• 25 Sep 2020
    • 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM (PDT)
    • Online Zoom Meeting

    September Reading Group

    The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower
    by Michael Pillsbury


    Friday, September 25, 2020

    7:30 - 9:00 am PDT


    Online Zoom Meeting

    About the Book

    The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury is the recommended book by member Shashi Jasthi for the September book review session. Shashi believes that:

    1. Pillsbury raises some very important points that have not yet been discussed well enough in the U.S. Foreign Policy community.
    2. Pillsbury has the experience, skills, and a front-row to US-China relations for more than 40 years. So, it behooves us to pay attention to what he is saying.

    While the ground covered by this book is extensive, the main points raised by the author can be summarized as follows:

    1. Our China policy is guided more by what we want China to be, rather than the practical realization of what China is and what China wants to be.
    2. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is implementing a long-term plan to rewrite the world order to its own advantage. We are blind to that fact due to many reasons.
    3. Beyond a few China experts that have deep skills in Mandarin, Chinese History, and deep connections to a broad swath of the mainland Chinese society, the U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment’s understanding of China is shallow. We need to fix that on a war footing.
    4. To counter the CCP’s ‘marathon’ plan, we need to: (a) Understand the Warring States history and terminology that guides the CCP hawks (Ying Pai), (b) Understand, and work to counter some inherent asymmetries that exist in a competition between an open society as ours with a totalitarian state as China, (c) The CCP’s information warfare is multi-pronged and sophisticated. In addition to creating a carefully curated worldview for the masses within China, it distorts and weaponizes information in many countries, including the U.S. We need a plan to protect our information infrastructure, and (d) We need a cadre of professionals specifically trained for China – because China, ‘a Civilizational level’ adversary, thinks, plans and implements using paradigms that are foreign to us. We need more Sun Tzu than Clausewitz; more Go than Chess; and we need to understand the many layers of meaning in Mandarin speech that are opaque to a foreigner.

    Pillsbury’s 40-year ties with the CIA, FBI and the Pentagon places him in a unique position to describe China’s foreign policy. In January, 27, 2015 review of Pillsbury’s book, Wendall Winnick wrote that Pillsbury, like others, thought that the Nixon-China trade discussion would move China more into the liberal democratic political landscape, but what Pillsbury learned was “…it has been a failure…In short, China has failed to meet nearly all of our rose expectations. Instead, China has done everything it can to thwart reconstruction efforts and economic development.” Pillsbury says that China has a 100- year plan of world domination which date back to the planning of Mao in 1949.

    To kick off the book review, we propose these initial questions:

    1. After seeing the evidence presented in this book and its Notes, do you think there is a clear and present danger from the CCP? Or, is Michael Pillsbury being a bit of an alarmist?
    2. How do Michael Pillsbury’s conclusions about our China Policy align with the policy implemented by the Trump Administration (eg: Robert Lighthizer, Peter Navarro, etc.) and by the Foreign Policy ecosystem (eg: Nadia Schadlow, Richard Haass, etc.)?
    3. How do we avoid a see-saw foreign policy due to change of administrations between two parties that do not see eye to eye? How can we get a bi-partisan consensus on China policy that can outlast Xi Jinping?

    I am sure you have answers for these questions and the place for those answers is at the ZOOM PCFR book review session in September. We want your opinions, so please add this event to your calendar and register now.

    • 29 Sep 2020
    • 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM (PDT)
    • Online
    • 7

    Great Decisions Virtual Discussion: 

    The Philippines and the U.S.

    Moderated by Ambassador (ret) Douglas A. Hartwick

    Event Details

    September 29, 2020 | 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

    Virtual Zoom Meeting 

    Meeting login details will be shared in the registration confirmation email.

    Cost: Free to Members. Participants need to purchase the Great Decisions Briefing Book.

    Each session is limited to 20 participants.

    How to Participate

    1. Register to attend virtually

    2. Purchase the Briefing Book if you have not already

    3. Watch the topic video

    4. Join us for the Virtual Discussion

    Purchasing the Briefing Book

    Participants in the Great Decisions Virtual Discussion Series will need to order the Briefing Book that covers all 8 topics. Order the book as soon as possible as it could take up to a week to receive it after purchase. The cost is $32 for the entire Briefing Book.  


    About the Topic: The Philippines and the U.S.

    The Philippines has had a special relationship with the United States since the islands were ceded by Spain to the United States after the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century. However, since the election of Rodrigo Duterte, the country has pivoted more toward China, and away from the U.S. Duterte has also launched a large-scale war on drugs that many criticize for its brutality. What does the future hold for U.S, relations with the Philippines? Learn more about the topic by watching this video.


