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  • Climate Change

    FASKIANOS: Thank you, and welcome to today’s session of the Winter/Spring 2023 CFR Academic Webinar series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Arunabha Ghosh with us to discuss climate compensation and cooperation. Dr. Ghosh is an internationally recognized public policy expert, author, columnist, and institution builder. He’s the founder and CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water. He previously worked at Princeton University, the University of Oxford, the UN Development Program, and the World Trade Organization. He’s also contributed to the creation of the International Solar Alliance and was a founding board member of the Clean Energy Access Network, and he currently serves on the government of India’s G20 Finance Track Advisory Group, has co-chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Clean Air, and is a member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group and on the board of directors of the ClimateWorks Foundation. And he is joining us—it is, I think, after 11:00 p.m. where he is, so we appreciate your doing this so late your time. So, Dr. Ghosh, thank you very much for being with us today. We saw in November a historic climate compensation fund approved at the UN climate talks. It would be great if you could give an overview of what it means to compensate developing countries for losses and damages caused by climate change, as well as share your recommendations for how countries can more effectively cooperate on such efforts and maybe the interplay between mitigation, adaptation, and compensation—how are we attacking all of these things. So over to you. GHOSH: Well, good day to everyone out there. It’s good evening at my end. It’s nearing up on midnight. But thank you, Irina, for having me as part of this conversation and thank you to the Council on Foreign Relations. I think the way you framed it right at the end is really the way to start—how does mitigation, adaptation, and compensation all come together? Before I dive into the specific issue of loss and damage I want to just up front state for those listening in that I see climate change and the responses to climate change as not one market failure but at least three market failures that we are simultaneously trying to solve for. The first market failure is that climate risks are nonlinear in nature and, therefore, we don’t have the normal approaches to insuring ourselves against climate risks. You can predict the probability of an earthquake of a certain intensity in a particular region without predicting an exact time of an earthquake but you can actually insure it by looking at the averages. But you can’t do that with climate risk because the risks that we face today is less than the risks that you will face in 2030 and then it will exponentially rise in 2050. So your normal approaches towards insurance don’t work. That’s market failure number one. Market failure number two is, put very simply, money does not flow where the sun shines the most. We have a severe problem of climate-related investment in absolute terms not being sufficient globally and in relative terms significantly insufficient, especially in the regions where you actually have very good natural resources, particularly sunshine, for solar power, and the very same regions where sustainable infrastructure needs to be built between the tropics where countries continue to be developing and need to raise their per capita incomes. The third market failure is that even as we move towards or at least expend efforts towards moving to a more sustainable planet, we haven’t really cracked the code on how do we narrow the technology gap rather than widen it. And this matters because, ultimately, the response to climate change, while it’s a global collective action problem, because it is nationally situated it does raise concerns about national competitiveness, about industrial development, about access to technology and, of course, the rules that will—that would embed our moves towards a more free and more sustainable marketplace at a global level. And if we cannot crack the code on how technologies are developed and technologies are diffused and disseminated then it will continue to serve as a hindrance towards doubling down on developing the clean-tech technologies of tomorrow. So it’s against this backdrop of multiple market failures that we have to understand where this whole loss and damage story comes through. Loss and damage has been discussed for decades, actually, in the climate negotiations. It was put formally on the agenda in 2007. But it was only at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt that there was finally an agreement amongst all the negotiating parties that a loss and damage financing facility would be set up. Now, what is loss and damage itself? Is it the same as adaptation? Clearly, not. It refers to the adverse impacts that vulnerable communities and countries face as a result of a changing climate including the increase in incidence and intensity of natural disasters and extreme weather events, as well as the slow onset of temperature increase, sea level rise, and desertification. So it’s not just the hurricane that comes and slams on the coast. It’s also repeated rounds of drought which might be impacting smallholder farmers in another part of the world. Now, adapting to a changing climate is different from compensating for the damages that you’re facing and that is why there was this call for a separate financing facility for loss and damage. Now, this is the agreement thus far but it’s not—it’s not a done deal yet. What the decision did was basically said there will be now a transition committee developed dedicated to loss and damage with equal representation for rich and poor countries, and so on and so forth, but that transition committee would then have to figure out the funding arrangements, the institutional arrangements, where would this money sit, figure out how alternative sources of funding would come through only through existing mechanisms and ensure that it all gets delivered by COP28, which will be held in the UAE later this year. Now, my belief is that a political decision, while it’s a strong signal, it’s only, you know, just—you’re just getting off the blocks and several other building blocks will be needed to make this work properly. Number one, we will need a much more granular understanding of hyperlocal climate risk. Today, if you wanted to buy a house in Florida, for instance, there’s a high chance that there will be a neighborhood by neighborhood understanding of flooding risk, hurricane risk, et cetera, which is then priced into the insurance premiums that you had to pay for purchasing that property. But in many other parts of the world, when you look at climate models they treat entire countries as single pixels, which is not good enough. My own organization, CEEW, has trying to develop the first high-resolution climate risk atlas for India, a country of a billion and a half people. We now have a district-level vulnerability index looking at exposure to natural disasters sensitivity based on the economic configuration of that district and the adaptive capacity of the local communities and the administration. Based on that then we can say where do you need to double down on your efforts to build resilience. But that kind of effort is needed across the developing world in order to actually understand what it means to climate-proof communities and what it means to actually understand the scale of the problem that loss and damage financing facility will have to address. The second thing that has to happen is more development of attribution science. What is attribution science? Basically, a bad thing happens and then you figure out using the latest science how much of that bad thing happened because of the changed climate. Now, here’s the problem. Only about—about less than 4 percent of global climate research spending is dedicated, for instance, to Africa but nearly 80 percent of that spending is actually spent in Europe and North America. So what I’m trying to say is that even as we try to build out attribution science we need a lot more capacity that has to be built in the Global South to understand not just global climate models but be able to downscale them in a way that we’re able to understand what the next hurricane, the next flooding event, the next cyclone means in terms of the impacts of climate change. The third thing that has to happen is something called Early Warning Systems Initiative. Basically, the idea—it was unveiled at COP27—is to ensure that every person is protected by early warning systems within the next five years or so. So the next time a tsunami is coming you’re not reacting after the fact but you’re able to actually send out information well in advance. I’ll give you an example. In 1999 a big cyclone—super cyclone—hit an eastern state of India, Odisha, and about ten thousand lives were lost. A huge effort was put in for early warning systems subsequently along with building storm shelters, et cetera. So twenty years later when a similar sized cyclone hit the same state in 2019 less than a hundred lives were lost. Ten thousand versus a hundred. So this is the scale of impact that properly designed early warning systems can do to save lives and save livelihoods. And, finally, of course, we have to build more resilient infrastructure. So the next bridge that is being built, the next airport that is being built, the next bridge that is being built, or a highway that’s being built, all of that is going to get impacted by rising climate risks. So how do you bring in more resilient infrastructure? There’s something called the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure that India has promoted. It has about thirty-five countries as members already and many multilateral institutions. It itself has started a program on infrastructure for resilient island states—for the small island states. So what I’m trying to tell you here is that the loss and damage—when we talk about compensation it’s not just the monetary resources that are needed. There’s a lot of technical resources needed to do the hyperlocal climate risk assessment, the infrastructure that is needed to do early warning initiatives, the scientific capability that is needed for attribution science, and the sort of organizational administration capability at a district level but also all the way at an international level. If all of that comes together then maybe we have a better architecture rather than just an announcement around compensation. But that just solves or begins to solve the first market failure. Let me maybe pause there and we can use the rest of the hour to talk about this and the other market failures I highlighted. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Thank you so much. It really is daunting what needs to happen for sure in all the three market failures. We want to go now to all of you for your questions. You all should know how to do this. You can click the “Raise Hand” icon on your screen to ask a question. On an iPad or a Tablet click the “More” button to access the raise hand feature and when you’re called upon accept the unmute prompt and state your name and affiliation and your question. Please keep it brief. And you can also write a written question in the Q&A box and, please, you can vote for questions that you like but if you do write a question it would be great if you could include your affiliation along with your name so that it gives us context. So the first question I’m going to take we’ll go to Morton Holbrook. Morton, please identify yourself. Q: Hi. I’m Morton Holbrook at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Kentucky. Thanks, Dr. Ghosh, for your presentation. I confess I haven’t paid enough attention to COP27. Can you enlighten me as to what the United States committed to and, more importantly, whether the Democratic bill—the bill passed in Congress in December was able to add—actually commit funds to the loss and damage project? GHOSH: Should I answer that, Irina, or are you taking a bunch of questions at a time? FASKIANOS: No, I think it’s better to take one at a time— GHOSH: One at a time? OK. FASKIANOS: —so we can have more in-depth— GHOSH: Sure. Sure. Thank you, Morton. Well, the decision on loss and damage was agreed to by all the member states negotiating at COP27. But, as I said earlier, this only suggests the setting up of a financing facility. How it’s going to be funded is yet to be determined. Will this be a reallocation of overseas development assistance that is redirected towards loss and damage or is this new money that’s put on the table? All of that has to be decided. In fact, the developed countries did take a position that some of the larger developing countries that are big emitters should also contribute towards this loss and damage financing facility. Of course, on the other side the argument is that these are also the countries that are continuing to be vulnerable. So there is a difference now that is coming up in the conversation around loss and damage around vulnerability versus developing in the sense that even emerging economies could be vulnerable to climate change, whereas developing countries might be poorer than emerging economies that are also vulnerable to climate change but in some cases might not be as vulnerable. So the focus is actually on vulnerability in terms of the exposure to climate risks and, as I said earlier, the sensitivity of the communities and the economic systems. Now, with regards to the U.S. legislation, I am not sure of the legislation you’re referring to for December. The one I’m aware of is the Inflation Reduction Act that was passed prior to COP27. But if there is something specifically that you’re referring to that was passed through Congress in December then I’m not aware of it. FASKIANOS: OK. Let’s go to Clemente Abrokwaa. Q: Thank you. Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. Q: Oh, good. Thank you, Dr. Ghosh. Very interesting your explanation or discussion. I’m from Penn State University and I have two short questions for you. One is base compensation. How would you monitor that? If you give a bunch of money or a lot of money to a country, especially those in the third world societies, third world countries, how would you monitor where it goes? Who controls the funding or the money? And I have a reason for—reasons for asking that question. And the second is I was a little surprised about the—what you said about the 80 percent of the money given to Africa is spent in Europe, unless I got you wrong. Yeah, so those—why should that be if that’s true? GHOSH: So let me answer the second question first. That is, I was referring to climate—global climate research spending that happens. Of all the global climate research spending that happens less than 4 percent is dedicated to climate research on Africa. But that climate research 80 percent of that less than 4 percent is actually spent in research institutions in Europe and North America. So it wasn’t about money going to Africa for climate. It’s about the climate modeling research that goes on. So the point I was trying to make there was that we need to build up more climate research capacity in the Global South, not just in Africa and Asia and South America and so forth, in order to become better at that attribution science when it’s related to the extreme weather events but also to understand in a more localized way the pathways for more climate-friendly economic development pathways. For instance, my institution CEEW, when we did net zero modeling for India we were looking at multiple different scenarios for economic development, for industrial development, for emissions, for equity, for jobs impact, et cetera, because we were able to contextualize the model for what it meant for a country like India, and now we’re doing similar—we’ve downscaled our model now to a state level because India is a continent-sized country. So that’s the point I was trying to make there. With regards to how to monitor the compensation, now, I want to make two points here. Number one is that, of course, if any money is delivered it should be monitored, I mean, in the sense that it’s—transparency leads to better policy and better actions as a principle. But we should be careful not to conflate compensation for damages caused with development assistance. Let me give an analogy. Suppose there is—someone inadvertently rams their car into my garage and damages my house. Now, I will get a compensation from that person. Now, whether I go and repair my garage or whether I go on a holiday as such should not matter because what matters is that the damage was caused and I was due compensation. That’s different from my neighbor coming and saying, I see that your garage, perhaps, needs some repair. Let me be a good neighbor and give you some money and help you rebuild your garage. In that case, it would be unethical for me to take that money and go on holiday. So there is a difference between compensation for loss and damage and money delivered for development assistance. However, I want to reiterate that once that money reaches any—whether it’s a developing country government or a subnational government there should be—there should be mechanisms put in place for transparently monitoring where that money is going. That should be reported whether it’s in a—I have often argued for climate risk assessments to be—annually reported at a national level. So the expenditure on all of this should also be reported. That should be tabled in a country’s parliament. So I think it’s important to use democratic processes to ensure that monies are deployed for where they are meant to be. But it should not be a reason that if I cause you damage, I will not pay you unless I think you are good enough to receive my money. No, I caused you damage. I owe you money. That is the basic principle of loss and damage. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Lindsey McCormack, raised hand. Q: Hi. I would love to hear your thoughts on lessons from the successful response to Cyclone Fani in 2019. I believe you mentioned it was over a million people were evacuated in India and Bangladesh, saving many lives. You know, I am a student at Baruch College in New York and you probably saw that terrible blizzard upstate. People were stranded and died. And I was just comparing their response capacity and the preparedness in that situation versus in the cyclone where you have over a million people moved out of harm’s way. I’m really interested to hear what goes behind making that kind of preparation possible. GHOSH: Well, thanks for the question, Lindsey. This is extremely important. I think what happened—before I talk about Cyclone Fani let me go back again twenty years. There was the super cyclone in 1999 and then just a few years later there was also the tsunami in 2004 and, of course, there have been natural disasters from time to time. In fact, between 1990 and 2005 there were about 200-odd extreme weather events that we faced in India. But since 2005, we’ve already faced well over three hundred. The frequency of extreme cyclones has gone up 3X between the 1980s and now. So there is this constant need, obviously, to upgrade your systems but that investment that was put in in early warning systems at a sort of regional scale using satellites, using ground sensors in the sea, et cetera, help to monitor and help to predict when—the movement of cyclones’ landfall and so forth. Along with that is—has been a lot of local administration capacity building of how do you then get this word out and how do you work with local communities. So there are, for instance, again, Odisha women run self-help groups who have become managers of storm shelters so when the community voices are telling people to get out of harm’s way it has, perhaps, more social capital attached to it. In another part of the country in a hilly state in Uttar Pradesh—Uttarakhand, I’m sorry—there is a community-run radio station that sends out information about forest fires and things like that. The third thing has been around the rebuilding. So saving of lives is one thing but saving livelihoods is another critical issue and that’s why it’s not just getting people out of harm’s way but often, for—the early warning helps to get livestock out of harm’s way as well because, you know, for a small marginal farmer losing their cattle itself becomes a major loss of livelihood. So these are ways in which there have been attempts to ensure that the scientific or the technical capacity building is married with the social capital and the local administrative capital. But that does not mean that this is consistently done all the time. It’s all work in progress and a lot more needs to be done in terms of the coverage of—and that’s why this Early Warning Systems Initiative that was talked about in COP27 is important because you’ve got to—I mean, we, again, are working with some private sector entities that provide early warning systems for hundreds of millions of people. So how do their—how do our ground-level data and their sort of AI-based kind of modeling capacity marry together to offer those services to much larger numbers of people, literally, in the hundreds of millions. So it’s very important that this becomes—and since the title of this conversation is about climate compensation and cooperation I would argue that this is a no regrets approach towards bridging the North and the South. 