On September 17, 2015, The Institute of World Politics hosted a panel discussion with moderator Professor Albert Santoli and panelists Colonel Michael Dziedzic, Ambassador Kenneth P. Moorefield, and Mr. Benjamin C. Works. Prof. Santoli began by introducing two topics of the lecture: (1) what constitutes strategy and (2) how a national strategy can influence human relations on all levels. He also noted that the panel would address some challenges we face in modern times: namely natural phenomena and major shifts in population.
Professor Santoli emphasized that it is not only weather patterns that will influence strategy, but food and water shortages as well. He gave an example to make his point clear. In California, farms and vineyards are currently suffering from an “unprecedented water shortage.” He mentioned that weather cycles, the periodic alterations of space radiation, and solar flares can all affect the economy and technology of the world. These natural changes can have crucial implications for the relationships between nations. He closed his introduction by mentioning that many people think history is not truly important and culture is shaped through technology, but he stated that, “nevertheless, there is a long cultural DNA inside of us that shapes events which technology cannot control.” Amb. Moorefield then spoke as part of the panel; however, his remarks were off the record.
The next speaker was Colonel Michael Dziedzic. He began his segment by suggesting how areas experiencing conflicts should be stabilized if possible, but some other nations may be too difficult to influence due to political or economic conditions. He also addressed methods of intervention that may be more successful in dealing with conflict-engaged nations and the implementation of peace-processes therein. He notes that a fully-formed strategy must be assembled before intervention can occur. He continues to cite various examples of different strategies used throughout history, but reminded the audience that each strategy must be tailored to the unique circumstances at hand.
The final speaker was Benjamin C. Works. Mr. Works is a defense and foreign affairs consultant with a long record of public service at various levels. Mr. Works presented a different point of view in comparison to Col. Dziedzic. He emphasized the importance of cultural intelligence and appreciation of foreign experiences. Without an understanding of the thoughts and ideas of those with whom we wish to collaborate, our efforts would be in vain. He proceeded to remark that even though authoritarian forms of government are distasteful to American sensibilities, there are certain instances where their methods provide a form of order. He followed by mentioning that the destruction of such power structures may actually produce even more detestable oppression. Ultimately, he rested in the conclusion that altruistic adventurism is mostly counter-productive. He supported this thesis by examining the case study of Gaddafi’s demise in Libya. In observing this chain of events, it became clear that chaos was created in spite of the good intentions of intervening powers. He closed his remarks by calling for a change. “We are repeating historical mistakes over and over again, and that has to stop,” he said.