    About the Moderator

    Ambassador (ret) Douglas A. Hartwick

    During his State Department career, Amb Hartwick was responsible 1997-2000 for State's Office of Southeast Asian Maritime Affairs which included Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. During that time, the Philippines was hit during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis the United States negotiated the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement. The VFA governed the rules overseeing the presence of U.S. military forces stationed or training Filipino forces in the Philippines. In 2012, as State's Office of the Inspector General's team leader for embassy inspections, he led a 12 person inspection of embassy operations in Manila.

    The Great Decisions Series

    Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book, watching the video and meeting in a Discussion Group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. 


    • 01 Oct 2020
    • 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM (PDT)
    • Online

    Virtual Discussion

    The U.S. 2020 Election and Germany – Political, Economic and Strategic Implications

    On the Occasion of the 30th Anniversary of German Unification


    U.S. Ambassador JD Bindenagel

    Senior Professor, University of Bonn

    J.D. Bindenagel is a retired U.S. career diplomat and a long-time expert on Germany. During his career, he served in senior positions at the U.S. embassies in Bonn and East Berlin and at the State Department in Washington.

    In 1999, Mr. Bindenagel was appointed by President Bill Clinton as U.S. Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues. He also served as Special U.S. Negotiator for “conflict diamonds.”

    Following his diplomatic career, he was Vice President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Vice President at DePaul University, and subsequently founding Henry Kissinger Professor for Governance and International Security, Bonn University. Prior to his diplomatic career, he was assigned to the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division in Germany. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Read Amb. Bindenagel's Full Bio

    Germany from Peace to Power?
    Can Germany lead in Europe without dominating?

    by James D. Bindenagel

     About Amb. Bindenagel's Book


    FREE for PCFR Members

    $10 for Non-Members


    Thursday, October 1, 2020

    11:00 am-12:15 pm PDT


    Zoom Meeting

    Meeting link and instructions will be emailed prior to the event.

    Talking Points

    • Events in Germany, from the 1989 coming down of the Berlin Wall to unification in 1990, gave the nation a new identity and have helped raise it to its commanding position in Europe today.
    • In three decades, Germany has transformed itself into an international powerhouse through geo-economic and geo-political decisions about the European Monetary Union and an enhanced role in international security.
    • Today, partnering in leadership, Germany is in a position to empower and overcome European international irrelevance in a time of Great Power politics.
    • In addition, the U.S. needs a robust transatlantic partnership. Given the 2020 U.S. election and world order of systemic fluidity, a key question is how to uphold Western democratic values while Western power is in decline.
    • Re-inventing Germany and the transatlantic relationship to address the dilemmas of conflict in a “free world vs. the authoritarians” are central challenges of our time.
    • Europe will remain the bulwark of transatlantic relations, united in Western values as America’s partner. German leadership in a democratic Europe should help sustain the West in the transatlantic partnership.
    • The U.S. and Europe, both anchored in democratic values, can argue over conflicting interests.
    • In this context, and as Europe and the U.S. reshape their relationship, Germany needs to play a central leadership role and step up to security, economic, and political challenges from China, Russia, and even the U.S.
    • There is a bipartisan U.S. consensus about China’s global systemic rivalry. How will Germany (and Europe more broadly) position itself in this struggle for global supremacy?

    • 06 Oct 2020
    • 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM (UTC-07:00)
    • Online

    Virtual Discussion

    Foreign Policy Priorities of a Biden Administration with Tony Blinken

    Co-founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors

    Tony is Co-founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors. Tony has held senior foreign policy positions in two administrations – including Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, the nation’s number two diplomat. Tony helped to lead diplomacy in the fight against ISIL, the rebalance to Asia, and the global refugee crisis, while building bridges to the innovation community.

    Before that, Tony served as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. He chaired the Deputies Committee, the administration’s principal forum for deliberating foreign policy. During the first Obama term, he was National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden.

    From 2002 to 2008, Tony served as Democratic Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. From 1994 to 2001, he was a member of President Clinton’s National Security Council staff.

    Tony is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and a global affairs analyst for CNN. He is the author of Ally Versus Ally: America, Europe and the Siberian Pipeline Crisis. He also serves as a managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and a distinguished scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

    Tony received a French Baccalaureat degree in Paris. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.

    Moderated by

    David A. Merkel


    FREE for PCFR Members

    $10 for Non-Members


    Tuesday, October 6, 2020

    12:00 pm-1:15 pm


    Zoom Meeting

    The link for this webinar will be sent via email prior to the event.

