Speaker: Katz, M. (George Mason University)
Date: 6 March 2019
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Mark Katz (George Mason University) as a part of its Future of Great Power Competition & Conflict Speaker Series. Dr. Katz focused his presentation on the topics presented in two of his recent papers, entitled “America’s Dilemma: Dealing with Multiple Adversaries Simultaneously” and “Fluid Dynamics: Global Great Powers in the 21st Century.” He began by stating that the security environment today is much different than it was during the Cold War. During the Cold War, the US and its allies contended with one principal adversary— the Soviet Union. Today, however, the US and its allies are contending with five— Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Sunni jihadist groups, such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. He explained that it is nearly impossible for the US and its allies to equally and simultaneously address all of these threats. The situation, he argued, is also complicated by the fact that some US allies prioritize the threats they face differently than do the US or its other allies. Furthermore, Dr. Katz stated that the US’s allies have a fixed and clear view of other countries, whereas the US’s view of other countries is more amorphous, which makes the security environment more difficult to navigate. He further argued that the US’s efforts are often undercut when its allies prioritize the US’s adversaries differently than does the US, and as the US focuses on one adversary, opportunities are presented for others to exploit the US’s weaknesses. He proceeded to explain that although there is a common belief/fear that the US is falling and other powers are rising, US leaders must acknowledge the fact that nations such as Russia and China have weaknesses and factors working against them as well. To conclude, Dr. Katz spoke about the various possibilities and configurations of how a multi-polar, balanced world would look.