The Empires Strike Back: Can America Avoid Major War in the Next 18 Months?

Tuesday, March 15th 2016 at 6:00pm – Dr. Michael Vlahos presents a compelling report on the present state of geopolitical affairs.

6:00 – 6:30 PM – Pre-Event Networking
6:30 PM – Dr. Vlahos’ Presentation

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The Grand Salon, The 3 West Club, 3 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019

The Empires Strike Back: Can America Avoid Major War in the Next 18 Months?

The dynamics of the world system have shifted in the past 15 years. The United States is no longer the unquestioned global Hegemon. Rivals seem ready to push the boundaries between competition and all-out war. What is at stake is the ability of America to lead the world system, or be forced to pull back and let a jostling gaggle of avaricious great powers compete for the spoils.

Why is the United States being so directly challenged? Can it deflect such challenge without risking major war? Is America still up to being the world leader? If not, what sort of global community — or chaos — will succeed the era of American free security? If we can commit to renewing again a vision of American leadership, what will such a commitment require — when other great powers have signaled that they are all too willing to take us on? Is another great war inevitable now?

Adding to a threatening mix of competition and conflict, are abiding historical and civilization undertones. Great power struggle today is infused with longstanding fights and heroic contention going back centuries. The nexus is in the Middle East, where Latin “Crusader” powers (Western Europe and the US) are locked in battle with a resurgent Islam, with aspiring Kurds, with a Neo-Ottoman Turkey, and most pointedly now, determined Byzantine Orthodox interests, led aggressively by Russia — which represents itself as the only defender of ancient Orthodox Christian communities in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

Other deep historical subtexts also inform confrontations we see emerging in East Asia, which are just as richly ancient as they are deadly-passionate.

All the impending confrontations we face in Europe, the Levant, and East Asia have deeper subtexts — all of which, after the passage of centuries, still drive passionate narratives that fuel the explosive confrontations we face today.

We need to know not simply what is happening, but also, why and how history has brought us to this place, and why defusing these passions must be the central concern of Americans, if we are ever to insure that — instead of blowing up in the next 18 months — the world system we have built survives and prospers.

Michael Vlahos

Michael Vlahos, PhD, has taught in the Global Security Studies program at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Arts and Sciences since 2011. He is a professor in the Strategy and Policy Department at the US Naval War College, a position he has held since 2010. During the 1980s he was the Director of the Security Studies Program at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies. He has also worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the Center for Naval Analyses, the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Dr. Vlahos has been a foreign affairs and national security commentator on contract with CNN, appearing three to five times weekly for seven years, including stints as a regular on Crossfire and Larry King Live. He appeared regularly on Good Morning America and Canada AM as national security commentator. Since 2001 he has been a regular featured guest of the John Batchelor Show on WABC.
He received his Ph.D. from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University and A.B. from Yale College.


Recent Books & Monographs
Counterterrorism, American Exceptionalism, and Retributive Justice, forthcoming Library of Social Science: 2013.
Fighting Identity: Sacred War and World Change, Praeger: 2009
Two Enemies: Non-State Actors and Change in the Muslim World, Laurel: The Johns Hopkins  Applied Physics Laboratory, 2005.
Culture’s Mask: War and Change after Iraq, Laurel: The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, 2004.
Terror’s Mask: Insurgency within Islam, Laurel: The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, 2002.

Recent Articles and Essays
“The Civilizational Significance of Zombies,” The Atlantic Monthly, June 18, 2013.
“Could Body Armor Have Saved Millions in World War?,” The Atlantic Monthly, April 30, 2013.
“China’s Millennial Doubts,” The Globalist, November 10, 2012.
“Ottoman-America,” Huffington Post, September 28, 2012,
“America’s Dark Shadows: Aurora, Sikhs, and Guns,” The Globalist, August 7, 2012,
“What ‘Call of Duty’ Shows About How War Changed America,” The Atlantic Monthly, June 18, 2012.


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