Event Date: March 16, 2016 at 7pm
More than 300 people turned out for The Jewish Policy Center Forum in Highland Park, IL on March 16th. Author and radio talk show host Michael Medved was the moderator. Panelists Shoshana Bryen, Senior Director of the JPC, Clifford May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute delved into Russian policy in Syria, Iranian nuclear capability and the American response.
In light of the announcement of Russia’s partial withdrawal from Syria, Doran described Russian goals there as a) securing their bases at Tartus and Latakia, and b) ensuring the survival of a pro-Russian regime in Moscow. Bryen added that there were secondary goals met as well, including the testing and demonstration of new Russian weapons and tactics, as well as the opening of diplomatic conversations with a variety of American clients/allies, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt. Israel’s coordination with Russia, she added, had been strengthened as well. The panel agreed that the war would likely continue, but with far less – if any – Russian military participation. This, they said, would have an impact on the political process being organized in Europe.
The absence of American leadership in the region and elsewhere was also a prime topic of conversation. May described Iranian penetration in South America (where Peruvian Indians have been converting to Shiite Islam) as well as North Africa, and Bryen pointed to the concerns of American allies in Asia over Chinese military advances there.
In keeping with the JPC’s non-political mandate and 501(c)3 status, the evening provided a respite from political commentary and focused on military and national security policy, without reference to campaigns or candidates.