    • 06 Oct 2020
    • 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM (UTC-07:00)
    • Online

    Foreign Relations Summer Series hosted by PCFR Young Professionals: 

    Summer 2020 is Finally Over: PCFR Virtual Mixer

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | 5:00 pm

    Cost: Free

    Zoom Meeting

    Hey Young Professionals, are you missing the mixing, mingling, and imbibing with our fellow Foreign Affairs community? Ready to move on past the Lost Summer of 2020? We certainly are! But if the idea of rubbing elbows with the Foreign Affairs community in Greater Phoenix has you reaching for your hand sanitizer and masks, this is your opportunity to get some Face Time / Zoom Time and enjoy an evening of interesting people, chats, games, prizes, and featured luminaries to be announced!
    • 08 Oct 2020
    • 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM (PDT)
    • Online

    Virtual Discussion

    Journey to Self-Reliance: A New Approach

    with Ambassador Mark Green, Executive Director of the McCain Institute

    From aid recipients to partners to fellow donors, Ambassador Mark Green discusses the new plan for American foreign assistance.

    About Ambassador Mark Green

    Ambassador Mark Green (ret.) serves as the executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, an action-oriented policy institution dedicated to advancing character-driven leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity.

    Prior to joining the McCain Institute, from August 2017 to April 2020, Green served as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Known for an approach he named the “Journey to Self-Reliance,” Green helped transform the agency with a new metrics-based, country-by-country framework, USAID’s first-ever private sector engagement policy, sweeping reform of partnership and procurement policies, innovative education assistance for children abroad living in crisis and conflict, a comprehensive effort to protect religious liberty, and a new fund for the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative.

    Read full bio


    FREE for PCFR Members

    $10 for Non-Members


    Thursday, October 8, 2020

    12:00 pm-1:15 pm PDT


    Zoom Meeting

    Meeting link and instructions will be emailed prior to the event.

    • 02 Dec 2020
    • 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM (MST)
    • Online

    Virtual Discussion

    The Global Democratic Recession: How We Can Reverse It


    Larry Diamond, MA, PhD

    Stanford University

    This presentation will review the more than decade-long trend of declining freedom and democracy in the world, and how we can work to reverse the authoritarian trend and renew democratic progress and hope.

    Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. His is also professor by courtesy of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford. He leads the Hoover Institution’s programs on China’s Global Sharp Power and on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region.

    At FSI, he leads the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy, based at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, which he directed for more than six years. He also co-leads with (Eileen Donahoe) the Global Digital Policy Incubator, based at FSI’s Cyber Policy Center. He is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as senior consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy.

    Read Larry Diamond's Full Bio


    FREE for PCFR Members

    $10 for Non-Members


    Wednesday, December 2, 2020

    12:00 pm-1:15 pm MT


    Zoom Meeting

    Meeting link and instructions will be emailed prior to the event.

    • 10 Dec 2020
    • 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM (MST)
    • Online

    Virtual Discussion



    Mark Blyth

    Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs,

    Brown University

    Mark Blyth is the William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics, at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, at Brown University. Before becoming an academic Blyth has been variously, a stand-up comedian, a chef, and a funk bass player. Realizing that such pursuits where long shots at best, he finished his PhD. in political science at Columbia University in 1999. He then joined the Johns Hopkins University before moving to Brown University in 2009.

    His research focuses upon the causes of stability and change in the economy and why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets of evidence to the contrary. The power of economic ideas is a common theme in Blyth’s work, as seen in his recent award winning Book, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (New York: Oxford University Press 2015); The Future of the Euro (New York: Oxford University Press 2015), and in his most recent book Angrynomics (New York: Columbia University Press 2020).

    Blyth contributes to several Podcasts, and his lectures and talks on YouTube have been viewed by millions. Literally. When not writing, he still likes to cook, and he recently has become a serious cocktail mixologist, which eases the pain of the stuff he writes about.


    FREE for PCFR Members

    $10 for Non-Members


    Thursday, December 10, 2020

    12:00 pm-1:15 pm MT


    Zoom Meeting

    Meeting link and instructions will be emailed prior to the event.