2022 has demonstrated that a long-held assumption that the rich would escape and the poor would somehow adapt is kind of gone. You know, we’ve all been slammed with extreme events and I think, of course, there will be positions on which the North and the South and the East and the West will be on different sides of the table. But building a resilience against nonlinear climate risk is a no regrets approach on which we could certainly be cooperating. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take a written question from Caden Hicks, who is at Lewis University. Of the 197 nations involved in these annual conferences of the parties when wealthy and powerful nations such as the United States and China do not meet their pledges are there any consequences for them? If they decide to drop their participation in this council how would they—what would the consequences be? GHOSH: This is at the heart of the climate problem. I talked about three market failures and there is one political failure, which is that we don’t have an accountability mechanism, so to speak, that can hold everyone to account, the largest polluters but also everybody else. And that’s why the climate regime is different from the trade regime, which has a dispute settlement mechanism, or the international financial regime where you have annual surveillance of what you’re doing in managing your fiscal deficit, for instance. So when it comes to holding actors to account, I see that we need to make efforts both within the FCCC framework and with outside. Within the FCCC framework, the Article Fifteen of the Paris Agreement is something that can be leveraged more to ensure that the Compliance Committee has greater powers, that those that are not compliant are able to then—for instance, in Article Six, which has yet to be operationalized in terms of internationally trading of carbon credits, if you are not compliant with your domestic nationally determined contributions, then Article Thirteen compliance should demand that you have to buy more carbon credits than otherwise would have been possible. That’s one idea. The second is that the—and I’ve written about this recently—that we need to stop making the COPs just platforms for announcing new initiatives, that every alternate COP should be designed as an accountability COP, which means that we come there and we report not just on what we are emitting and automating in terms of the biannual update reviews, but have a genuine peer review conversation as it happens in many other international regimes. Right now no one asks tough questions and no one answers tough questions. So it’s—I mean, I said this quite publicly at—in Sharm el-Sheikh that, unfortunately, the COPs have become mutual admiration societies. Every year we come and make announcements. We form some initiatives. We say something will happen on methane, something will happen on finance, something will happen on agriculture and forests. And the next year we come and make new announcements. We never really ask what happened to the announcement you made twelve months ago. So how do we shift from being mutual admiration societies to mutual accountability societies? But beyond the COP process I think there are two other ways in which parties can be held to account. Number one is domestic legislatures and domestic courts. It’s important that the pledges that are being made are legislated upon at a national level so that parliaments can hold executives to account, and if that is not happening then you can go to court and hold your governments to account. But, equally, it’s not just about state parties. There are the nonstate actors. And last year I also served on the UN secretary-general’s high-level expert group on net-zero commitments of nonstate entities, which means the corporations that are promising to get to net zero, or the cities and the states and the regions that are promising to get to net zero, and we laid out some clear principles on what it would mean to claim that you’re headed towards net zero. Where are your plans? Where are your interim targets? Where are your financing strategies? How is this linked to your consumer base so you’re not just looking at scope one or scope two but also scope three emissions. So there are ways in which then the shareholders and the consumers of products and services of corporations can hold them to account. It’s a much more complicated world. But in the absence of the FCCC haven’t been able to deliver genuine compliance. We’ve got to get creative in other ways. FASKIANOS: I’m going to go next to Stephen Kass, who has raised his hand. Also wrote a question but I think it’d be better if you just shared it yourself. Q: I’m an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School and at NYU Center on Global Affairs. As you know, COP27 included these remarkable but belated obligations to make payments but without any enforceable mechanism or a specific set of commitments. Some years ago the New York City Bar Association proposed an international financial transaction tax on all transfers of money globally with the proceeds dedicated to climate adaptation. This would not be intended to replace the COP27 obligations but I wonder how you feel about that proposal. GHOSH: This is, again, a very interesting question, Stephen, because the need to be creative of—about different sources of money that can capitalize a loss and damage financing facility or an adaptation financing facility is absolutely essential because governments—I mean, we recognize that governments have limited fiscal resources and it has become harder and harder to get any money—real money—put on the table when it comes to the pledges that have been made. So I have recently been appointed to a group of economists that are looking at this issue. There is this approach, of course, of taxing financial transactions. There is another idea around taxing barrels of oil. Even a single dollar on a barrel of oil can capitalize a huge amount of fund. There are other ways, taxing aviation or the heavy kind of—heavy industries that—you know, shipping, aviation, et cetera. Then there are approaches towards leveraging the special drawing rights (SDRs) on the International Monetary Fund, which are basically a basket of currencies that can then be used to capitalize a—what I’ve called a global resilience reserve fund. So you don’t make any payout right now from your treasuries but you do use the SDRs to build up the balance sheet of a resilience fund, which then pays out when disasters above a certain threshold hit. So these are certainly different ways in which we have to be thinking about finding the additional resources. See, when it comes to mitigation—this goes back to Irina’s very first point—when it comes to mitigation there is—at least it’s claimed there are tens of trillions of dollars of private investment just waiting to be deployed and that brings me to that second market failure that I referred to, that despite those tens of trillions of dollars waiting to be deployed, money does not flow where the sun shines the most. But when you pair it with, say, adaptation, let me give you an example. India has the largest deployment of solar-based irrigation pumps and it plans to deploy millions of solar-based irrigation pumps so you’re not using diesel or coal-based electricity to pump water for agriculture. Now, is a solar-based irrigation pump a mitigation tool or is it an adaptation tool or is it a resilience tool? I would say it’s all of the above. But if we can define that through the International Solar Alliance, it’s actually trying to also fund the deployment of solar-based irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa as well. So the point I’m trying to make here is if we can find ways to aggregate projects, aggregate demand, and reduce that delta between perceived risk and real risk, we can lower the cost of finance and drive private investment into mitigation-cum-adaptation projects. But when it comes to pure compensation, the kind that we are talking about when it comes to loss and damage, disaster relief, et cetera—especially when climate shocks have compounding effects—that you’re not just doing an after the event, you know, pitching a tent to house the displaced population, but we’re building in real resilience against even the slow onset of the climate crisis, in some aspects. Then we have to get a lot more creative about the resources because private resources are not flowing there and traditional kind of vanilla-style public resources don’t seem to be available. So your idea is very much one of those that should be considered. FASKIANOS: So I’m going to take a written question from Allan Victor Cortes, who’s an undergrad at Lewis University: To what extent do you believe that small motivated groups can truly make a global impact on the climate scene? What incentivizes larger bodies, be it states or multinational corporations, to listen to these collaborations of small governments or firms and their proposed environmental solutions? GHOSH: This is a very interesting question because it has a normative dimension to it and an instrumental dimension to it. The normative dimension—I was having another public event just yesterday where we were talking about this—is what is the value—when you’re faced with a planetary crisis what is the value of individual or small group action? The value, of course, is that there is agency because when we talk about, say, lifestyle changes, and India announced this national mission called Mission LiFE in October in the presence of the UN secretary-general—Lifestyle for Environment—the idea was how do you nudge behavior, to nudge behavior towards sustainable practices, sustainable consumption, sustainable mobility, sustainable food. You can think about creating awareness. You can think about giving more access to those products and services and, of course, it has to be affordable. But there is a fourth A, which is that it only works when individuals and communities take ownership or have agency over trying to solve the problem. But that is one part of the story. But there is an instrumental dimension to it, which is what I call the enabling of markets beyond just the nudging of individual or small group behavior. So, again, let me give an example of—from India but which is applicable in many other parts of the world. It is the use of distributed renewable energy. Now, distributed renewable energy is smaller in scale, smaller in investment size, even less on the radar of large institutional investors, and yet has many other benefits. It makes your energy system more resilient. It actually creates many more jobs. We calculate that you create—you get seven times more jobs per megawatt hour of distributed renewables or rooftop solar compared to large-scale solar, which creates more jobs than natural gas, which creates more jobs than coal, and it is able to drive local livelihoods. So we mapped this out across India of how distributed renewables could drive livelihoods in rural areas whether it’s on-farm applications or off-farm applications, small food processing units, textile units, milk chilling and cold chain units, and so on and so forth, and we were baffled when we realized or we calculated that the market potential is more than $50 billion. In sub-Saharan Africa the market potential of solar-based irrigation is more—about $12 billion. So then suddenly what seems like really small individual efforts actually scales up to something much larger. Now, if we can figure out ways to warehouse or aggregate these projects and de-risk them by spreading those risks across a larger portfolio, are able to funnel institutional capital into a—through that warehousing facility into a large—a portfolio of a number of small projects, if we are able to use that money to then enable consumer finance as has been announced in today’s national budget in India, then many things that originally seemed small suddenly begin to gain scale. So we, as a think tank, decided to put our own hypothesis to the test. So we evaluated more than one hundred startups, selected six of them, paired up with the largest social enterprise incubator in the country, and are now giving capital and technical assistance to six startups using distributed renewables for livelihoods. Within two and a half years we’ve had more than thirteen thousand technology deployments, 80 percent of the beneficiaries have been women who have gone on to become micro entrepreneurs, and India is the first country in the world that’s come out with a national policy on the use of distributed renewables for livelihood activities. So the normative value is certainly there about agency. But the instrumental value of converting that agency into aggregated action is also something that we should tap into. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Tombong Jawo, if you could ask your question—it also got an up vote—and identify yourself, please. Let’s see. You have to unmute yourself. You’re still muted. OK. We’re working on that. I’m going to take a quick question from Mark Bucknam, who’s the chair of Department of Security Studies at the National War College. What is the best source for statistics on how much money is being spent on climate research? GHOSH: There are multiple sources depending on where you—I mean, the study I was referring to came from a journal paper that was written by Indra Overland, “Funding Flows for Climate Change Research.” This was in the journal Climate and Development. But I would think that the IPCC—the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—would probably have some estimates aggregated in terms of this and you could check there. But let me also check with my modeling teams to see if they have better sources and get back to you on this. FASKIANOS: Fantastic, and we will be sending out a link to this webinar—to the video and transcripts—so we can include sources in that follow-up. So since Tombong could not unmute I will ask the question. Tombong is an undergraduate student at Cavendish University Uganda. Climate compensation and cooperation is undoubtedly a step in the right direction if all stakeholders adhere to the laid down rules and regulations. However, what mechanisms are put in place to ensure that it gets to the people who matter the most and not diverted for political gains by politicians? GHOSH: I mean, this is similar to the question that Clemente asked earlier, and I understand and I think it’s important now that we start thinking about what are the national-level efforts that would be needed to build in the monitoring of where the funds go and what kind of infrastructure is built. So you can do this at multiple levels and this, again, goes back to the first thing I said about loss and damage, that we need this hyperlocal assessment. Let’s say a hundred thousand dollars have been given to a small country for resilience. Now, how you deploy that needs to be a conversation that first begins with the science. Now, where are you going to be impacted the most? What is the kind of climate risk that you’re going to be impacted by? Is it a flooding risk? Is it coastal degradation? Is it crop loss? Is it water stress? Accordingly, the monies should be then apportioned. Once it’s apportioned that way it should immediately get down to a much local-level kind of monitoring. That requires itself a combination of state-level reporting but I would argue also nonstate reporting. So, again, we spend a lot of our efforts as a nonprofit institution tracking not just emissions but also tracking how moneys are deployed, the scale of projects, where the projects are coming up. We do a lot of ground surveys ourselves. We do the largest survey in the world on energy access, that data that helps to inform the rollout of energy access interventions. We’ve now paired up with the largest rural livelihood missions in two of our largest states to ensure that this work around distributed energy and livelihoods and climate resilience is tied up with what the rural livelihood missions are promising at a state legislature level. So I think that it is very important that the science dictates the apportionment of the funds but that there is a combination of government reporting and nongovernment assessment to track the progress of these projects. Of course, with advanced technology—and, I mean, some have proposed blockchain and so forth—can also track individual transactions, whether it’s reaching the person who was intended to be reached, and so on and so forth, and those kinds of mechanisms need to be developed regardless of this loss and damage financing facility. If we talk about offsets, all the activity in voluntary carbon markets that are going on, the level of rigor that is needed for when, so you’re trying to offset your flight and saying, well, a tree is going to be planted in Indonesia for this long-haul flight that you’re taking, how do you know that that tree truly was planted? And also if trust is broken then it’s very hard to rebuild and that’s why, again, I said earlier in answer to a different question that transparency has its own value in addition to improving the trust of the market. But it has its own value because it guides policy development and policy action and individual action in a far better way. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Charles Fraser, who has raised his hand. Q: You can hear me? FASKIANOS: We can now. Thank you. But identify yourself. I know you also wrote your question. So— Q: Sure. I’m a graduate student at the Princeton School of International Public Affairs. My question is about access to finance issues. The UNFCCC has produced—has decreed other climate funds in the past, the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund for example, and often beyond issues of how much money is mobilized to those funds issues about how recipients can access the funds is a prominent thing that’s discussed. How do you think that the—this new fund on loss and damage can be set up to address those issues and, perhaps, demonstrate ways to get around those problems? GHOSH: Firstly, in the case of the loss and damage financing facility we should make sure that it is not designed as a development assistance fund because, as soon as you do that, then you get into all those other questions about is this—is this going to be spam, should we really send it there, are they really ready to receive the money, and then so on and so forth. It has to be a parameterized one in the sense that if certain shocks are hitting vulnerable communities and countries above a certain threshold it should be able to pay out and that’s why that hyperlocal climate science and the attribution science is absolutely critical. On top of that it has to—you know, this is not an investment fund in the sense that this is not a fund manager that has to then see where do I get best returns, and is the project application good enough for me to invest in this, whether it’s a mitigation project or adaptation project. No. This is a payout fund. So most of the effort for loss and damage financing facility, in my opinion—I don’t sit on the—that technical steering committee that is designing it—but in my opinion most of the effort has to go in figuring out what was the vulnerability, what was the baseline, and how much about that baseline did the—was the damage caused and therefore how much has to be paid out. That is really where a lot of the effort has to go, and the second effort that has to go goes back to what Stephen Kass was suggesting in terms of alternative ways to capitalize this, because with rising climate risks we will quickly run out of money even if we were able to capitalize it with some amount of money today. So these two will have to be the basis and the governing board has to basically decide that is the science that is guiding our understanding of a particular event robust enough for us to make the payout. It should not be contingent and that’s—it’s the same as one, say, an investigator from an insurance company does before a payout is made for a house that’s burned down. But if you keep the victim running around from pillar to post asking for the money that they deserve as compensation, then it will quickly lose legitimacy like many of the other funding schemes that have come out of the climate regime thus far. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the last question from Connor Butler, who’s at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. In the near future do you see wealthy developed countries collaborating with poorer lesser-developed countries in order to build a resilience toward and combat climate change, or do you think that the North will always work together without involving the South? GHOSH: Connor, thank you for this question because this gives me a segue into my third market failure, which is should we build or are we building a sustainable planet which widens rather than narrows the technology divide. I analyzed about three dozen so-called technology-related initiatives emerging in the climate and energy space over the last decade and a half and there were only four that did any kind of real technology transfer and that to—none at scale. Basically, what happens is when you talk about technology, when you talk about cooperation on new technologies, usually these initiatives get stopped at, you know, organizing a conference and you talk about it. Sometimes you put in a—there’s a joint research project that begins. Very few times there’s a pilot project that actually you can physically see on the ground, and almost never does it get used at scale. So I have been increasingly arguing for technology co-development rather than technology transfer, because it’s a fool’s errand to hope that the technology will be transferred. Now, why is technology co-development important not just from the point of view of Global South? It’s important from the point of view of Global North as well. Let’s take something like green hydrogen. It is a major new thrust in many economies. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act provides a $3 subsidy for production of green hydrogen. India has just announced the largest green hydrogen mission in the world aiming to produce 5 million tons of green algae by 2030. But green hydrogen is not just—it’s not easy to just take water and split it. You need a lot of energy. To make that—to split the water you need electrolyzers. For that, you need critical minerals. You need membranes that are developed in certain places. You need manufacturing capabilities that can build this out at scale. I mean, India alone will need 40 (gigawatts) to 60 gigawatts of electrolyzers by the end of the decade. So, ultimately, if we have to build a cleaner energy system and a cleaner economic system we will actually have to move away from islands of regulation towards a more interdependent resilient supply chain around clean energy and climate-friendly technologies. So rather than think of this as a handout to the Global South, I think it makes more sense—and I can talk about batteries, critical minerals, solar panels, wind turbines, green hydrogen, electric vehicles—and you will see again and again we are actually mapping economy by economy where strengths, weaknesses lie and how the complementarities come together. We can see that this technology co-development can become a new paradigm for bridging the North and the South rather than technology transfer being a chasm between the North and the South. FASKIANOS: I think that’s a good place to conclude, especially since it is so late there. This was a fantastic conversation. We really appreciate your being with us, Dr. Ghosh, and for all the questions. I apologize to all of you. We could not get to them all. We’ll just have to have you back. And I want to commend Dr. Ghosh’s website. It is So that is the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water website and you can find, I believe, a lot of the studies that you’re talking about and your papers there. So if people want to dig in even further they should go there, also follow you on Twitter at—oh, my goodness. I need—I need—I think it’s midnight here. GHOSH: So ghosharunabha. It’s my last name and my first name—at @ghosharunabha FASKIANOS: Exactly. Right. So thank you again for doing this. We really appreciate it. The next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, February 15, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time with Margaret O’Mara, who is at the University of Washington, and we will be talking about big tech and global order. So, again, thank you, and if you want to learn about CFR paid internships for students and fellowships you don’t have to be in New York or Washington. We do have virtual internships as well. You should please reach out to us, and we also have fellowships for professors. You can go to and do follow us at @CFR_Academic and come to,, and for research and analysis on global issues. So, again, Dr. Ghosh, thank you very much for today’s conversation and to all of you for joining us. GHOSH: Thank you, Irina. Thank you, CFR. Thank you very much. (END)
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    CFR President Richard Haass discusses his new book, The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens, with Mary Louise Kelly.  In The Bill of Obligations, Richard Haass argues that the very idea of citizenship must be revised and expanded. Haass introduces ten obligations that are essential for healing our divisions and safeguarding the country’s future. Through an expert blend of civics, history, and political analysis, this book illuminates how Americans can rediscover and recover the attitudes and behaviors that have contributed so much to this country’s success over the centuries.
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    Dr. Fatih Birol has served as Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) since 2015. He has led the Agency in a comprehensive modernization program, making it the global hub for clean energy transitions and broadening its energy security mandate. In this discussion, Fatih Birol shares his perspectives on the current state of global energy, focusing on the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy markets and alternate suppliers, including the United States, as well as prospects for limiting global warming, particularly through technology and innovation. The David A. Morse Lecture was inaugurated in 1994 and supports an annual meeting with a distinguished speaker. It honors the memory of David A. Morse, an active Council on Foreign Relations member for nearly thirty years.
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    Ashley Holben, interim manager and project specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and executive specialist to the chief executive officer at Mobility International USA, leads the conversation on disability inclusion on campus and in international affairs. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, if you’d like to share it with your colleagues. You can enable the closed captioning by clicking on the icon on your laptop or on your iPad in the “More” button. If you click on that you can show captions. So I encourage you to do that. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Ashley Holben with us today to discuss disability inclusion on campus and in international affairs. Ms. Holben is interim manager and project specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, and executive specialist to the CEO at Mobility International USA. In these roles, she develops initiatives and resources to increase participation and inclusion of students with disabilities in international exchange. So, Ashley, thanks very much for being with us. Let’s just get right to it. If you could discuss and share with us the importance of disability inclusion in higher education institutions and international affairs, and share what you have found to be some of the best practices to do so on college campuses. HOLBEN: Certainly. Well, thank you so much, Irina, and thanks so much to the entire CFR team for putting this topic on the agenda of this webinar series. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to discuss an often misunderstood topic but a very prominent community, which is people with disabilities in higher education. And so really appreciate all of those who are joining today to tune in, and welcome. And, you know, the CFR team shared with me the roster of folks who were planning to attend and one thing that really stood out to me is kind of the really wide breadth of expertise and departments represented and positions represented. So it’s really encouraging to see so many different types of leadership wanting to discuss this further and wanting to share practices. So I’m looking forward to doing that today and I really hope to hear from some of those who are tuning in with your expertise and observations and activities as well, and I am delighted to share some—just observations of my own in this role at the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE). As Irina said, this is a project that’s housed at Mobility International USA since 1995. But we’re sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, really, in order to promote the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the U.S. and other countries, and that is to say kind of to the end we provide tips and strategies for people with disabilities and international program staff on how to prepare for an inclusive international exchange. So, before I kind of dive in, I just wanted to define these terms a little bit because it’s not always clear what we mean by international exchange. But, basically, we’re talking about everything from study abroad, teach abroad, volunteering, research, professional visitor exchanges. Also, cultural like arts, sports programs. So try to picture a U.S. college student going abroad for a semester or an international student coming to the U.S., a Peace Corps volunteer, Fulbright scholars, and so on. And we’re—the genesis of this project is really because people with disabilities are taking advantage of these same opportunities as nondisabled people in order to advance their educational/career goals, their personal goals. And that kind of brings me to kind of another definition—a loose definition—that people often wonder, well, what do you mean by people with disabilities, and by that that includes people with physical or mobility disabilities, sensory disabilities, chronic health conditions, intellectual or developmental disabilities. That includes mental health disabilities, neurodiversity learning disabilities. And then keep in mind that disabilities can be apparent or nonapparent. And then also somebody’s disability might be apparent certain times and not others—for example, if they use assistive devices on some days but don’t need them on other days. So one topic that I really—is close to our hearts in our world is this theme of disability as diversity, and I saw on the roster—I was really excited to see that there were some folks who registered who are, for example, the director of diversity and inclusion, DEI specialists, and so on, and it’s so encouraging to see that higher education is really embracing this diversity, equity, and inclusion, implementing DEI strategies kind of throughout all areas of higher ed. And so, with this in mind it’s really vital to recognize that disability is part of diversity and not separate from it. Too often folks want to separate the two. Or, disability is an aspect of diversity that can get overlooked in diversity initiatives, we find, too often. So that inclusion of people with disabilities is really fundamental to be able to—and acting on that commitment to diversity at the institutional level. And then, for many, disability is an important facet of their identity, connecting someone to a larger disability community—for instance, disability pride, disability culture, history, and more. So it’s really important to keep that in mind in any discussion related to DEI. And just as important, many people with disabilities have identities in addition to their disability identity. So, for example, a person with a disability can also be a person of color, a first-generation college student, LGBTQ, an immigrant. And so one thing that we find often when we’re talking to people with disabilities about their experience is, there was so much focus on my disability that we completely forgot—(laughs)—to talk about these other aspects of myself that are important to me. So I think that’s definitely a good lesson. If anyone out there is more interested in this topic of disability intersectionality, I want to just kind of do a little plug for a publication that I’m really excited about that we put forth last year on Intersections Abroad, which I’m holding up to the screen. I think it might be blurred out, unfortunately, but—(laughs)—oh, here we go. FASKIANOS: It’s a little blurry but we’ll— HOLBEN: It’s a little blurry. FASKIANOS: (Inaudible)—anyway. HOLBEN: But it’s Intersections Abroad: “Travelers with disabilities explore identity and diversity through a lens of international exchange.” So it’s a series of travelers’ stories, interviews with people with different types of disabilities including people who are blind or have chronic health conditions or who are on the autism spectrum but who also want to describe what their study abroad experiences in different countries was like as a person of color or as someone with a religious identity or someone who brings all these unique experiences to their international exchange experience itself. For those of you who—I know we have a lot of different folks joining the call. On the higher education campus, people with disabilities not only includes students but also faculty, staff, administrators, campus leaders, visitors, and institutions often have dedicated staff or offices to support individual level disability accommodations and also to promote disability access more broadly across campus. So I noticed some folks who registered for this event come from, for example, Office of Student Accessibility, Office of Disability Services, Office of Student Support and Success. We had—I saw an access and accommodations coordinator, an ADA compliance coordinator. So these are all some examples of the types of folks who are working to help promote access at the—in higher education. You can also find counseling centers, tutoring centers. There are a growing number of campuses that are providing services tailored for students on the autism spectrum and also those that are tailored for students with intellectual disabilities, which is really interesting. And if you want to learn more about that I encourage you to check out the organization Think College. But in addition to campus accessibility and disability support services you’re going to find other entities that help promote disability community, disability history, disability rights, representation and visibility. For example, student groups led by and for students with disabilities. I saw one of the registrants—there were a couple of registrants on this event who are representing the Harvard Law School Project on Disability to, as they describe, use their learning in comparative and international law to advance understanding regarding disability law, policy, and education around the world. So it’s really exciting to see just kind of all the different ways in which higher education can support and promote disability access and inclusion in different ways in representation. Another topic that we are really passionate about at the NCDE is disability-inclusive campus internationalization, especially when it comes to the international exchange aspect of internationalization. So take education abroad, for instance. For the most part, I think a huge bulk of our resources relate to students—college students with disabilities who study abroad. That’s a big chunk of our resources, and we get a lot of questions about that from international exchange administrators and international study abroad advisors and coordinators about how can we provide some support to these students who want to study abroad who might have some specific disability-related accommodations they might need abroad, or everything from how can we attract students with disabilities to participate in our programs, and so on. So you’re going to find a lot of those types of resources in our library. But, education abroad that can also encompass faculty with disabilities leading trips abroad, and it’s really exciting to be able to connect with some faculty with disabilities who can share some of their stories with us about arranging these types of exchange programs. And the programs that they’re leading may or may not have a disability theme, depending on what their scholarly background is. However, I’ve observed that some education abroad curricula does include disability-related themes. So one example is at California State University in Northridge. One of their faculty led an exchange program called “Black Deaf Activism: Culture and Education in South Africa,” bringing together a lot of students from their campus who identify either as deaf, as Black, or both, and more. So that was really exciting to follow their journey through South Africa, again, with those different lenses. And then, of course, people with disabilities working in the international exchange field—in the international education field as advisors, administrators, and more, and that’s always something that we get really excited about at the Clearinghouse. We kind of proselytize a little bit to people with disabilities about, oh, have you thought about entering a career in international education so that we can see more disability representation and leadership within that field. A lot of students with