In This Section

Great Decisions Program 2019 

The 2019 Great Decisions in Foreign Policy programming will take place on Saturday, Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23, 2019, in Johnson Auditorium, located in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business on Coastal Carolina University’s campus (119 Chanticleer Drive W.). Admission is free and open to the public. A coffee social will begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by the 10 a.m. to noon presentation and discussion. This year’s four topics include:  

Michael Murphee (396x396) Great Decisions Feb 2019Feb 2: Decoding U.S.-China Trade with Michael Murphree 

Though arguably the most advanced economy in the world, the United States still uses centuries-old numbers to measure trade. These antique numbers mangle understanding of the U.S.-China trade relationship, shrinking America’s true economic size and competitiveness, while swelling China’s. Bad numbers give rise to bad policies that ultimately kill U.S. jobs and cede market share to China. What other tools can the United States employ to counter China’s unfair trade practices? There are several available, yet they remain mostly unused. (Overview courtesy of Jeremy Haft

Michael Murphree is an assistant professor of International Business at the Darla Moore School at the University of South Carolina. Professor Murphree’s primary research interests include globalization, innovation in emerging economies, technology standards and market formation, and intellectual property rights. His research considers China in comparative perspective with other emerging economies and the developed West. He has conducted field research in China since 2007 and speaks fluent Mandarin. Professor Murphree has published multiple peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as a book, chapters in edited volumes, and numerous commissioned reports for groups including the Global Commission on Internet Governance and the U.S. National Academies. His book (co-authored with Dan Breznitz), The Run of the Red Queen: Government, Innovation, Globalization, and Economic Growth in China, was published in 2011 and was the winner of the 2012 British International Studies Association Susan Strange Best Book Award and bronze medalist for the 2012 Axiom Business Book Award for International Business/Globalization. He teaches Globalization and International Business (IBUS 310) and Comparative Innovation Systems (IBUS 429). He has also taught Political Economy of Innovation in China and Introduction to International Political Economy.

LaMesha Craft (396x396) Great Decisions Feb 2019 Feb. 9: Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics with LaMesha Craft

Cyber conflict is a new and continually developing threat, which can include foreign interference in elections, industrial sabotage and attacks on infrastructure. Russia has been accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential elections in the United States, and China is highly committed to using cyberspace as a tool of national policy. Dealing with cyber conflict will require new ways of looking at 21st century warfare. Is the United States prepared to respond to such threats? (Overview courtesy of Richard Andres)

LaMesha Craft holds a doctorate in public policy and administration with a concentration in homeland security policy and coordination. She joined the CCU staff in 2018. Before full-time teaching, she served 20 years of active duty in the U.S. Army as an All-Source Intelligence Warrant Officer. She has provided strategic and operational intelligence analysis of nation-state and non-state threats to U.S. interests, policy, data, and networks in/around Asia, Europe, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, Southwest Asia. She has also worked overseas in Kosovo, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq. Dr. Craft has presented research in conferences and webinars on the threats of agro-terrorism and the potential for anomie; setting the conditions for community development and competence during crises; and emerging threats during post-normal times.

Abelardo Rodriguez (396x396) Added 1/14/19 Great Decisions Feb 2019Feb. 16: The United States and Mexico: Partnership Tested with Abelardo Rodriguez 

The United States and Mexico have a long, intertwined history, with both countries prominently featured in each other’s politics and agendas. The war on drugs, immigration and trade issues have taxed the relationship over the years. What impact will new leadership in both countries have on this crucial partnership? (Overview courtesy of Michael Shifter and Bruno Binetti)

Abelardo Rodriguez is Professor and Researcher in the Department of International Studies at the Universidad Iberoamericana, in Mexico City since January 2017. He is a member of the National System of Researchers of CONACYT Level II and a member of the International Studies Association and Vice President of the Mexican Association of International Studies (2017-2019). He has taught at the University of California, Study Abroad Program; the University of San Francisco; the Center for Naval Superior Studies of the Navy of Mexico; and the Mexican National Defense College, among others. In the same way, he has taught courses for members of the Federal Public Administration. He has been a lecturer in different universities abroad such as Columbia University; Georgetown University; University of California, Berkeley; Duke University; Queen's University; Dalhousie University; Institute of Developing Economies and the University of Sofia in Japan; and Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.  He has also participated in international seminars as a speaker and organizer at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., the Center for Naval Superior Studies of the Navy of Mexico and the University of Guadalajara where he was Professor and Researcher. Among his books are, In the Entrails of Goliath, the US policy and its relationship with Mexico (Aguilar, 2001); The Bush Dynasty and the "New American Century” (Aguilar 2003); The Urgent Democratic Security. The Relationship of Mexico and the United States (Taurus, 2008); Co-author of North American Regional Security: A trilateral framework? (Lynne Rienner 2012); and Coordinator of Common Agendas and Differences in the Security of North America: Where do we come from? Where are we? Where do we want to go? (CESNAV-UDG, 2012). He has published articles in a number of academic journals in the United States and Mexico.  He has done research in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and of course, in Mexico. He earned a PhD in International Relations from the University of Miami, a Master’s in Foreign Affairs degree from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the National Autonomous University (UNAM) in Mexico City. His website is

Will Stevens (396x396) Great Decisions Feb 2019Feb. 23: State of the State Department and Diplomacy with Will Stevens

During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Many positions in the State Department have never been filled, and meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now, and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries? (Overview courtesy of Nicholas Burns)

Will Stevens began work as the Director of the Foreign Service Institute’s Public Diplomacy (PD) Training Division in June 2017.  Mr. Stevens is an experienced PD-coned Foreign Service Officer with overseas experience in Russia, Turkmenistan, Israel, and Belarus, as well as experience in Washington in the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Bureau of African Affairs.   He received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy in 2014 for his work leading the U.S. Government’s Interagency Task Force on countering Russian propaganda during the Ukraine crisis. Mr. Stevens joined the Foreign Service Institute from the Bureau of African Affairs, where he was a Senior Advisor on countering violent extremism.  He previously worked as Spokesperson for the Africa Bureau, where he directed the public affairs planning and messaging for the 2014 U.S.-Africa Heads of State Summit, which brought together 50 African leaders in Washington for the first time.  Mr. Stevens was the Spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 2014-2016, where his team’s work was recognized in the Public Diplomacy Council’s annual “Ten Best” for the “Best Use of Social Media by an Embassy.”  He has also served as Chief of Staff at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, chief of public affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan, and in the press and cultural affairs offices at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. A native of Great Falls, Virginia and a graduate of Brigham Young University, Mr. Stevens is married with five children.  He is an avid football and basketball player and addicted Twitter user - @Wbstevens.

Companion reader: Companion reader textbooks are published by the Foreign Policy Association and may be purchased online. A limited number of books will also be for sale at the event for $40.

Parking: Parking on Coastal Carolina’s campus is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Please obey all posted campus parking information. 

Handicapped parking: Designated parking for those with special needs is available in all campus parking areas. Patrons must display the required handicapped-parking permit.