Past events

23 Sep 2020 Afghanistan from the ground up: A conversation about war, U.S. partnership and the future of Afghanistan
16 Sep 2020 Tariffs, Trade & the Pandemic Recovery
10 Sep 2020 The World: A Brief Introduction with Richard Haass and David A. Merkel
27 Aug 2020 Globally Conscious Business Communication: Techniques, Tips, and Experience from a 20 Year Adventure Across 4 Continents
18 Aug 2020 Foreign Relations Summer Series: International Career Paths for Young Professionals
30 Jul 2020 July Reading Group
29 Jul 2020 Japan's Strategy to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic
29 Jul 2020 Great Decisions | China's Road into Latin America
08 Jul 2020 The USMCA Goes Live and What It Means for the US, Canada and Mexico
30 Jun 2020 Great Decisions | Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
25 Jun 2020 Foreign Relations Summer Series: Career Lessons from the Great Recession
24 Jun 2020 China: “To trust is good, not to trust is better”
17 Jun 2020 Reflections of a Senior African-American Diplomat on the Global Importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement
16 Jun 2020 Great Decisions | India and Pakistan
11 Jun 2020 COVID19: Experience on the Front Lines Treating COVID19 Patients in New York City
04 Jun 2020 The Global Economic Implications of the Pandemic
28 May 2020 A Diplomat's Perspective on America’s Preparedness and Global Health Security in the Face of COVID-19
21 May 2020 May Reading Group
15 May 2020 China, Coronavirus and the Coming Global Challenges
07 May 2020 The Ultimate Case for American International Leadership – Now What?
23 Apr 2020 April Reading Group
22 Apr 2020 Crisis Abroad! Every Diplomat Becomes a Consular Officer When American Citizens Need Our Help
07 Apr 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic and West Africa Ebola Crisis: Similarities, Differences and Opportunities Missed
24 Mar 2020 [POSTPONED] New and Prospective Member Breakfast
23 Mar 2020 [POSTPONED] Choosing Freedom: America’s Role in the World and Supporting Democracy and Human Rights Abroad
11 Mar 2020 15th Annual International State of the State
04 Mar 2020 The Challenges for U.S. Policy in a Turbulent Middle East
29 Feb 2020 PCFR Field Trip to the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona Museum (Members Only)
25 Feb 2020 Australia’s Burning Bush, Earth’s Emerging Pyrocene?
20 Feb 2020 How America Can Make the World More Peaceful
11 Feb 2020 Vietnam and the United States: Recognizing 25 Years of Comprehensive Partnership, Highlighting Future Opportunities and Saluting Senator John McCain
28 Jan 2020 From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia
22 Jan 2020 US-Iran Conflict: Multi-level, Multi-player Game of Chess (and Other Games)
16 Jan 2020 January Reading Group (Members Only)
10 Dec 2019 An Update on Cross-Border Law Enforcement and Coordination: A Maricopa County Sheriff Perspective
03 Dec 2019 Global Leadership in 4IR
21 Nov 2019 November Reading Group
20 Nov 2019 Japan on the World Stage: Society, Influence, Education
07 Nov 2019 Roads to Revolution: Transformative Social Movements in Iran and their Discontents
23 Oct 2019 Taken Hostage: The Silent Victims of Kidnapping Abroad
22 Oct 2019 New and Prospective Member Breakfast
16 Oct 2019 National Insecurities: America and the World 2020-2050
25 Sep 2019 Status of Arizona’s National Guard’s Global Presence: An Extended Service
19 Sep 2019 The Next Decade of PCFR
19 Sep 2019 September Reading Group
17 Sep 2019 Priorities of Mexican Foreign Policy in the U.S.
12 Aug 2019 Venezuela Kleptocracy: The Ripple Effect of the Venezuelan Revolution
23 Jul 2019 Update on the US-Mexico Relationship
18 Jul 2019 July Reading Group
03 Jun 2019 New Times for the Transatlantic Relations
16 May 2019 May Reading Group
14 May 2019 The Challenges and Rewards of Global Engagement—from Russia to the Poorest Countries on Earth
07 May 2019 Extremism and Terrorism in Our Communities, Across the Nation and Around the World: Understanding Today’s Changing Threat Landscape
23 Apr 2019 14th Annual International State of the State
16 Apr 2019 The Evolution of Security and Privacy in a Shrinking World
03 Apr 2019 Vanishing Frontiers: Why Mexico is Even Closer to US Than We Realize
28 Mar 2019 The World as It Is
21 Mar 2019 Ukraine's Presidential Election - Democracy Being Tested by Russian Aggression
14 Mar 2019 March Reading Group
05 Mar 2019 6th PCFR New and Prospective Member Breakfast
25 Feb 2019 Iran’s and North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Programs: Problems Solved, or Continuing Threats?