disabilities are—and without disabilities are kind of blown away in a good way to see some of that disability representation in the kind of leadership level of that field and so that’s something that we try to encourage in some different ways that I’ll get to a little later. And then on the flip side of education abroad we also want to see disability-inclusive campus internationalization in the form of international student recruitment, so welcoming international students and scholars with disabilities to U.S. higher education, and that comprises another large segment of the resources housed at NCDE. So for those of you who advise international students and scholars on your campus or who are connected to the recruiting side to bring students with disabilities to the U.S., or bring international students to us, ESL offices and instructors. We want to work with them to make sure that they’re aware of the international students with disabilities. These are fantastic opportunities for them, too, and but they also might have some different cultural expectations related to disability. They might be used to a different type of system of accessibility and accommodations or a lack thereof. And, most recently we’ve talked to a lot of international students who are expressing an interest in connecting with other students with disabilities during their stay in the U.S., whether it’s other American students or other international students with disabilities. And so one thing that we’re excited to do in the near future is think of some ways that maybe we can help facilitate these types of connections on kind of a peer-mentor type model. Another focus of campus internationalization can be offering coursework on international disability rights. One prominent example in my mind is the University of Oregon’s “Global Perspectives on Disability” course because it’s co-taught by MIUSA’s own CEO, Susan Sygall, who is a woman with a disability, and what’s interesting is that that course is cross listed on campus with international studies, special education, and disability studies. So, you know, disability is such a cross-cutting issue. There’s really no topic or department or educational focus that doesn’t—that can’t touch upon disability, inclusion, and access. And so the “Global Perspectives on Disability” course at the U of O is one that’s been running for several years and it’s fantastic. We’re able to bring some guest presenters who are often disabled women leaders from countries around the world to share about their experiences in disability rights, disability policy, movement building, and so on. And then, one last example I’ll share, but not to say the last one, is access to foreign language learning and ESL and really ensuring that, you know, those are so vital to promoting campus internationalization and often they’re linked to these international exchange experiences, education abroad, and so on. But, sometimes we hear from people with disabilities that they were discouraged from taking a foreign language class because of assumptions about what they’re able to do. So, for example, like a person who is deaf, there might be some assumptions that they can’t participate in a foreign language class. And so, we would really promote any person with a disability to see if learning a foreign language is something that would help further their goals, personal, career wise, or otherwise. And so, I do want to hear your—all of your questions and your—not just questions but also just sharing from your experiences. But before we do that, I do want to just say a little bit about NCDE resources so that you’re aware of what we have in our library. That is to say they all touch on this crossover of disability inclusion in international exchange and include everything from tips for recruiting people with disabilities in international exchange programs, disability-specific tips for international travel. So, if your wheelchair gets broken when you’re abroad, what might you do? Or, what are some different types of accommodations that a blind student might use or someone with dyslexia might use? Best practices from various U.S. higher education institutions. And I think that’s going to really appeal to the folks who are on this webinar today. We have—just like we’ve been able to interview international exchange alumni, students who’ve come back from their experiences abroad, and others, we’ve also really relied on higher ed professionals to share their best practices with us because, really, our resource is a compendium of expertise from the field. And so I would really encourage anyone here who maybe they have a best practice to share from their own campus that they’re working on and we would love to be able to add that as a resource to be able to share with our broader community. So if that’s of interest please get in touch. We also offer sample disability accommodation forms and questionnaires, which is really handy for those out there who are wanting to start a conversation around disability access but maybe don’t know the—don’t have the vocabulary or don’t have the language. These are kind of helpful guides that can help you take those next steps. And then, finally, one thing that I am really excited to share because this is a new—relatively new initiative on our part is we’ve started hosting an access to exchange externship for—and this is a resource you can share with your students—this is for students with disabilities, recent graduates and others, who want to use their experiences to further the mission to promote disability inclusion in international exchange. So they’re tasked with coming up with some kind of either a webinar or event or a country guide, some kind of resource that can help further this mission. And so some of them have created resources for peers like prospective study abroad students with disabilities or for the folks who are working in the international education field so that they can be more cognizant of—you know, from a disabled person’s point of view what are the supports needed or what can they be doing. And then our seminar—access to exchange seminar is for people with disabilities who have not had any international exchange experiences and, you know, or maybe it’s a little intimidating to take that first step, and so our seminar is really just trying to break it down and make it feel a little bit more comfortable to ask questions and help try to just instill some confidence in future international exchange participants with disabilities. So, well, let me stop there for the time being and let me put it to all of you. What I’d like to know is, given, again, just this very—all of the different types of departments and expertise that you’re all bringing with you today what are some of your own experiences, observations, activities, around disability inclusion on your campus and in international affairs. So I’d really like to hear from you all and I wonder if anyone would like to start. FASKIANOS: Great. Great. Thank you, Ashley. This is terrific and, yes, we want to go to everybody on the call. You can click the raised hand icon on your screen to ask a question, and on an iPad or tablet click the more button to access the raised hand feature, and when I call on you, you can accept the unmute prompt. Please state your name and affiliation followed by your question. You can also write your question in the Q&A box. If you do that, please say who you are. And we do have our first written question from Pearl Robinson, who is an associate professor at Tufts University: Does the Peace Corps offer opportunities for people with disabilities? HOLBEN: Thank you for that question. Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Absolutely. The Peace Corps encourages people with disabilities to participate in—as volunteers and, indeed, we have seen so many returned Peace Corps volunteers with disabilities come back and share their experiences. I think I referred earlier to a person who was discouraged from learning a language because she’s deaf, and she often shares, she really pushed back against that, insisted she wants to learn French and one of the happy results of her advocating for herself to be able to pursue French despite being discouraged from doing so is it enabled her to be able to serve in the Peace Corps in Francophone Cameroon, which was a life-changing event for her. And, actually, I know that there is an upcoming webinar that’s going to be hosted by a Peace Corps staff on volunteers with disabilities that will feature a number of returned Peace Corps volunteers. And so if that—I think that is coming up pretty soon. So I’ll share that information with Pearl individually or unless other people are interested I can share with you, Irina. But also the Peace Corps also has opportunities for shorter-term programs for folks with unique expertise and who have a specific area of specialized focus. And so we recently interviewed someone who took part in that program—it’s called Peace Corps Response—which worked out really well for her because she has some chronic health conditions and mobility disabilities that made that format work quite well for her. But, yes, we have lots of returned Peace Corps stories on our website about people with different types of disabilities who served and it’s really fun to read their stories and just really eye-opening as well. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have another question from Deena Mansour with the Mansfield Center: We’ve appreciated using some of your resources on our State Department exchanges. Could you speak to some of the most important ways you prepared others in a cohort, a predeparture orientation to support a colleague with disabilities, given that many countries have less—far less exposure and support than we have had in the U.S.? HOLBEN: Mmm hmm. Yeah. I would say—and that’s fantastic that you’re working with—being able to implement State Department exchanges as well. We’re really excited by any time we can provide resources related to, for instance, the Global UGRAD program or the Mandela Fellowship or Fulbright, whatever it might be. And then, as for predeparture orientations, this has been a topic that we’ve explored both in terms of international students coming to the U.S., which we just kind of put—created some new resources for that. But it sounds like what you’re asking is for folks going abroad—maybe coming from the U.S. and going abroad. I think it’s just really important that people with disabilities who are preparing to go abroad are—have a chance to research a bit about the country’s disability rights—not only disability rights laws but disability culture and context. We really encourage folks to try to do outreach to a disability-led organization, if possible, and some people who’ve been able to do that it’s led to a really fruitful relationship and really enhanced their experience to be able to meet with local people with disabilities who can share kind of the real experience on the ground, what it might be like. I think a lot of people are also—maybe aren’t prepared for just the feeling of kind of being—standing out and others are unprepared for—well, just to use an example from our Intersections Abroad publication that I shared earlier, one student who studied abroad who is blind, she really thought that people would only be interested in her blindness and only have questions about her blindness, and she was really surprised that when she arrived people had wanted to know about other things about her, too. And so I think just allowing some room for all aspects of yourself there can be really beneficial. It’s something that sounds simple but people might forget. And so kind of evaluating different identities that you have, what you want to get out of the experience. But it sounds like what you’re asking about is kind of more just on-the-ground—those logistics, those environmental barriers. And you can’t foresee all of them, but I think just one thing that’s really helpful is just getting an idea of, how do people in that destination approach disability access because, if you call a hotel or something like that and you say is this going to be disability accessible, I really encourage just trying to get a little bit more specific, because they might say yes because their idea of disability access is having some burly people lift you up over some stairs, whereas that might not be at all your idea of accessibility. And so some of these things you’re not going to know until you arrive. But if you can connect with another—a person with a similar disability who has traveled abroad or someone who has gone to the place where you’re going that can really be helpful, or talking to locals with disabilities. And then our resource library, that’s one of the things that, I think—I really hope is helpful to folks planning their trips abroad is to be able to read about the experiences of other travelers and kind of the types of things unexpected that they encountered during their travels that might help other folks just get into that mindset of what might be on the horizon. FASKIANOS: There’s a question from Kwaku Obosu-Mensah at Lorain County Community College: Do students with disabilities need special insurance to travel abroad in an exchange program? HOLBEN: That’s a great—thanks for that question. Not always. Some students who have maybe chronic health conditions have been able—sometimes their study abroad program, for instance, has been able to negotiate, like, a group rate of health insurance for—for example, if it’s a group of students who are going abroad, in case there’s some additional coverage needed related to preexisting conditions or disabilities. However, we’re also seeing a best practice in the form of international exchange departments and offices budgeting for some funds to be able to provide for students with disabilities in those instances where something’s not going to be covered by. It’s kind of an extenuating circumstance, whether it’s related to getting access to health care, kind of an emergency fund, or being able to help pay for some private transportation when the local public transportation is not accessible, to use a couple of examples. So I think you’re going to have to—it’s really important to check with the insurance company and find out what their policies are around that but also to consider negotiating what they’re able to cover to be as inclusive as possible. And that’s not always going to be able to happen in that way, in which case those contingency funds are going to help supplement whatever the insurance is not able to. FASKIANOS: Great. And people can also raise their hand and ask their questions and share best practices. But I will have another question—written question—from Kimberly Pace, University of Alaska Anchorage, which goes along with Kwaku’s question, which was—you just answered about health care for students—faculty with disabilities when engaged in study abroad programs. So it’d be great if you could elaborate on that. HOLBEN: So, with health care, I guess just some additional considerations related to health includes mental health. Some folks with chronic health conditions might need to just get some—do some extra preparation—not only chronic health conditions but other types of disabilities. People with disabilities planning to go abroad will sometimes need to just take some extra steps for preparation, for example, those who are taking medications in the U.S. Certain types of ADHD medications in the U.S. are not legal in certain countries where people study abroad, and so trying to get information about what types of health care you’re able to receive abroad, what types of prescriptions you’re able to bring into the country abroad, working with your health care professionals about whether or not to adjust any medications prior to travel, and then where are you going to be able to access medical supplies in case yours get depleted or are lost or stolen or break—you know, where to go if your mobility equipment breaks. And we do have some tip sheets kind of on these different types of disability topics related to, what happens if you get into this dilemma, how can you try to, for example, keep your mobility equipment or your medications—how do you travel with those things in such a way that kind of helps mitigate some of the risks of having things break or confiscated or flagged or whatever it might be. So it’s not, like, a simple answer but it’s absolutely really important predeparture. Part of the —it’s part of the research. It’s part of the process for going abroad and, unfortunately, it typically means building in some extra time for planning to go abroad. So we always encourage students with disabilities, even if you think you might possibly go abroad at some point in your college career it’s not too early to start planning for it now and start looking into some of these questions, and some of the guides that we have on our website are helpful just for thinking through what those questions might be because, as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. And people will often think, well, I’ve got that taken care of, no problem. But they’re only considering it from a home environment perspective and not really thinking about how, well, is the host city infrastructure going to be able to support this accessibility software that I use or whatever it might be. So not just in terms of health care but other types of accommodations as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Can you elaborate on the difference between access and inclusion? I think it would be helpful to give those. HOLBEN: Well, I don’t think there needs to be a broad difference. But one thing that I would want to emphasize is, there’s—on one hand, we’re talking about disability inclusion and how can we make sure that—they’re really—they go hand in hand. Inclusion is how can people with disabilities access these—all of the same programs, all of the same services—really, just kind of everything that nondisabled people can access and—but I think inclusion is not quite the full picture. It’s not really enough. And so what we would say is how can we go beyond inclusion—the inclusion piece—which is just making sure can you participate to sometimes you have to kind of take the first step to get people with disabilities to see these things as belonging to them or see these—sometimes people will self-select out of things because they’ve grown up with these messages that this isn’t for them, or they have to wait until it’s a special disability-focused program or activity for them to participate. And so one message that we tell people with disabilities is to kind of think of it as an infiltration where you’re, like, find these nondisability-focused activities and if you want to be part of it then be part of it. But on the flip side, we’re also thinking a lot about reverse infiltration, which is the folks that are managing different projects and opportunities and activities sometimes you might have to go out of your way a little bit to invite in people from the disability community, meet them where they are, really make sure that they are expected, anticipated. So it’s not really just enough to say, well, we wouldn’t turn a person with a disability away so that makes us inclusive but, really, how can you be more proactive and intentional in your strategy to make sure that disability is represented. So I think that that would be one distinction. And then, furthermore, beyond just disability inclusion—are they participating—then I think another important step to look at is disability leadership, and so that’s kind of where—why I say we get really excited when people with disabilities are entering leadership positions in higher education, whether that’s working in the study abroad office or as faculty leaders and others