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Intelligence Squared, Cyber Warfare and Entertainment Extravaganzas

June 16, 2010

I attended the Intelligence Squared debate on Cyber Warfare on June 8, in Washington, DC. Those of you who read my blogs regularly know that I am an avid podcast listener (I have a one-hour commute each way to work). One of the podcasts in my regular rotation is the Intelligence Squared debates.

The "Cyber War Threat" Debate

June 10, 2010

I mentioned back in April that I was going to be out of DC on June 8 -- but that if I had been around, I would have been sure to attend the Intelligence Squared debate at the Newseum on the motion that "The Cyber War Threat Has Been Grossly Exaggerated." Well, the results are in, and the "against the motion" side won big.

Threat of Cyber War is Real According to Audience in Washington D.C.

June 09, 2010

On Tuesday evening, a standing-room-only crowd at Washington, DC’s Newseum heard four of the country’s leading cyber experts discuss key issues related to the threats and challenges of the nation’s cyber security as they debated the motion “The cyber war threat has been grossly exaggerated.” The team arguing against the motion carried the day.

In Debate, Audience Finds that the Cyberwar Threat is Not Exaggerated

June 09, 2010

Resolved: The cyberwar threat has been grossly exaggerated. True or false?
That was the question put to four top security experts last night in a public debate at the Newseum here in the nation's capitol. The debate, which was organized by the Intelligence Squared U.S. Foundation and sponsored by Neustar, was designed to cut through the hype surrounding cyberwar and help determine how serious the threat might be.

Cyber Threats Yes, But Is It Cyber War?

June 08, 2010

Last night Intelligence Squared and Neustar conducted a fascinating, Oxford style debate on whether the threat of cyber war has been exaggerated. A packed house at the Newseum in Washington, DC heard four cyber heavyweights go toe-to-toe verbally both for and against the proposition that the threat has been exaggerated. The audience size was all the more impressive considering the competition on a very big night in DC—Stephen Strasberg was making his major league pitching debut, Conan O'Brien was in town and there was also a James Taylor/Carole King concert.

Evaluating the President’s Foreign Policy

May 16, 2010

The story of Barack Obama's presidency to this point has mostly been written in domestic and economic policy. But he came to office promising to change American policy and rhetoric toward the rest of the world, especially America's historic adversaries in Asia and the Mideast. There is no disputing that he has done that, but at what costs, and to what ends? This month's Intelligence Squared U.S. debate was on the proposition "Obama's foreign policy spells America's decline."

Lively Debate on Obama’s Foreign Policy

May 11, 2010

Has Barack Obama strengthened or weakened the U.S. in the eyes of the world through his foreign policy of engagement? In a lively encounter sponsored by Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates and held at the Skirball Center at NYU last night, Dan Senor, a journalist and Fox News commentator, scored the most dramatic point of the evening when he challenged General Wesley Clark and French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy to name one prominent world leader with whom Obama has established a close personal connection as a sign of national loyalty.

Majority in Sold-Out Intelligence Squared U.S. Audience Sides with Opposition

May 11, 2010

The sold-out crowd in New York heard four experts, each with strong policy and intellectual credentials, debate the motion “Obama’s Foreign Policy Spells America’s Decline.” Prior to the debate, 23% of the audience was in favor of the motion, 45 % were against it and 32% were undecided. When it was over, the side arguing against the motion carried the day with 34% of the audience supporting the motion, 58% rejecting it and a remaining 8% were undecided. The evening’s winning team, which debated against the motion included Bernard-Henri Lévy, the influential French philosopher and writer and Wesley Clark, retired General of the United States Army and a 2004 Candidate for President.

I’m Not Going To Be in D.C. on June 8….

April 13, 2010

... but if I were, I would be sure to go to this debate, by the US branch of the Intelligence Squared debate organization, on the proposition that "The cyber war threat has been grossly exaggerated."

Intelligence Squared U.S. Travels for First-Time-Ever to Washington D.C.

April 11, 2010

Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford-style debate series, an initiative of The Rosenkranz Foundation, announced today that it would travel to Washington, D.C. to host its first ever debate outside of New York City. On June 8, IQ2US will present a special live debate from Washington D.C.'s Newseum. With corporate underwriting support from Neustar, Inc., the debate will consider the motion, "The cyber war threat has been grossly exaggerated."

Too Close For Comfort?

February 12, 2010

Eleven minutes after Israel announced its independence in 1948, President Harry Truman recognized the new state, and American support has been crucial to -Israel's survival and a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy ever since.

Israel and America, or Israel and the Palestinians?

