More on The Trans Pacific Partnership

October 28th, 2016

There was a lot of information shared and positions communicated on Wednesday, October 26th, about the Trans-Pacific-Partnership.  For more information here is a link to the website.


Good Reading!!

2016 Topics Fall Update

October 11th, 2016

The fall update on the 2016 Great Decisions topics is now available.

Go to 

Or get the PDF 2016-topics-fall-update

2017 Topic Synopses

September 29th, 2016

Here are brief synopses of the 2017 Great Decisions Topics.  


The future of Europe: By Andrew Moravcsik

The outcome of the United Kingdom referendum on EU membership sent shockwaves across the globe. It even caught British voters by surprise. The European Union has helped secure peace in Europe for the past 70 years. Now it faces an uncertain future. Amid a refugee crisis, lingering financial recession and the constant specter of terrorism, unity seems more imperative than ever. But the Brexit vote underscores the complexities of integrating an extremely diverse continent. What will post-Brexit Europe look like, and how can U.S. foreign policy adapt?


Trade and politics: By Jeremy Haft

The U.S. political mood toward trade has gone sour. One need look no further than the 2016 presidential contest for the popular narrative: trade means that China wins, at America’s expense. But do the numbers support that conclusion? The metrics used to gauge economic strength—Gross Domestic Product and balance of trade—have not kept up with the realities of modern manufacturing. Obtaining an accurate picture of U.S. economic stature requires a critique of those numbers. Only then can the U.S. develop appropriate policy solutions for the challenges at hand.

Conflict in the South China Sea: By Bernard D. Cole

The South China Sea is a locus of competing territorial claims, and China its most vocal claimant. Beijing’s interest has intensified disputes with other countries in the region in recent years, especially since China has increased its naval presence. Despite rising international pressure, including an unfavorable ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, China staunchly defends its policies in the region. Preventing tensions from boiling over is a matter of careful diplomacy.

Saudi Arabia in Transition: By Lawrence G. Potter

As Saudi Arabia struggles to adjust to the drastic decline in oil revenue, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman attempts to boldly transform the country and shift more power to the younger generation. At the same time, many countries such as the U.S. point out the lack of democracy, women’s rights and human rights in Saudi Arabia, and blame its promotion of Wahhabism, an extremely conservative version of Islam, for creating jihadists. Bipartisan criticism of Saudi Arabia is rising in Congress. Both countries need each other, but they are at a crossroads in bilateral relations.


U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum: By Jonathan Chanis

What is the effect of U.S. petroleum security on foreign policy? For 45 years, the country has alternated between periods of energy security and insecurity, sometimes able to wield petroleum as a useful instrument of foreign policy, sometimes not. Despite the so-called “energy revolution,” the U.S. today is by no means disentangled from foreign dependence and global trends. In order to be successful, policymakers must recognize both petroleum security circumstances and patterns in the relationship between petroleum and foreign policy.


Latin America’s political pendulum: By Michael Shifter and Bruno Binetti

The pendulum of Latin American politics is swinging rightward once again. Yet as the “pink tide” recedes, the forces of change have more to do with socioeconomics than ideology. Dramatic economic and political crises have coincided in countries like Brazil and Venezuela. Still, the final result for Latin America may be the emergence of centrist, pragmatic modes of governance, and with them, opportunities for the U.S. to improve relations. The new administration must look beyond the neoliberal model of the 1990s, and develop an approach to relations fit for the 21st century.

Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan: By Austin Long

Major internal conflict has plagued Afghanistan for four decades. The U.S., for its part, has conducted military operations in the country nearly continuously since 9/11. Today, war with the Taliban persists, and tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan have gradually deteriorated. As his time in office drew to a close, President Obama limited further withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The incoming administration has a choice: will it maintain the status quo, completely reverse the Obama administration drawdown or withdraw completely? Does the U.S. face a no win situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Nuclear Security: By Todd Stephen Sechser

Nuclear nonproliferation was a top priority for the Obama administration. While the Iran Deal was a diplomatic victory toward this end, major threats persist from both state and non-state actors. Countries like North Korea, Russia, and India and Pakistan continue to challenge nonproliferation efforts. The possibility that terrorists will carry out an attack using a “dirty bomb,” made from captured nuclear materials, looks increasingly real. In a fractious world, which way forward for U.S. nuclear security policy?

2016 Topics Winter Update

March 21st, 2016

The Winter update for the 2016 Topics is now available from Foreign Policy Association.  Go to the following link to view. In addition to this update, the Resource pages on have been updated to include the more recent news and issues.

Winter 2016 update

About Tucson Great Decisions ( article)

June 23rd, 2014

Click on this link to read an FPA  article about Tucson Great Decisions.  Its good to share our story nationally.


January 8th, 2014

This year, FPA is providing more online supplemental content than ever. Check out the new topic resources, featuring things like printable glossaries, blogs, a list of people to follow on Twitter, podcasts, recommended readings, books and organizations.


National Opinion Ballots now ONLINE

January 8th, 2014

Remember to fill out your 2014 opinion ballots!  The 2014 National Opinion Ballot is available this year exclusively online. Now you can make your voice heard with just a click of a button.


Does “R2P” apply to the Syrian Intervention Question?

August 28th, 2013

There is a lot of rhetoric on the news and in congress regarding how we should respond to the situation in Syria.  Much of it focuses on this as an internal US action. Is this simply an unjustified internal US action or is it justified under “R2P”?

Should the US intervene based on the UN “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P)  policy, even though the UN seems unable to achieve the Security Council consensus needed for action?

What should be the process?

Please leave comments in reply to this blog.


Great Decisions Issues and Foreign Policy News Quizzes

March 18th, 2013

Are you interested in a “fun” way to check your knowledge of some of the foreign policy issues facing us?  If so, try this link to FPA’s Great Decisions quizzes.

Great Decisions Quizzes