Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
The Future Golden Age
Washington, DC- April 8, 2013- David Brin, a world–renowned science fiction author and the first speaker for Bold Ideas speaker series at the Potomac Institute, brings a different prospective when looking at the future, or as he refers to “the golden age”. Brin firmly believes that technology and science will help solve a majority of life’s hard problems, but humans are holding back because of a “crisis of confidence”.
Brin reminded the audience that today humans have powers that many believed centuries ago only gods possessed, such as light with a flick of a finger and flying in the sky. Humans have changed the structure of society from a pyramid arrangement, where a few ruled, to a more leveled field, from clans and tribes to multi-organization networks. Technology is the “game changer” for the future. Achievements, such as led lights and medical advancements, show how technology has enhanced the way of living. According to Brin, this is the “age of amateurs”. Humans educate themselves using technology, making it where they do not need professionals or experts for every problem that is faced.
Brin stated there are endless possibilities for the future. The future could consist of world destruction by environmental carelessness and nuclear war, or humans could be become more technically advanced than could ever be imagined. Societies will always have foes, it is only a matter of time till one breaks in, but that is why humans need to anticipate what can happen in the future. An example would be 9/11, where an enemy did the unimaginable. Everyday American citizens were the heroes saving each other’s lives.
Brin addressed that humans should not be afraid to take risks. Humans set laws that limit them, thinking they are protecting themselves, but in reality it is banding technology for the future. Laws should be used to monitor competition, to level the playing field so new players can emerge. Brin expresses that, instead of humans being afraid of what the government sees they should be more interested in adding light: most information age dilemmas are solved by more light, not less, Brin said.
As we continue in the 21st century, problem solving will require four elements. The first two are already happening: art (visualization, simulation, games, openness) and anticipation (analytics, modeling, data gathering and accountability). The other two are what is needed: resilience (agile communication, self-organization, transparency, dispersed expertise) and discourse (analytic tools, dispute resolution, better interface).
Humans have a hard time adapting, but in the long run they always adapt, Brin concluded.
As the European Union debates classifying Hizballah as a terrorist organization in light of recent events in Bulgaria and Cyprus, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosted an event titled “Combating Hizballah’s Global Network.” Led by Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies Director, Professor Yonah Alexander, and Potomac Institute CEO Mike Swetnam, a panel of experts discussed various aspects of the Hizballah threat, as well as the steps the international community can take to mitigate it. The three-person panel consisted of Dr. Matt Levitt from the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Professor Amit Kumar of Georgetown University and Dan Mariaschin, Executive Vice President at B’nai B’rith International. After their individual presentations, the panelists then answered questions from the audience.
The event was opened by Mr. Swetnam and Prof. Alexander, who introduced the panel, provided some background information and then turned the floor over to the first speaker, Dr. Levitt. Dr. Levitt, author of the forthcoming book “Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God,” covered many topics in his speech but focused on the complex relationship between Hizballah and Iran as well as the current debate in the EU on whether or not to classify Hizballah as a terrorist organization. Dr. Levitt stressed that the relationship between Iran and Hizballah is more complicated than many would make it seem; Hizballah is much more than Iran’s proxy, and has numerous activities and interests, outside of those it shares with Iran. Furthermore, Dr. Levitt warned against giving Hizballah a “get out of jail free card,” by refusing to punish it for its illegal activities – such as the Burgas bus bombing – simply because of all the good and legitimate things it does. This unwillingness to punish Hizballah is manifested in debates like the one going on in the EU right now; and while Dr. Levitt acknowledges that the Europeans’ hesitance is largely based on genuine concern that designating Hizballah would destabilize Lebanon, he argued that such a stance ignores the single most destabilizing force in modern Lebanon – Hizballah itself.
Professor Kumar followed Dr. Levitt’s comments with an extended discussion about Hizballah’s finances, particularly as they relate to South American criminal networks and the North American banking system. Examples of Hizballah’s penetration into North American financial markets included the recent Lebanese Canadian Bank case as well as various other money-laundering schemes that have been discovered over the years, ranging from cigarette to used car-smuggling rings. Also stressed was the importance of working with Latin American governments to help mitigate the threat posed by Hizballah’s links with criminal groups ranging from Mexico to Colombia and especially in the Tri-Border Region. Prof. Kumar noted, though, regardless of the origin of Hizballah’s funds, the funds’ destination is the global banking system and he pushed for the development of a “multi-front, concerted strategy” that would make it much harder for Hizballah to move and spend the money it raises both legally and illegally.