21 Feb 2019 Can Sport Save Globalization?
12 Feb 2019 Southeast Asia and the US Strategy for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific
29 Jan 2019 The Democratic Transition in Tunisia
17 Jan 2019 January Reading Group
16 Jan 2019 NORAD at 60: Heritage, Vigilance, and Innovation
12 Dec 2018 The Rule of Law in Hong Kong and Human Rights
04 Dec 2018 Kazakhstan in a Changing Eurasia
28 Nov 2018 Nemtsov: Film Screening and Discussion
15 Nov 2018 November Reading Group
25 Oct 2018 How China’s Exponential Technological Disruption and Infrastructure Investment is Driving a Radical Transformation of the Future
02 Oct 2018 Calculated Risks: Safeguarding the World’s Largest Aerospace Company in a Globalized Business Environment
27 Sep 2018 Understanding International Trade in the Trump Era
20 Sep 2018 September Reading Group
13 Sep 2018 U.S. - Mexico Geopolitical Forecast for 2018 - 2019
19 Jul 2018 July Reading Group
12 Jul 2018 The Future of the Two Koreas and Donald Trump
07 Jul 2018 Young Professionals World Cup Watch Party
26 Jun 2018 Mexico’s Presidential Election Cycle
19 Jun 2018 Young Professionals Foreign Relations Summer Series
17 May 2018 May Reading Group
15 May 2018 US-China Relations in the Age of Trump and Xi
01 May 2018 Maintaining the US Competitive Edge in the Resurgence of Great Power Competition
10 Apr 2018 Inman’s View of the World: A look at overarching threats, challenges, and opportunities facing the U.S. followed by a geographic tour of hot spots.
05 Apr 2018 Recent Trends in African Infrastructure Development
27 Mar 2018 How to Lose Press Freedom in a Democracy: The Experience of an Exiled Journalist
21 Mar 2018 Ethics in the Age of Cyber
15 Mar 2018 March Reading Group
20 Feb 2018 SOLD OUT- 13th Annual International State of the State
18 Jan 2018 January Reading Group
17 Jan 2018 TIME & LOCATION CHANGE - NAFTA and the Future of the World Trading System under President Trump
14 Dec 2017 SOLD OUT - Censorship, Privacy, Retaliation and 'Fake News': The State of Freedom of The Press in the U.S. and Mexico
16 Nov 2017 November Reading Group
01 Nov 2017 Russian Machinations, Political Gridlock and other Challenges to US Democratic Systems
25 Oct 2017 The Impact of Foreign and Cyber Threats on the 2016 and Future Elections: A Discussion with Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan
24 Oct 2017 Challenges for Factual Reporting in the Age of Social Media
11 Oct 2017 A Conversation on the U.S.-Canada trade partnership, Arizona’s relationship with Canada, and the future of NAFTA
28 Sep 2017 September Reading Group
26 Sep 2017 In Commemoration of Finland’s 100th Anniversary of Independence from Russia
12 Sep 2017 China: The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom
23 Aug 2017 South China Sea: An update on Diplomacy and Developments
20 Jul 2017 Law of War in the Age of ISIS
12 Jul 2017 Arizona International Business Opportunities in a Changing Global Paradigm
31 May 2017 Foreign Policy in a Time of Transition
04 May 2017 REGISTRATION CLOSED - 12th Annual International State of the State
27 Apr 2017 A Strategic Association for the XXI Century: Peru and the United States of America
21 Apr 2017 April Reading Group
05 Apr 2017 US-Mexico Relations Today: Arizona’s Positive Contribution
28 Mar 2017 Is the World Getting Better or Worse? Health, Human Rights, and Quality of Life Around the Globe
23 Feb 2017 U.S.-Russian Relations: From Rock Bottom to…What Next?
17 Feb 2017 February Reading Group
25 Jan 2017 Korea, What’s Next?
12 Jan 2017 President Obama’s Legal Legacy in War
13 Dec 2016 Quo Vadis? Latin America
30 Nov 2016 Mexico-U.S. Relations Today and Tomorrow: The Case of Arizona
17 Nov 2016 Fall Reading Group - The Unquiet Frontier: Rising Rivals, Vulnerable Allies, and the Crisis of American Power
09 Nov 2016 Freeport in Peru: Twenty Years and Going Strong
18 Oct 2016 SOLD OUT - National Security Challenges for the Incoming Administration
07 Oct 2016 The View From the State Department: Religion, Conflict and Diplomacy
29 Sep 2016 Russia’s War with Ukraine: What is at stake for the West?
19 Sep 2016 America as the World’s Policeman

Contact us to learn more about PCFR Events prior to 2016.

Exploring Leading Foreign Policy Issues


PCFR is dedicated to growing Arizona’s global prominence by providing forums that explore critical foreign policy issues and build enduring international connections.


Tel: 602 441-4967

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Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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