February 10, 2010

What are we talking about when we're talking about America's special relationship with Israel? To listen to the panelists at Tuesday night's Intelligence Squared debate arguing for the proposition that “The U.S. should step back from its special relationship with Israel,” we're talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Audience Decides America Should Step Back From Israel

February 10, 2010

After the four person debate and a round of thoughtful questions from the audience, the final vote ended with one of the closest results in Intelligence Squared US’s history. The team arguing in favor of the motion won the night with 49% of the audience voting for them. 47% were against the motion and only 4% remained undecided.

NY Audience Votes That “The U.S. Should Step Back from Its Special Relationship with Israel”

February 10, 2010

Roger Cohen won over New Yorkers by claiming: “Jihadi terrorism aimed at the United States is not primarily motivated perhaps by the Palestinian issue, but it is a major factor.”

NYT Columnist, Former Ambassador Stage Debate

February 10, 2010

The Intelligence Squared debate series has a cool gimmick: at the beginning, audience members vote on the resolution via little keypads at each seat; at the end, they vote again; whichever side changed the most minds “wins.” As last night’s debate began, it was exciting to find that 25% of the crowd voted “undecided,” meaning that many minds were open to persuasion as the four panelists debated the resolution, “The U.S. should step back from its special relationship with Israel.”

America’s Role in Mexico’s Drug War

December 08, 2009

Forty years ago, the United States government began a "war on drugs" whose cost so far is estimated at $1 trillion, and rising. In 2006, newly elected Mexican President Felipe Calderón began a crackdown on the drug-smuggling cartels—a "war on drugs" that really is a war, involving military troops and weapons and more than 10,000 dead so far. Americans buy drugs from the cartels and sell them guns, and Washington arguably provided the example for the Mexican government's hard-line tactics. So is America to blame for Mexico's drug war? That was the topic at last week's Intelligence Squared US debate at New York University.

Audience Overwhelmingly Decides America is Fueling the Drug War in Mexico

December 03, 2009

The team in favor of the proposition, America is to Blame for Mexico’s Drug War, scored an undisputed victory with 72% of the audience at the debate’s conclusion siding with them.

Can the War in Afghanistan Still Be Won?

October 18, 2009

From the magazine issue dated Oct 19, 2009
Only those who were in the room know what was said in the series of White House meetings about America's policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dick Takes Manhattan

October 18, 2009

Dick Cheney hadn't planned to speak, but others at the dinner in Manhattan noticed him growing a grimmer shade of grim. He was listening to Nicholas Burns, a former State Department official in Cheney's own Bush administration, wax eloquent about the virtue of diplomacy: how a new joint effort with France, Britain, Germany and even Russia and China could prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and terrorizing the Persian Gulf region and the world. In other words, President Barack Obama's position. The host asked if the former vice president wished to respond. Yes indeedy, he did.

The Other Side Was in the Last Throes, if You Will

May 14, 2009

We now know at least one reason former vice president Dick Cheney was taking the Acela up to New York on Monday morning: He was going to attend a debate on U.S. policy on Iran where his daughter Liz Cheney, former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, was arguing for the proposition that "Diplomacy With Iran Is Going Nowhere."

Cheney in Manhattan: 'A giant conspiracy' on Iran

May 11, 2009

Former Vice President Dick Cheney swung quietly through New York City Tuesday night to watch his daughter, Elizabeth, a former State Department official, argue the conservative side in a debate over American policy toward Iran, and to express his own skepticism of President Obama's promised negotiations.

Islam Is Dominated By Radicals

April 23, 2008

By the end of a spirited and high-level debate held here last week, many in the audience of about 400 dramatically shifted their opinions and agreed with the proposition that “Islam is dominated by radicals.”

The Cool Peace? Resolved: Russia is becoming our enemy again.

November 07, 2007

TUESDAY NIGHT MARKED the eleventh Intelligence Squared U.S. debate hosted at the Asia Society and Museum on Park Avenue. Generously endowed by the conservative philanthropist Robert Rosenkranz, IQ2US underwrites a series of intellectual exchanges modeled on the full-blooded forensic style of the Oxford Union, though given that the august society has lately invited speakers like Nick Griffin, head of the fascist British National Party, and David Irving, Holocaust denier in chief, one wonders if like so many other British traditions this one has better thrived by crossing the Atlantic.

Wary of the dragon?

May 30, 2007

Last week saw two events in Washington that illustrate the complexity of the Sino-US relationship. The first involved 15 ministers from China, led by Vice-Premier Wu Yi , who took part in a high-level economic dialogue. Some progress was made, including an agreement to double daily passenger flights from the US to China by 2012, worth an estimated US$5 billion to American airlines.

Legal Thinkers Clash in Debate on U.S. Surveillance

April 23, 2007

Better more domestic surveillance than another Sept. 11, 2001, type of attack on U.S. soil? That was the question in a lively, sold-out, Oxford-style debate sponsored by The Rosenkranz Foundation at the Asia Society's New York headquarters Wednesday night.