who are taking part in these decision-making roles and, how can we create kind of a pipeline for people with disabilities to become leaders in these different areas and be that kind of next generation of leadership. So I would keep that at the forefront as well. FASKIANOS: Great. HOLBEN: And, you know— FASKIANOS: Uh-huh. HOLBEN: Oh, go ahead. FASKIANOS: Oh, I was just going to call on Kimberly Pace. She raised her hand. HOLBEN: Oh, perfect. Yes. Looking forward to hear Kimberly. FASKIANOS: From the University of Alaska Anchorage. Q: That’s brilliant. Oh, I’m just so appreciative of this forum, and thank you both so much. As a person with a physical disability it never occurred to me as a college student to ever go—even ask the question about study abroad and I—certainly, you’re blowing my mind that there are resources to allow students to do this. I teach international relations and comparative politics, and I am just beyond giddy that there—(laughter)—are options for students because that’s something that, personally, I, you know, never got to experience and never, certainly, was encouraged to do that. So I’m very excited. I just want to say thank you very much for the information. So thank you. HOLBEN: We’re right there with you, Kimberly, as far as the giddy factor. And, you know, thank you so much for sharing that experience because, actually, that is—I think that inclusive, that welcoming, encouraging messaging is so important and we kind of go into detail about that on one of our tip sheets about inclusive recruitment. But even just something as simple as a message on an opportunity that says people with disabilities encouraged to apply, you never know who that’s going to make all the difference in the world to and one prime example is our organization, Mobility International USA, might not exist if our CEO, who is a wheelchair rider, hadn’t done her Rotary exchange program in Australia, which kind of spawned this idea of what Mobility International USA should be, and what led her to participate in that Rotary exchange program was seeing just a simple ad in the newspaper that said people with disabilities encouraged to apply. And who was responsible for putting in that little line? We’re not sure. But it kind of led to this chain of events that kind of brought us to where we are here. And, you know, there are so many folks in the field in higher education who are—they don’t have all the answers and they don’t have a lot of—they might not have personal experience with disability. But I think if they can help be a champion, an ally, and be kind of someone who says, well, let’s figure this out, or let’s see what’s possible and not shut it down, I think that that’s often what has led to all of these amazing outcomes and impact stories from the folks who have shared their experiences with us on our website and then who knows how many more are out there. So, sounds simple, but it can have an important impact. FASKIANOS: So we have a written question from Mark Scheinbaum, who’s at the Florida International University: What updates or guidance do you have for students with de jure and/or de facto comfort pets that are needed for completion of usual and customary academic tasks? HOLBEN: If you can leave the questions up a little longer. Then I can— FASKIANOS: Oh, sure. Sure. Sorry. HOLBEN: That’s OK. FASKIANOS: I’ll put it back. HOLBEN: Well, I would just, first of all, make sure that you’re familiarizing yourself with the distinction between—you kind of use two different terms here. So there are comfort animals or emotional support animals, and then there are service animals, which are trained to do a specific service. Comfort animals and emotional support animals aren’t necessarily trained to perform a specific service related to a disability-related accommodation whereas a service animal is. So maybe that service is helping to detect the onset of an epileptic seizure, or the service is being able to help the person open doors or pick up items from the floor, or, of course, sight dogs for folks who are blind or visually impaired, for mobility. And so, anyway, that’s going to be a really key distinction for whether or not it’s going to be appropriate to have a service animal or an emotional support animal in a higher education setting, and especially that becomes more complicated when you’re talking about going abroad to another country where you’re also considering factors—not just the laws but also the cultural factors whether dogs are welcome in every restaurant or if it’s an animal that’s very taboo and you don’t keep them as pets, let alone travel around with them. And so all of those questions are going to come into play. We do have some tip sheets on our website that go into more detail around some preparation for bringing animals abroad, what you should know related to quarantine, vaccinations, and things like that. So search for animals on the MIUSA website to access some of those tips. FASKIANOS: Great, and we’ll send out links to that section, Ashley, after this so people can access it easier. HOLBEN: Oh, great. Yeah. FASKIANOS: So another written question from Erin Reed, and I will leave it up so you can see it— HOLBEN: Oh, thanks. FASKIANOS:—who’s the student services and admissions advisor/DSO at California State University San Marcos: What are your suggestions for a university study abroad program that is not made aware of a student’s disability prior to the student’s arrival? HOLBEN: I think my number-one suggestion would be rather than waiting for one student to participate start thinking about it now what are some ways we can build in some inclusive practices into our programming. So one thing that some programs might do is, well, maybe people aren’t disclosing their disability because we’re not giving them the opportunity to do so. So including questions in some of those post-acceptance forums that ask how can we make this program—how can we help set you up for success in this program. Might also ask specifically, including related to disability accommodations so that folks know that—I think it’s really important for prospective students or otherwise to just know that they’re being anticipated, that someone is thinking, yes, like, we’re totally expecting that at some point some students with disabilities will participate in this program. And I think that that can be—really signal to students, OK, this—we’re coming from a place that or we’re going to be interacting with folks who are anticipating me and, even if they don’t know all the answers to my questions they’re not going to shut me down. So I think that some of those types of—whether it’s just amending some of your forms or putting information on your program website, having inclusive images such as if there are images of people with apparent disabilities participating in the program, seeing themselves reflected in those images can be just as important as an inclusive written message. Let me go back to that question. Sorry. It went away again. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: If you click on the answered question. HOLBEN: I got it. Yeah. FASKIANOS: OK. And then I have two more written questions. Everybody’s sending in their questions at the end here. (Laughs.) HOLBEN: But just also, going back to Erin Reed’s question, if the program—it sounds like, we didn’t know that there was a student with a disability planning to arrive. Now we—we have this—these things that we need to figure out in the meantime. One more thing I’ll just say about how to maybe avoid that situation is working with—oh, this is so important—collaborating with the disability services office and other similar services on the campus to be able to arrange some kind of system. So a lot of institutions—for example, their study abroad offices will share a list of all of the students who are enrolled in study abroad for that upcoming semester and they’ll share it with the disability services office so that they can kind of go through and say, oh, well, we recognize—and this is all just privately on the disability services side to protect the students’ privacy—but they will kind of flag, oh, this is a student that we work with. And so what they might then do is connect with that student directly and say, hey, we learned that you’re going abroad—do you want to talk about some of the questions you might have or is there anything that we can do to support you and can we—are you comfortable with inviting those—the international advisors into this conversation so that we can just kind of put everything out in the open and we can figure out all the best ways to support the—that student. So, I would say, that’s so important that we used to at NCDE pay people to take each other to lunch from the study abroad office and the disability services office because too often we heard, oh, yeah, they’re just right across the—you know, their office is literally right over there. I can see them from our office. But we’ve never talked to them or—and we don’t really know what they do. So I think just to have it breaking some of that ice early on and not waiting for the time when there’s a student with a disability there but just kind of building that into your process, and that can also be helpful for collecting data as well. The Institute for International Education has an annual Open Door survey that provides data and statistics around who is participating in an international exchange and they’ve started including a question—some questions related to disability so that, hopefully, over time we can kind of see is disability—are people with disabilities being represented in international exchange in greater numbers, what types of disabilities do they have, and so on. So working with the disability support office is one great way to also collect that type of information too, which is going to really help the field and, hopefully, help more people with disabilities to be able to participate in international exchange. FASKIANOS: So we have a question from Andrew Moran from London Metropolitan University: In the U.K. inclusion is not just about access or being in a classroom. It is also about inclusive assessment methods. I wonder if you have any resources—if you know of any resources that suggest assessment methods that would allow neurodiverse or physically disabled students to fully engage and not be excluded. They’ve done away with exams because you can’t rely on an elevator to work to get to an exam room, let alone the barriers in the exam might pose for neurodiverse students. And he’s leading a working group on allowing students to choose, create their own assessment method to enable greater diversity and meet students’ needs but always looking for new ideas. HOLBEN: Oh, that’s really interesting. Thanks so much for sharing that, Andrew, and for sharing the example at your own institution as well. And I would love to hear other folks respond to this, too. As far as—one, again, I would really encourage you to check out Think College as a prospective resource for—especially just because you mention neurodiverse students. So Think College operates at different campuses right now—for now, I think, only in the U.S. Perhaps their network is growing beyond that as well. But it’s kind of this network of professionals who work with—to try to get students not only with intellectual disabilities but also those who are neurodiverse, including those who are on the autism spectrum. And so they are really a fantastic source of expertise for everything from inclusive education or specialized support and accommodations and pedagogy. So I think that they would be probably the ones to connect with about this question in particular. But if other folks have other ideas in response to Andrew, I’m sure we’d all appreciate it. And maybe while we’re thinking of that, we’ll check out this next one. FASKIANOS: Right. McKennah Andrews with the Mansfield Center: We have a blind participant on an upcoming international program taking place here in the U.S., and MIUSA’s resources have been so valuable. Can we touch on the topic of personal assistants? What advice or testimonies might you have regarding engaging with personal assistants during a program? HOLBEN: Yes, absolutely. So personal assistants can look like a couple—many different things, actually. You might even—since you mentioned having a blind participant, this might not be what you meant but some—for some folks who are blind they may have had some sighted guides during their exchange programs abroad. So that’s another example where a student who—or a person who is used to one type of access accommodation or assistive devices or technology in their home environment might have to look into some different ones for their host environment. So we’ve known some people who are really—have great cane skills for orientation and mobility and strong independent mobility skills in their home environment but have felt more comfortable having the program help arrange a sighted guide for them when they’re going to, perhaps, countries where—or environments that are a little more chaotic or where, for whatever reason, their usual skills might not work out. Or, again, if that person uses a service dog in—or service animal in their home environment and that wouldn’t really be feasible in the home environment then having that kind of human guide or a personal assistant might be one method that they look into. Personal assistants might also provide everyday living services—you know, feeding or using the bathroom or just getting ready throughout the day, assisting with lifting and transferring, and that’s going to—might—again, as somebody who—we’ve seen some instances where people in the U.S. who don’t use personal assistant services might opt for that when they’re going to a place where, you know, they might need to be lifted more often because the infrastructure is not as—going to be as smooth or not as accessible. And so we’ve seen different situations where sometimes they are—the personal assistant in question is someone they’ve worked with a long time in the U.S. Sometimes it might be a peer who attends their school. Sometimes it’s a parent who travels. I’ve definitely seen all kind of different types of—oh, and also a local person that’s hired in the country to provide personal assistant care. So it’s really interesting just to kind of be aware of all of the different ways that that might look and check out—again, we have a specific tip sheet about that—actually, a series related to personal assistant services. So, yes, we can talk about personal assistant services and we have kind of a suite of resources related to that so there’s a lot that can be said. So thanks for bringing that up. FASKIANOS: Terrific. We are almost out of time, and I did see that there was a raised hand from Justice Chuckwu— HOLBEN: Fantastic. Let’s hear from Justice. FASKIANOS: —disability rights, Oregon. He lowered his hand but—oh, there we go. And if you can ask it quickly and unmute yourself that would be great. HOLBEN: I think we’ve met before, Justice. Hello. HOLBEN: Oh, hi. There’s Justice. Q: Hello. HOLBEN: Hello. Q: Yeah, I think we met a couple times. Yeah. So my name is Justice and, yeah, I’m so much appreciative of this program. And I always have a simple question and the question is how do we—how do we unify orientation for international students with disabilities, given the fact that they come from different backgrounds and most times there are just maybe one or two or three in one university or one college and may not be able to really understand the environment early enough. Maybe by the time they would get to understand the environment they might be getting to the mid-semester. So my question is, is there a way to kind of unify the orientation, especially since we now have online—things could be done online to unify the orientation to make sure that students—international students with disabilities are not left behind. HOLBEN: Mmm hmm. Yes. Thank you, Justice. And, actually, it was your bringing that to light that kind of got—we started incorporating that question into some of our resources and, in fact, you helped contribute to one of our webinars on this very topic of support for international students with disabilities coming to different campuses in which you kind of described that feeling of how do I connect with other people with disabilities, especially other international students with disabilities, who might be able to share in some of these experiences so I don’t feel so alone in this. And I really—that really sparked a lot of ideas but one of which is, might there be some kind of opportunity for a student group of international students with disabilities but bringing together students from different campuses to be able to share their experiences. And so that’s something that we at the NCDE are exploring more. But as for existing resources, in addition to the webinar that Justice contributed to we also added some others related to just sharing some best practices from our—MIUSA leads an orientation for high school exchange students with disabilities who are arriving to the U.S. for a State Department-funded scholarship program and we—as part of this orientation we incorporate information about your rights as a person with disabilities while you’re in the U.S. and how to advocate for yourself if there’s something that you need but aren’t getting, how to fully participate in all of the opportunities while you’re there. So I think that those are the—some of the same messages that could be really beneficial to folks entering U.S. higher education from different parts of the world and just learning about U.S. disability culture and those steps for taking advantage of all of the resources available to you. So, yeah, you’re absolutely right, Justice. There’s more work to be done, and I think folks like you who are voicing kind of those needs—those firsthand gaps that you’ve identified is kind of one of the first steps in helping to build out some of these resources. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Well, we are out of time. In fact, we’re a little over. HOLBEN: Oh. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: So, Ashley Holben, thank you so much for doing this. We really appreciate it, and to all of you for your questions and comments. Again, we will be sending out a link to this webinar transcript as well as to the resources that Ashley mentioned. So stay tuned for that. Our next Higher Education Webinar will be on Wednesday, February 22, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time with Jeremi Suri, who will lead a conversation on teaching the history of American democracy. And just please do follow us at @CFR_Academic and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Ashley, again, thank you very much for doing this. We appreciate it. HOLBEN: Thank you. Thank you for—to everyone who attended for your time and thanks to CFR for getting this on the agenda. I really appreciate it also. FASKIANOS: Great. We look forward to everybody continuing to participate in this Higher Education Webinar series. Have a good rest of your day. (END)
  • Immigration and Migration

  • United States

    CFR’s Military Fellows discuss the state of the U.S. armed forces, including defense priorities for 2023, U.S. deterrence in the face of escalating geopolitical tensions, military recruitment and retention efforts, and other non-combat operations.  The CFR Young Professionals Briefing Series provides an opportunity for those early in their careers to engage with CFR. The briefings feature remarks by experts on critical global issues and lessons learned in their careers. These events are intended for individuals who have completed their undergraduate studies and have not yet reached the age of thirty to be eligible for CFR term membership.