Building on the South American theme, Dan Mariaschin focused on the 1992 and 1994 Hizballah-linked bombings in Argentina. In the experience of Argentina, Mr. Mariaschin found a cautionary tale for Europe regarding how it decides to respond to the Burgas bombing and the arrest, and subsequent trial, of an admitted Hizballah operative in Cyprus. The initial Argentine investigations were fraught with mismanagement, but still turned up ample evidence against Islamic Jihad, Iran and Hizballah. Various Iranian officials – including the current defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi – have been implicated in the bombing and have issued arrest warrants issued for them by Argentina, as well as Interpol. Disconcertingly, though, Argentina recently signed an agreement with Iran to establish a joint “Truth Commission” to investigate the 1994 AMIA bombing – a Truth Commission that Mr. Mariaschin said would be anything but. Thus, as Argentina moves in the wrong direction, vis-à-vis dealing with Hizballah’s terrorist threat, Mr. Mariaschin argued that it is even more important for Europe to set the tone for how countries in every hemisphere respond to Hizballah’s terrorist actions.
Join academics and former government officials to disucss Hizballah's terrorist operations, red lines and strategies to combat Hizballah regionally and globally. Speakers include Yonah Alexander (ICTS), Dr. Matthew Levitt (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), Dr Amit Kumar (Georgetown University), and Dan Mariaschin (B'nai B'rith).
|Professor Yonah Alexander, Ph.D., Member, Board of Regents, Senior Fellow, and Director, International Center for Terrorism Studies presents a new report on Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel: Global Reach and Implications. PDF copy is now available for download.|
|Terrorism in North Africa & the Sahel.pdf||2554 Kb|
International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism: Review of 2012 and Outlook for 2013
Wednesday, February 27th 2013 The National Press Club
Moderator: Professor Yonah Alexander
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
- Al Gray, Marine
- CReST Fellowship Announcement
- US News: Better Mental Healthcare Is Key to Preventing Mass Gun Violence
- Senior Vice President Jamie Barnett on Federal News Radio
- USMC Returning Commander Speaker Series Event
- PICC Director Amb. David Smith in Defense News
- Praise for #CyberDoc Book
- Senior Vice President Jamie Barnett Comments on Public Safety System
- PICC Director Amb. David Smith in Foreign Policy
- C-SPAN Coverage: ICTS Event on Middle East Security
Page 4 of 102
Editors: Michael Swetnam and Tim Sample
- "Equipment Reset: Getting the Marine Corps Down to Fighting Weight" April 17 April 17, 2013 (15:00 - 16:00)
- ICTS: Combating Hizballah's Global Network April 04, 2013 (12:00 - 14:00)
- Brown Bag Lunch: Featuring CNS Visiting Scholars' Presentations August 09, 2012 (12:00 - 13:00)
- Combating Olympic Terrorism: National and International Lessons July 25, 2012 (12:00 - 14:00)
- Fundamentals of Chinese Information Warfare and Impacts on the Western World May 11, 2012 (12:00 - 14:00)
Equipment Reset: Getting the Marine Corps Down to Fighting Weight, on Wednesday, April 17, 3 - 4 p.m, at Potomac Institute of Policy Studies. Event will be lead by LtGen William M. Faulkner, USMC, Deputy Commandant, Installations and...
Combating Hizballah’s Global Network, Thursday, Apr 4, 12-2
Hosted by Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies
At the Potomac Institute, 901 N. Stuart St, Ste 200
Inter-University Center for...
Brown-Bag Lunchtime Lecture Series
Thursday, 9. August 2012
2nd Floor Conference Room
CNS Summer Visiting Scholars' Research Lectures
Ilona Brueckmann, Carnegie-Mellon University, PA.
Realities Amongst Myth: Constructs of...
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' International Center for Terrorism Studies will host a panel discussion, Combating Olympic Terrorism: National and International Lessons, on Wednesday, July 25, at the Institute. Registration is required. Contact...
The Potomac Institute Cyber Center will host a special program on Fundamentals of Chinese Information Warfare and Impacts on the Western World on Friday, May 11, from 12 noon-2 pm at the Institute, 901 North Stuart Street, Suite 200, Arlington, VA...