Great Decisions takes you beyond today’s headlines by providing a look at significant challenges facing the world. It covers timely issues such as Populism in Europe, Cyber Conflict, Border Walls and Nuclear Negotiations. We speak to the leaders who influence world policies and find out their hopes – and regrets – on the issues.

Episodic Synopses

E01 - Walled Off: Global Migration

Migration has become a hot political issue in Europe and the U.S. as hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict and poverty try to find sanctuary in more stable nations. Despite the heated rhetoric, migration is nothing new – previous migration waves have helped shape the world we live in. Is migration something that should be thwarted, or simply better-managed?

E02 - The Middle East: Regional Disorder

The Middle East is in turmoil. Almost a decade after the Arab uprisings; civil wars, failed states, and political repression characterize the region. Amidst this chaos global and regional powers are competing for influence. Washington must consider whether America's historical interests in the region are shifting.

E03 - Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future?

Nuclear weapons have not gone away, and the Trump administration has brought a new urgency, if not a new approach, to dealing with them. The President has met with Vladimir Putin as the New Start Treaty with Russia comes up for renewal in 2021, the first presidential summit ever with Kim Jong-un occurred to discuss denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and President Trump has decertified the Obama nuclear deal with Iran. To what degree should past nuclear talks guide future U.S. nuclear arms control negotiations? Can the art of the deal apply to stabilizing our nuclear future?

E04 - Turning the Tide: Populism in Europe

For decades, agreements like the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty have limited the spread of nuclear weapons and the destruction they can cause. But the existing nuclear order is now facing challenges from countries like North Korea and Iran – The New Nuclear Deal, next on Great Decisions.

E05 - Out of Balance: Trading with China

The world’s two most powerful countries are locked in an economic standoff, marked by escalating rhetoric and billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs. Join us as we assess the health of an unbalanced partnership, explore how global institutions can remain relevant in a changing world, and ask whether a trade agreement between China and the United States could prove the ultimate test for a president who takes pride in his ability to conclude a deal. A closer look at the American trade relationship with China.

E06 - Made in China

China has launched an aggressive new plan to transform its economy into a high-tech global powerhouse. But the initiative has the U.S. and a host of other nations crying foul, accusing China of disregard for intellectual property, unfair trade practices, discrimination against foreign firms, and cyber espionage. “Made in China.”

E07 - A Tested Relationship: The U.S. and Mexico

The U.S. relationship with Mexico has been in the spotlight in recent months because of the politically sensitive issue of immigration - plus strong rhetoric from the Trump administration. As neighbors, however, the two nations have a shared-interest in stopping cross-border crime, while keeping the doors open to trade --- issues that have helped shape discussions as both sides revisit their trading relationship.

E08 - The State of the State Department

Diplomats have been described as the “first line of defense” for the United States to ensure security for its citizens and to advance American economic interests overseas. But the US Department of State is facing new challenges as some in Washington have begun to question how America should approach the world. The future of American diplomacy, next on Great Decisions.

E09 - Revolution and Reform: The Making of Modern Iran

Countering Iran has been a foreign policy objective of U.S. administrations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The two countries clash over influence in a fractured region, all under the cloud of Iran’s threatening nuclear program. Domestically, Iran contends with unrest over its growing political and economic isolation. Now, nearly 40 years after the founding of the Islamic republic, a closer look at Iran.

E10 - War Powers: Congress and the President

The Constitution of the United States divides oversight of the military between the executive and legislative branches. However, since the September 11th attacks, three consecutive presidents have pushed the limits of their ability to use military force – and Congress has done little to stop them. What is Congress’ responsibility to oversee the use of force?

E11 - America’s Diplomats

For generations, American diplomats have shaped our history. They found support for our independence, helped our country grow westward, secure peace after World War Two, and met the challenge of communism. But too often their sacrifice goes unnoticed. Great Decisions takes a look into what those on the ground around the world do for the United States and how it impacts those of us at home.

E12 - The Iran Deal

The Iran nuclear deal promised to usher in a new era of relations between the United States and Iran. Great Decisions looks at how nuclear diplomacy has shaped relations between Washington and Tehran - a dynamic which will likely continue, with the decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

E13 - Father of Containment: The George Kennan Story

George Kennan was the architect of America’s Cold War strategy, but he remained an outsider who for half a century was one of the most outspoken critics of his country's foreign policy. His doctrine of containment offered an intermediate approach between appeasement and confrontation, but took on military connotations that left Kennan frustrated. Join us as we look at the life and legacy of George Kennan.