrounds and ask their opinions on the issue at hand. Important questions, interesting topics, and practical answers. Take what you hear with a grain of salt, do your own research on the topic as well, but for a half hour show on an important global topic, it does a good job. I give this show a B+.

17 out of 17 members found this review helpful

 

Great topics, impressive contributors. Why aren't more shows like this produced for the public?