  • Americas

    Christopher Waller discusses the economic outlook for the United States in the year ahead.
  • Disasters

  • Economics

  • Health

    After more than five decades at the National Institutes of Health, physician-scientist Anthony S. Fauci, MD recently stepped down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and President Biden’s chief medical advisor. Here he discusses his thirty-eight years as NIAID director, the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic; the latest developments with emerging infectious diseases; and how countries should prepare for the next pandemic. 
  • Ukraine

    Liana Fix, fellow for Europe at CFR, leads the conversation on the global ramifications of the war in Ukraine. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Welcome to the first session of the Winter/Spring 2023 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Liana Fix with us to talk about the global ramifications of the war in Ukraine. Dr. Fix is a fellow for Europe at CFR. She is a historian and political scientist, with expertise in German and European foreign and security policy, European security, transatlantic relations, Russia and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining CFR, Dr. Fix was program director for international affairs at Körber-Stiftung in Berlin. She has also served as a fellow at the German Marshall Fund, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, and the Robert Bosch Foundation Multilateral Dialogues. And from 2014 to 2016, Dr. Fix was the a doctoral fellow at the German Institute for International Security Affairs and associate fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of A New German Power? Germany’s Role in European Russia Policy, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan. So, Liana, thank you very much for being with us today. We are about a month shy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Can you begin by giving us context on where things stand in Ukraine, and talk about the global ramifications of this war in Ukraine that Russia has mounted? FIX: Thank you so much, Irina. Thank you for the opportunity to speak at this Academic Webinar and to lead this webinar just really at a very good time, just short of the one year—the tragic one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And what I would like to discuss today, and perhaps to offer also as some input for the discussion, three questions. First of all, looking back at the last year, at what have we actually learned from the last year and from the war in Ukraine, that we would not have known before, and a lesson that we should take with us for the future. The other second point is what can we actually expect for this year? What can we expect for the second year of the war? And then the third question, what are the global ramifications and how will they continue to affect beyond the war in Ukraine in this year? So coming to the first point, and that is the lesson learned from the war so far, and from the last year. I have one lesson learned to offer, which seems to me to be the most important one because it summarizes many other surprises and lessons learned that we had throughout the last year. And this lesson is the fallacy of linear thinking. And what do I mean by that? I mean by that, that throughout the war we have continued to think in the moment from where we stood and where we were. So the first example is perhaps the most obvious one, the assumption that a Russian attack on Ukraine would immediately result in Moscow’s military victory. And even after Russia’s defeat in the Battle of Kyiv, it took months for policymakers and analysts to internalize that Russia’s initial failures in this war were not only a temporary setback, but that Russia is actually on the losing side in this war. The second example that explains why we always continue to fall for this fallacy of linear thinking is the prediction of a stalemate that we hear again and again, and that we heard very often in the last year, often with a comparison of the First World War, the concern that we would end up in a trench warfare between Ukraine and Russia back in their relative positions. This prediction has, in the last year, repeatedly been refuted by Ukrainian counteroffensives. And it is also not what we should expect for the next year. Just because we now have a period of one or two months when things seem to be a little bit slower, it would be a fallacy of linear thinking to assume that this is how the war will continue to take place in this year. So actually, right now, both sides are preparing for the spring counteroffensives. And those don’t have to be as successful as we have seen in the past, but we do see a very dynamic battlefield development, which suggests that this war is actually more likely to produce surprises instead of continuities. And perhaps a third example of linear thinking, which I find particularly intriguing and interesting to think about, is that despite all kinds of speculations about domestic unrest in Russia, about regime destabilization, what kind of potential successes could we have to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, we most often continue to think that someone or something, some system following Vladimir Putin in power would be bound by his legacy and somewhat molded in his image. So the question comes up, would it be worse? Would it be better than Vladimir Putin? But in reality, we really don’t know how different what after Vladimir Putin comes it will be. And it would be wise to prepare for exactly the opposite scenarios than the ones we consider now. I have written three scenarios with my colleague Michael Kimmage for a piece in Foreign Affairs where we have offered a scenario of a Russian defeat after negotiations, a Russian defeat after escalation, and a Russian defeat after regime change. Those are only three options that we have analyzed, but they suggest that we should also not be overly optimistic for what comes afterwards. We will probably not see a golden age of stability and security just because Russia was defeated in Ukraine. But we can see, and we can expect in many regions of the world, especially in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia, a vacuum of power where other actors will move in and try to replace Russia’s role there, if Russia is defeated and its power and hold over its near neighborhood, as it’s often called, is crumbling. So that’s what I think we have learnt from the last year. Looking ahead for this year, what is it that we can expect? And there are many indications that suggest that 2023 may be a year where we will see decisive action in the war in Ukraine. The first, that was a surprise to many who thought that the West had some kind of war fatigue, especially the Europeans, after this tough winter with high energy prices, that we would end up in a stalemate in this war, is that we have an announcement of new heavy weapon deliveries to Ukraine coming from the United States, France, and Germany. And that is interesting, not only because for the first time we have light tanks that are sent to Ukraine, but it seems that there is a consensus in the West that decisive action is necessary to equip Ukraine with the material that it needs for a successful counteroffensive in the spring. And that prolongs, or can prolong, into an assumption that this war should not become a forever war, but that this war needs to end in 2023. Also, because 2024 will be a much more complicated year on a political level. We will have elections in the United States in 2024, which is perhaps the most important factor because the United States has been such a leader in this war so far. So elections and the instability that they might bring or, indeed, the uncertainty that elections in the United States might bring are a good reason why 2023 has to become a decisive year. We will also have elections in Ukraine in 2024, and some kind of elections, if they’re even worth calling it that way, in Russia in 2024. So again, 2023 really seems to be the year where decisive action should be taken. Can it be taken, and can it be taken successfully? That very much depends on two factors. The first is the Western support that Ukraine gets. The light tanks, the dozens of light tanks that have been announced now, will not be enough. Ukraine’s asking for hundreds of those models. And the second is obviously how will Russia react, and what are Russia’s plans for 2023? And we’ve seen some interesting changes. We’ve seen that Russia has brought again a change in the leadership structure of this war. General Surovikin, who was actually quite successful in leading the war in the last three months, or at least he had narrowed the gap between reality and what Vladimir Putin looks how this war looks like, has been—has been demoted to a position under General Gerasimov. So we do see that this—both the structures, but also the alliance of reporting on the Russian side have changed, which suggests that there’s just no plan that has worked so far, which explains why it is renewed again and again. And the other factor, from the Russian side, is the expectations that Russia will recruit another cohort of conscripts into this war. Three hundred thousand have been recruited in the first wave, and more are expected to come. So these two factors will impact what we will see in 2023 in this war. And now let me move on how this war will have global ramifications beyond Europe also in 2023. What have we seen in global ramifications in 2022? It was very clear that this war is not just a European regional war, but truly a war with global effects very clearly, because of the energy shock that we have seen. So energy wholesale prices have, in some parts, increased fifteenfold in Europe. Because of the economic slowdown that this war has caused, we actually had quite an optimistic outlook for 2022 because many countries were coming out of the pandemic with a hope of economic recovery. And then the war started. And the energy price shock led to an incredible high inflation rate for many countries, which is double digit in Europe, for example, which, again, contributes to a cost of living crisis in many parts of the world. And then, obviously, the impact of food shortages, the blockade of crucial Ukrainian grain transport, which has only been resolved through Turkish intervention, affects the Global South immensely. And we also see the role of China in this war, especially when it comes to the nuclear dimension, that the West felt compelled to ask China for some kind of help in deescalating Russia’s nuclear rhetoric. So while it is a war that is focused in Ukraine, we don’t see NATO involvement, it does have global impact and ramifications that extend beyond the war. So I think it’s very fair to argue that it is more than a regional European war, and it will remain more than a regional European war in this year. And I think I’ll leave it at that for the moment. FASKIANOS: Liana, thank you very much. That was terrific. We’re going to turn to all of you now for your questions. (Gives queuing instructions.) OK, so now let’s go to the group. And let’s see. Oh, good, we have—already have three raised hands. I’m going to start with Hamza Siddiqui. And excuse my pronunciation. You can correct me. (Laughs.) Q: Thank you. I’m Hamza Siddiqui. I’m a student at Minnesota State University in Mankato. I actually have two somewhat related questions. The first was that—do you agree that, according to—do you agree with some reports that there is apparently an internal power struggle that has broken out in Russia with the security services and the military on one side and the Wagner Group and Ramzan Kadyrov on the other side? And, secondly, in a scenario in which Putin does end up getting removed from power, is there any one individual within Russia who has the same amount of influence and power that Putin had, who would be able to fill in that power vacuum? Thank you. FIX: Thank you. I think those are two really excellent questions, and not that easy to answer. So the first, I think, you’ve described quite correctly the internal power struggle that we’ve seen. What is interesting is that the Russian president himself sort of knows about this power struggle. So we can only—we have no indication of what he thinks about the dispute between the traditional security forces, the defense ministry and the Russian Army, and this new not secret anymore group of Wagner and Prigozhin, who really have challenged the defense ministry and the Russian military leadership in the past. So they have allowed their soldiers to post videos basically insulting the leadership or the lack of success, criticizing them for their failures. And what the head of the Wagner Group has been doing very successfully is to be the one who has the pictures and the videos of himself in the trenches with the soldiers. That’s something that we don’t see from Vladimir Putin. He’s always detached in his—in his office in the Kremlin, or wherever he might be. So we do see that there was a fight to—for this role of the leader of this war in military affairs. It could be an indication that General Gerasimov has been put back in charge of the whole operation. That this is a weakening of the Wagner Group and Prigozhin, and of those paramilitary groups. But I think this is a dynamic that will go back and forth. What if Putin is removed from power? So what Putin has done very successfully in the years of his term is to replace any candidates that might be potential successors to himself. So the last wave of big changes that we’ve seen in the Russian administration were the introduction of so-called technocrats. So Putin has surrounded himself with technocrats that are successful, or meant to be successful, managers around him, but that don’t have the kind of political standing that would question his position. Dimitry Medvedev, who has already replaced Vladimir Putin once, has become a war hawk, sometimes with absurd commentaries on the war which might rule him out as a successor. But, again, the reasoning that Vladimir Putin has changed the constitution and allowed himself to stay in power until 2036 is, and he said that, because he does not want his elites to be distracted by these power struggles. So it’s really very difficult to see where this successor can come from and who it can be. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. I’m going to take the next question, written question, from Lucas McMillan from Lander University. How would you describe the ramifications for the European Union (EU) as an institutional body and in its future goals? FIX: I think that’s a multilayered question. So, for one, the European Union has become more geopolitical in its outlook. So when we see what the European Commission under the leadership of von der Leyen has done, it has been quite significant. And so the sanctions packages that have been agreed upon, the support for Ukrainian refugees. For the first time we have a peace facility, some kind of defense fund that European member states have set up to refund member states for the arms payments—the arms deliveries that they have given to Ukraine. So we do see that the European Union has become more geopolitical, has sort of pooled its power together in this war, and the instruments that it has available. But—and we also have to say that it has been relatively successful in managing the energy crisis so far. But what we don’t yet see is that the European Union really has stepped up in terms of defense policy. So when it comes to a new defense policy, it is very much NATO that has benefitted from this war, benefitted from increases in defense spending, and not the EU, which also tried to set up defense structures in the past. I mean, there’s always the question of, you know, how can this relationship between EU defense structures and NATO work at all? And it’s a difficult relationship. But we see that the EU as a geopolitical actor has been strengthened. But as a military actor, it is very much NATO that has been strengthened. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Pam Chasek. Q: Hi. I hope you can hear me OK. I’m Pam Chasek. I’m a professor at Manhattan College in New York. FASKIANOS: Pam, you’re a little bit—can you get closer to the mic? You’re a little hard to hear. Q: Yeah. Sorry, I forgot my headphones today. (Laughs.) Can you hear me better now? FASKIANOS: Yes. And if you can repeat your affiliation, that would be fantastic. Q: Yes. Pam Chasek, Manhattan College in New York. While this may not be on everyone’s radar screens, the United Nations has become another front in this war. Not just the Security Council, but the Eastern European Regional Group has been unable to nominate members to leadership of various treaty bodies and other organizations within the UN. Russia has also rejected consensus on other members. And this is really hamstringing the work of these bodies. And I’m wondering if you’ve seen other diplomatic side effects of this war. FIX: Well, that’s a very interesting point that you mention. I think the UN has struggled in multiple dimensions when it comes to this war. I think one of the interesting diplomatic side effects is what we’ve seen in part in the voting results in the UN. So there’s really this struggle to isolate Russia as much as possible, but then on the other side this—the refusal of many countries in the Global South, like India, to outrightly condemn Russia as a sole instigator of this war, with the argument, well, this war is taking place in Europe. There were so many other wars that Europe was not paying attention to. So why should we now pay so much attention to this war? And I think this has resulted in an interesting—there’s been an interesting new category of in-between states that are sort of in-between this new competition, this new rivalry, between the West and Russia, but also somewhere between the West, Russia, and China. And these in-between states not only include India. We also see Serbia as some kind of in-between state. And to some extent within the European Union we also see Hungary as some kind of in-between state, that really is taking the EU hostage in many regards. And that is something which reminds of Cold War times, but has a different dynamic right now. And I do think we see this also in the voting behavior of the UN. So I think next to what you mentioned, as a very interesting development, that’s also something to look out for in the future. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to next to William Weeks, who wrote his question. Why don’t you just ask it and identify yourself please. Q: Sorry. My name is Will. I am from ASU in the History Department. And my question is—to Liana, it’s what do you believe is the level of cooperation and coordination between China and Russia? FIX: Yeah. That’s an excellent question. Well, there is this—there was this hope throughout this war that there might be a way to bring China on the Western side, and to really bring China to put pressure on Russia. And especially on this issue of the nuclear statement and sort of decreasing the nuclear tensions. There was a lot of hope in Europe, I would say, that China’s intervention, saying that, you know, nuclear threats are unacceptable, somehow signaled that China is trying to distance itself from Russia. And, I mean, it’s fair to say that the war definitely has not gone according to plan also from a Chinese perspective. And it’s fair to say that the war brings Russia in a position of even more dependence on China than Russia has been before. But I would be cautious this narrative of China is really distancing itself from Russia, and sort of the partnership—limitless partnership has been—has been damaged by this war. Because I do think Beijing is very skillful at analyzing what is needed in its specific relationships at the moment. And I think the analysis is that in its specific relationship with Europe, it is good to present yourself as distancing yourself from Russia, trying to use your leverage with Russia, because that’s what has upset the United States and Europe at the beginning of this war, that China seemed to be on Russia’s side. What happens behind the scenes on Russian-Chinese dialogue and interaction is on a completely different page. So we have not seen obvious weapons deliveries from China to Russia. I mean, there are rumors that those might have taken place, but not in any kind that have been obvious so far. And I think China is very careful with – if it supports Russia with weaponry, it’s very careful to probably not leave traces, to not impact the relationship with the West and with Europe. And that, again, the economic dependency. And that, Russia is definitely only sliding deeper into the dependence on China that was there in the past. And so I would say it is—it continues to be a close partnership. There continues to be a lot of exchanges between Russia and China. And I would not sort of too quickly buy this argument that China is trying to distance itself from Russia, that this is a genuine argument. I do think at the moment it’s a diplomacy from China towards Europe and the West. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Michael Oppenheimer, who has a raised hand. Q: I teach at NYU. I’m in complete agreement with you about the implausibility of stalemate. It surprises me how people that should know better, you know, continue to insist that there’s something inherently stalemated about this conflict. My question really relates to the longer term, beyond next year, and whether there’s sort of at the root of policy disagreements about how much we should support Ukraine, and how much risk we should take in providing offensive weapons. There’s a difference of opinion about the stakes in Ukraine. And that’s a question that’s not often made explicit, but I think there are some people who think that this is another local conflict, that we can survive without long-lasting damage to the international system. As against those who kind of see this as a 1930s-like, you know, kind of pivotal moment in international politics. What are your views on that? And what kind of policy consequences ensue if you take one or the other of those positions? FIX: Thank you. I think that’s a very correct analysis here. And I think the further away you move from Europe the more opinions do you get that this is, you know, just a regional war in Europe that, you know, just has to end, as far as possible. The closer you’re sort of—the nearer you are in Europe, the more it feels like a system-transforming war, which really changes the international order. And I think that two sort of consequences of both pathways going—(inaudible). If it’s a system-transforming war, then really Russia’s defeat is sort of a priority not only for Ukraine, but for the whole Western—for the whole international order. Which is fine to assume as an assumption, but the question then is what happens after Russia is defeated? Because the analogy that many draw to 1939 doesn’t work in 2022, because there’s just no way that Russia can be—or, Russian leadership can be changed in a way that German leadership was changed in 1945—“changed,” in quotation marks. So the question then becomes, even if Russia is defeated in Ukraine, how do we deal with the Russia that we have identified as a threat to our system? And how do we construct a future within Russia? Do we go back to containment? I think that’s the crucial question where there are no answers for. So there’s a lot of tactical thinking right now about the war, and how far to go, but less of a strategic thinking about what is Russia to us after this war, and how do we want to deal with it? And the other line of argument to take is, well, if it’s just a regional war, it sort of implicitly and—you know, we can survive this one—it implicitly assumes that there is some—or, there is no danger to the system as it is if Russia sort of retakes its old form as a Soviet—as a Soviet hegemon. It might affect Ukraine. It might affect Moldova at some point. It might affect Georgia. But it sort of assumes that after that, there would be a wall and Russia’s imperial expansionist drive would not expand further and would not dare to expand in any kind of NATO territory, even if Russia would then have moved closed to NATO territory. And that is a line that one can argue. But certainly the security—the military threat that a Russia poses that is closer to NATO’s borders, which has Ukraine under its control, which is threatening Moldova, would require in any way a rearmament of Europe not seen since Cold War times. So it might actually be the cheaper option to defeat Russia in Ukraine than to have Russia move closer to NATO, because then it really comes back to Cold War times defense spending and defense of Europe. And I think that’s why, apart from all the other normative reasons, that is just, for me, a logical consequence why giving Ukraine the opportunity to win against Russia is the cheaper and the better option for the West. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Rob Warren from the Anglo-American University in Prague. As by far the largest military donor in the conflict, what do you see as being the United States’ long-term goals? Is this simply an issue of Ukrainian sovereignty and European security? FIX: I think that’s an important part of the equation, containing Russia in Europe, containing the Russian threat in Europe. But I do think another dimension is also the signaling towards China. So for the United States not letting Russia win in Ukraine is an important signal towards China to suggest, well, this is not the pathway for authoritarian countries to go, and for just easily and quickly occupy another country. So I think for the U.S. it has this dual dimension, which it doesn’t necessarily have for Europeans. Europeans don’t really care about the signal that this war sends to China, because they don’t perceive China as the same kind of competitor as the United States perceives China. But for the United States, it’s a credibility question towards Russia, but also towards China. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question, a raised hand, from Autumn Hauge. Q: Hi. I’m Autumn Hauge, and I’m a student at Mankato State in Minnesota. And the question that I have—so, throughout history and today Russia has been known for their very large and strong military. But there has been evidence of Russia losing in this war against Ukraine. So my question is, what are some factors or reasons that you could elaborate that are causing the military—the Russian military to perform so poorly? Especially with Russia being one of the global superpowers today. FIX: Thank you. That’s a big question actually many had at the outbreak of the war, when they expected that Russia would just roll through Ukraine. And it’s a question very many military analysts ask themselves. So what did they—what did we get wrong? I think the first answer to that lies with the Russian military. So after the war in Georgia in 2008, Vladimir Putin started a military modernization of the Russian forces, which looked very good on paper but, as we know now, has changed less in the structures of the Russian Army than one would have thought. So in Georgia in 2008, the Russian Army was in a terrible state. But the modernization processes were also, because of corruption, not as successful as they were expected to be. The second argument which explains this is that the Russian Army just has never fought this kind of adversary that it now has in Ukraine. It was in Syria. It captured Crimea. But those were all operations on a different level. So in Crimea, there was almost no resistance. In Syria, it was mostly an air campaign not an occupation campaign. And then, I mean, Ukraine is a huge country. I mean, it’s incredibly big. And obviously the third element to that was wrong intelligence, which led to incredible losses of the Russian Army at the beginning. So this war was prepared like a black op—like black op intelligence operations, where mostly the intelligence services were providing the information, and not as a war which is conducted as—by the military leadership and by the defense ministry as the land war that it turned out to be. So I think these are the three elements that explain why Russia’s military is just not up to the task, and it never was, to occupy Ukraine in full. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Asher Cohen, who’s a master’s candidate at American University. If there is any negotiated cessation to the war, do you think Putin would look to frame this as a victory for Russia? If so, how? FIX: He will definitely try to do this. I mean, there’s just no other way how he could frame it. And I think what he hopes to do, and that’s what he has signaled in the past, is that he can tell the Russian people, look, historical Russia has expanded. We have these new Ukrainian regions as our part of Russia. So this war was a historical victory for us. So basically, make people forget that the initial objective of this war was to get Kyiv and to change the Ukrainian leadership. So make this more about territory and about the historic lands that Russia has regained. Then again, another narrative that has been used in the past is that if Russia would have fought this war just against Ukraine it would have won, but it’s fighting this war against NATO. And that’s why it is unfair, because NATO is sort of not coming in itself but it’s sending its own weaponries. And that’s why sort of Russia would have won a war against Ukraine proper, but cannot win a war against NATO, which is obviously not half true because it’s Ukrainians that are fighting there and have fought there at the beginning of the war, in the first weeks, when there was not a lot of NATO weaponry. But the other question for him, or the most important question in this negotiation solution for Ukraine is, is a negotiated solution for Russia just a break to buy time? Because where will this imperialist drive go? Why should it disappear? Why should Russia not try to, after a humiliating defeat, try to attack Ukraine again? So the question for Russia is how would a negotiated solution threaten regime stability? So Russia might lose this war, but Vladimir Putin might not be able to lose this war. And I think that’s a very crucial difference we should keep in mind. FASKIANOS: And just to follow on that, there’s a written question from Jill Dougherty of Georgetown University. Zelensky today at Davos said that Russia’s role in the world will be as a terrorist nation. Is that just a figure of speech? Or could it be true? You know, should there be war crimes tribunals, reparations, all of—all of that at the end of this? FIX: Yeah, this is a Ukrainian advocacy campaign to have Russia—to make Russia—to make Russia designated as a terrorist state. It’s a campaign that so far has not been successful in the United States and with the White House. It’s in Europe, in some corners, it has been picked up. If I’m not mistaken, the European Parliament has submitted a resolution on that question, should Russia be designated a terrorist state? I think what is more important is the question of what can be the right framework to prosecute Russian war crimes. And there, the German prime minister, for instance, has come out in favor of a tribunal of—an international tribunal, because the question really is where can this take place without a Russian veto right? And who should be—who should be represented there? And I think this aspect of accountability in the end, I mean, regardless of how it works out, is so important, just for the discussion, because it gives—it sends a signal that there is no impunity to other actors. That regardless of how this tribunal might look like, who might be in front of there, that it’s not outside of legal accountability, the kinds of war crimes that Russia has conducted. So I think discussing this at a high level is, for me, more important than designating Russia as a terrorist state. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Clemente Abrokwaa. You need to unmute yourself. There you go. Q: Thank you. Thank you very much. My name is Clemente Abrokwaa, Penn State University. And the—one question I wanted to ask has already been asked. (Laughs.) But the other question that I have is we’ve been hearing about Putin’s health. Today you read that, you know, he’s very sick. Tomorrow nobody talks about that. And I’m just wondering where the truth lies. And then a second question is, what if—this was at the beginning of your discussion—hoping that the war ends in this year. What if it doesn’t? What will be the scenario, especially for U.S. and NATO? What are they going to—what will they do? And what will be the impact on the rest of the world? FIX: Yeah. I think the health question I can easily answer it with what William Burns, CIA director, said. He’s probably too healthy for the world’s—good for the world’s sake. (Laughs.) So there’s little evidence that suggests anything to—one side or another. Which makes sense, that any health data of the Russian president are kept—are kept secret. What if the war doesn’t end in this year? I think it will be much more challenging to the domestic publics of both the United States and Europe to continue the kind of support for Ukraine that it now gets in that year. And I mean, just because of elections in the United States, which will make the United States very domestically focused. And in Europe, because at some point the costs of this war are also piling up. And so I think Ukraine’s very aware of that. And in the—what we might see if the war continues, if we see even Russian advances heading into next year, is that probably the calls for a negotiated solution, which might be a negotiated solution on Russian terms, will become louder. And that is something that I think Ukraine is very well aware of, and tries to prevent exactly with this kind of support, a new push that it now tries to give to the dynamic on the battlefield. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take a written question from Kazi Sazid at Hunter College. So while most of the conversation is on military aid, et cetera, something that’s of particular interest is rebuilding Ukraine. What issues, both policy and financial, do you see arise in rebuilding Ukrainian infrastructure? And he contrasts this to the Middle East, which that is still laying in tatters after the disastrous interventions there—Western interventions. FIX: Yes. It’s a very fair question. And I think rebuilding Ukraine is an opportunity, one has to say. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it will probably be a higher priority than rebuilding parts of the Middle East, just because it’s closer to Europe. And having a failed state which doesn’t work, which doesn’t have infrastructure, just next to its borders, next to the border of Poland, is just not—is difficult to accept both for economic reasons but also for normative reasons, for an entity like the European Union. So the question of rebuilding really is what kind of framework will guide the reconstruction efforts. So will it be a leadership effort by Europeans, by the United States? Will it be the G7 framework? What institution will take the leadership there? And the other question is who will pay most of the rebuilding costs? And there, we do see that the discussion, also here in Washington, DC, tends towards arguing that rebuilding Ukraine is really a European task, because the U.S. is contributing so much military aid to Ukraine that rebuilding it should be a task for the wealthy Europeans. And to some extent, it also makes sense because rebuilding Ukraine could be fit into the EU accession process for Ukraine, which is ongoing since Ukraine has been accepted as a candidate—as a candidate member for the European Union. So framing it in the context of the EU accession process also helps to add conditionality on certain elements of reconstruction and rebuilding that will help to support the rule of law and that will help to prevent corruption becoming an issue there. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’ll take the next raised hand from Michael Leong. Q: Hi, there. I’m a grad student at the University of Arizona. And I just have a question pertaining to China, because you touched on that earlier. I guess, how—what lengths do you think China will go to keep up this relationship it has with Russia, given Russia’s heavy economic dependency on it? And what would basically Russia turn to, should China decide not to support Russia? And, sorry, the other question I have—these are probably not related, or very distantly—with all the military support that the West has been providing Ukraine, you also mentioned the potential rearmament of Western Europe and NATO. How difficult would that be, given the amount of ordnance being sent to the front line? FIX: Yeah. On China, I think if China turns away from Russia, well, Russia has really little left, little political support, little economic support. So it would be a worst-case scenario. But I do think it’s very unlikely that China will do that because, from a Chinese perspective, having a dependent Russia on its side is just perfect. You know, you have another UN Security Council member, you have Russia with nuclear powers, which are actually matching those of the United States. So in sort of the greater picture of anti-Westernism that both Russia and China share, it absolutely makes sense, from a Chinese perspective, to have Russia close at its side, and to have Russia as a disruptive power in—sort of acting, ideally, in lockstep with China. And we’ve seen that before the outbreak of the war we had this meeting between Putin and Xi Jinping, where for the first time China adopted NATO talking points that Russia had in the past, and was criticizing NATO for its role in Europe, which was not happening before. And the trade of that for China is obviously Russia’s position on the Taiwan question, and in case of an escalation over Taiwan. On the question of rearmament and how is that possible, well, it’s a good question, especially as I’m looking at Germany, my home country. Because Germany right now realizes how difficult it is, actually, to spend the money. So it’s not only finding the money. I mean, there’s a real military threat perception right now in Europe, so not many citizens complain if defense spending goes up. But how do you quickly enough spend the money? So Germany, for instance, was promising that from this year on it would spend every year more than 2 percent on defense. It turns out, it has provided the money but the whole structures and processes to order new military equipment and to get it just takes so long that it will only spend 2025, probably, 2 percent on defense. So it’s not only the question of money, but it’s also the question of how do the industrial defense structures and the bureaucratic structures in NATO countries that were focused on peacetimes for so long work? And how can they be sped up to become perhaps not a war economy but at least more generic and flexible to react to the situation. For instance, the discussion about NATO battle tanks for Ukraine right now. The Germany industry said that they will need a year to get those battle tanks that they have right now in shape, and to send them to Ukraine. I mean, that’s way too long. And it’s a question that also the United States sees, with how to replenish its stockpiles with a production rate that is a peacetime production rate. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Tomas Castillo Bukakis. Oh, I think he might have lowered his hand. OK, so never mind. We’ve got so many questions. I’m going to go to Wim Weiwel of Lewis & Clark College: Is it realistic to think Ukraine can drive Russia out of eastern Ukraine? If not, under what conditions will Ukraine agree to negotiate and what would a resolution look like? FIX: Mmm hmm. If it’s realistic to drive Russia out of Ukraine? I mean, I think it very much depends on the—on the means that Ukraine is provided with. I mean, if Ukraine gets the means and the equipment that it needs, it’s definitely possible. There’s nothing that suggest it’s impossible, or that Russian troops are so good or so dominant that they cannot be driven out. I think the question of Crimea is a different question. Ukraine will certainly put pressure on Crimea, but Crimea has a different standing in Russia than the eastern parts of Ukraine that Russia tried to annex. Under which conditions—so, President Zelensky has laid out his conditions. And the main condition is that Russia has to withdraw from Ukrainian territory. Those conditions have changed throughout the war because there was a realization that this war is far from the Russian side not as a war with a negotiated outcome, but as a war of occupation and subjugation. I think we will come to the point where we can talk about conditions and negotiations once Ukraine has further advanced closer to the February lines, to the war—when the war started. And then, I think it really is a question of—the most difficult question will be the question of what kind of solution can be found for Crimea. Will Ukraine has to retake Crimea militarily? What kind of escalation concerns are coming with that? Or is there any kind of negotiated solution to be found over Crimea? I think this will be the main—can be the main stumbling block. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next—oops, sorry—to Karen Sokol. Q: Hi. Thanks so much. Karen Sokol. I’m a visiting fellow at Princeton this year. And thanks so much. I’m really learning a lot from this, and appreciate your insights. A lot of particularly international legal scholars are calling for the establishment of a court to try Putin, other Russian officials, for the crime of aggression, because of the loopholes that exist in the current Rome Statute. And this call is backed by the argument that this is basically essential—a necessary, but perhaps not sufficient, condition for restoring the global legal order. And I just wondered if you had thoughts about that position. FIX: I think it may—sort of the idea to call for a separate court instead of the International Criminal Court, I mean, is understandable because exactly of the limitations that Russian’s leader options there gives the International Criminal Court, and because of the—yeah, of just the—how blatantly and war of aggression this war has been. I think it’s a good question what the court at the end sort of—what is the main goal that it should have? Is it to strengthen the international legal order? Yes, this makes sense as an argument. From a Ukrainian perspective, it is certainly also to talk about reparations. I mean, this war and the destruction have just been immensely, immensely costly. And then the other question is it is also—and many people have this concern, comparison in mind—something that would sort of help to move on after this war, to have sort of the legal closing chapter to that. Many think of Milosevic and how he has been tried back then. I think it’s—from my perspective, I do think it’s an important pathway to go down and not to, as has been the case in Syria with so many activists, have gathered evidence, and where it has become so difficult to put this on trial, sometimes with courts in, for instance, Germany doing these prosecutions. I think it’s useful to have a central—a central mission and a place for that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next, try again with Tomas Castillo Bukakis. Q: Hello. Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: Yes. Thank you. Q: Hi. Sorry. I had technical difficulties. Hi. I’m from USC. As more weaponry is being delivered to Ukraine, alongside with economic aid, and given the history of the U.S. and these European powers of being responsible when they’re engaging in proxy wars or supporting wars, what processes or regulations are being set in place so the weaponry don’t fall in the wrong hands currently or after the war ends, and to make sure the aid is delivered to the sectors that are required. FIX: I would perhaps not necessarily classify this war as a proxy war, because there was no interest whatsoever from the Western side to conduct this war at the beginning, to have Ukraine—a war in Ukraine as some kind of weakening of Russia. So I think it’s fair and it reflects Ukraine’s agency in this war to say that it’s not only about, you know, United States and Russia global supremacy, but this is really a war about Ukraine itself as a nation. And I think the question that you raised about what happens to the weaponry is very important. So due to the huge amount of weaponry that is sent, it’s obviously difficult to track everything. Ukrainians are quite aware of that, and they’re doing many efforts to give back to both the U.S. side and the European side as many information as possible about where the weapons are and where they continue to be sent. So there is a system in place from the Ukrainian side to track these weapons. And when it comes to the aid—sort of the financial aid that’s given to Ukraine, the concern there of corruption is something which has been—has been there. But what Ukraine has is a very active civil society, which also in the past has been very active on battling corruption. So that is one mechanism which helps. And so far we have not had any major cases of where we would have heard from Ukrainian civil society of embezzlement of corruption of funds. The other question really is what happens to these weapons after the war ends at some point. And Ukraine will continue to need weapons. So if this war ends, this will not be the end of Russia’s threat to Ukraine. So I do think these weapons will have to stay in Ukraine. And probably what is needed is an even closer system of tracking and following up on the weapons that we have now, once the immediate fighting has receded. FASKIANOS: I think—we have so many questions, I’m sorry that we can’t get to them all. But I want to end with a question—written question from William Harbert of the University of Pittsburgh. History doesn’t repeat but sometimes it echoes. What do you feel is the closest historical analogy to this war and its possible outcome? I appreciate none may exist, but I’m curious of your response. FIX: Yes, it’s always a difficulty with historical comparisons. I’m a historian myself, but I think so. (Laughs.) As I said before, I think the 1939 comparison to some extent holds true, in terms of, you know, how sudden it was of an attack and of an invasion. But then it becomes very difficult to continue this analogy for the ending of this war. What I think is another useful historical comparison is the Finnish-Soviet Winter War. So the war when Finland was attacked by the Soviet Union and bravely fought back this attack. It has a similar dynamic of this kind of David against Goliath that we’re seeing right now in Ukraine. No one expected Finland at the time to be successful. They were, because they were using such innovative methods. I mean, there are great pictures of the Winter War where you see Finns on skis and then white clothes sort of hiding in the woods among the snow to attack Soviet tanks back then. What happened in the first Winter War was that Finnish forces were able to push Soviet forces back, but then had to agree to a negotiated outcome where they lost 11 percent of their territory, because there was not enough international support coming out for Finland at that point. And that would obviously be a sad comparison to Ukraine, which I hope will not take place. But it’s certainly a possible comparison. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much, Liana Fix. FIX: Thank you! FASKIANOS: I hope—this has really been great. And just as a reminder, we did send out in advance of this discussion Dr. Fix’s Foreign Affairs article. It was in the January/February 2023 issue that she co-authored with Michael Kimmage. So if you haven’t had a chance to read it, I commend it to you all. So thank you, again, for being with us. And the next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, February 1, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And the conversation will be on energy, environment, and water. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out CFR fellowships for educators at This is, of course, for your professors. Follow at @CFR_Academic on Twitter. And visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Thank you again to all of you for being with us and to Dr. Fix for her time today. We appreciate it. FIX: Thank you so much. Thank you, everyone. FASKIANOS: Take care. (END)
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