Present-Day Security Challenges: Thinking Outside a Much Bigger Box

Instructor:  Dick Topping

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class cancelled by instructor

The international system has been undergoing a generational change for over a decade, and U.S. national security issues are far more numerous and complex today than when President Truman created the National Security Council (NSC) in 1947. Although the list of major geopolitical challenges remains much as it was 20 years ago, the potential threats to our well-being now go well beyond those traditionally on the NSC’s agenda. Among the “new” concerns meriting our attention are climate change, future pandemics, scientific-technological advances, and the like.

Each session will review the state of play regarding some traditional concerns – resurgent Russia, the rise of China, uncertainty on the Korean peninsula, unrest in the Muslim world, and divisions among our European allies, to name a few. Each session will also offer a free-wheeling discussion about whether potential natural disasters, devastating epidemics, etc., deserve as much attention as more traditional worries get from U.S. national security experts today. Job-one is, of course, to get our domestic house in order.

Dick Topping has been a student of Russian, East European, and Chinese affairs for 60 years. He spent 30 years at CIA, serving as a senior analyst for Soviet-Russian domestic and foreign affairs, before retiring in June, 1995, and he has now lived in Belfast for 23 years. Dick graduated from Lehigh University in 1959; he received his M.A. in Public Law and Government from Columbia University in 1964 and a certificate from its Russian Institute in 1965. He has previously taught nine courses at Senior College, primarily on U.S. National Security and Intelligence Issues, or Russia’s Evolution under President Vladimir Putin.