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Explore the roundtable topics from NAFAC 2019

What are Roundtables?
The NAFAC Roundtables are the foundation of our conference. They provide a forum for students from all over the world to share ideas and discuss specific aspects of the general conference theme. Our roundtable topics vary from the regionally specific to the thematic. Delegates will spend the majority of the business day with their roundtables discussing their topics. Each roundtable will be led by a Midshipman moderator, who is there to formulate ideas and guide discussion. The delegates, two from the Naval Academy and the rest from other schools, will then debate and argue the merits of their ideas and topic papers. There will be two senior advisers, who are academics or professionals in a field related to the topic, on hand to provide insight and contribute their knowledge and experience to the discussion. One Midshipman reporter will also be present to take notes and provide a daily recap of discussion.
China: Revising the World Order

Moderated by: 2/C Yuwi Yamashita


The Middle Kingdom is not merely changing global power dynamics in this era of great power competition. China also claims to be offering the world a new and attractive method of governance, breaking fundamental principles of the rules-based world order. While it explores digital authoritarianism it also militarizes the South China Sea and launches the Belt and Road Initiative. Will these measures yield an alternate order for the world’s future?

Reform in the Middle East: Stability in Today's World Order

Moderated by: 2/C Gracie Hough


Order in the Middle East has been punctuated by wars, coups and arms races, and the US has been a factor in most of them. Overthrowing Mosadegh, arming both Israel and its enemies, invading Iraq and Afghanistan and now departing from both countries, and from Syria, the US has not produced an order that was rules-based or liberal. Will the next decade be better?

Europe: The Unraveling of the West

Moderated by: 1/C Yash Khatavkar


The European Union, a descendant of the Westphalian doctrine which generated the original "world order," now faces the greatest existential crisis it has seen. The union is buffeted profoundly by uncertainties inspired by British withdrawal, populism, nationalism, authoritarian alternatives, vast migration, and Russian pressures. What is the fate of the long-standing European order?

Disruption Revisited: Examining Russian Resurgence in a Changing World Order

Moderated by: 2/C Taylor Sparks


The world order is built upon a set of agreed-upon rules, rules which Moscow relentlessly undermines. Russia seizes neighboring territories, wages hybrid wars, carries out assassinations at home and abroad, and interferes masterfully in the sovereign affairs of other nations. What is Russia's role in the degradation and preservation of today's global order?

The Digital Era: Implications for Global Order

Moderated by: 2/C Matthew Critchley


From quantum computing to artificial intelligence, 5G telecommunications to social network data structures, technological developments are challenging our understanding of order. States with small militaries suddenly wield new cyber powers. Authoritarians find they can track and control their people in new ways. Can we anticipate the forces emerging technological capabilities will bring to bear on the global order?

The Global Obligation: Climate Action and the Collective Good

Moderated by: 3/C Mason Wells


Climate change is the greatest test of the countries and institutions that make up the liberal order. Multilateral efforts to date have proven unequal to the challenges raised by droughts, floods, storms and sea level changes. Mass migrations, famines, water wars and political upheavals require coordinated responses. Can the liberal world order overcome the ultimate collective action problem?

Disruption of Free Trade: the Agenda behind Weaponized Economics

Moderated by: 1/C Megan Hanson


The golden age of globalism is over. It seems trade has regressed--with the United States at the helm--to zero-sum calculations reminiscent of mercantilism. Increasingly, economic policy is an aggressive instrument of national power, and economic nationalism calls for use of tariffs as penalties and withdrawal from optimistic free trade initiatives like the Trans Pacific Partnership. Is weaponized economics a sustainable alternative, or does it spell disadvantage for all parties involved?

The Mass Movement: Migration and Refugee Resettlement in the 21st Century

Moderated by: 3/C Natalie Schieruer


Refugees from Libya, Syria, French West Africa, South Sudan, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Burma have found little protection or comfort from the denizens of richer, more secure places. Where once the American-led global order provided for refugees, now few states offer resettlement and the institutions and organizations that provide aid struggle to bear the burden. Are refugees responsible for populism, polarization and a rise in authoritarianism? Will the global order address these issues?

Manipulating Perception: Disinformation and the Attacks on Fact-Based Journalism

Moderated by: 2/C Andew Halus


Who can you trust? The news, we are told, is fake. Social media sites create echo-chambers that polarize people, and anyway, they are riddled with disinformation posted by Russians, Chinese and North Koreans. Deep Fake technologies enable deep deceptions. Whatever became of factuality? Can a democracy survive when people don’t know what they can believe? Can a liberal world order?

The Age of Ideologues: Examining the Beliefs Driving Dissonance

Moderated by: 2/C Anirudh Murali


Ideas drive change and shape global orders. Seven decades ago democratic liberalism gave rise to a world order. Now nativism and blood and soil nationalism bring people into the streets and out to the polls. Fear of foreigners is overwhelming internationalism. Digital authoritarianism is quenching global optimism. What other ideas will batter the old world order and shape the new one?

Geopolitical Calculus: Geography, International Relations, and a Return to Global Power Competition

Moderated by: 3/C Charles Schmidt 


The US-sponsored institutions which provided a skeleton to international relations – NATO, the UN, GATT, arms control treaties, the dollar – are yielding to a return of great power competition. How must states act in a multipolar world, or a world with no polarity?

Designing Grand Strategies: Defending the Liberal World Order in an Era of Reemerging Superpower Competition

Moderated by: 3/C Joshua Greear


For seven decades most countries shaped their grand strategies around the facts of American presence, pressure, security assistance, arms sales and conventional and nuclear security guarantees. As America pulls out of treaties and retrenches, how will other powers adapt their grand strategies in the new order?

Survival of the Fittest: The Future of International Institutions

Moderated by: 1/C Dan Jackson


Alliances and treaties characterize the international liberal order, which, for the past seven decades, has guided the ways states operate. NATO, the EU, NAFTA, the World Bank, and the IMF have shown varying levels of resilience to the "era of coming apart." Concurrently, new initiatives, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Belt and Road Initiative have bloomed. What explains the rise and fall of organizations in today's context?

Mobilization, Modernization and Conflict in a Disintegrating World Order

Moderated by: 3/C Samuel Paparo


As the US-led rules-based world order comes apart, the prospects for conflict rise. Hybrid warfare and cyber warfare have made low-grade war more or less continuous, but what about a kind of war that the global system has not seen since World War II: outright war between major powers?

21st Century Tribalism: Can Democracies Combat Resurgent Illiberal Governance?

Moderated by: 1/C Mary Catherine Bolton 


Schisms in identity of all forms, including gender, ethnicity and religion, create social and political tribes across the world. In an era where liberal ideals are in question, the stark values represented by tribes grow salient. From the Uighurs to the Kurds to the Rohingya, ethnic tension must be addressed. Nativism is growing in Europe. The Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements have altered American domestic order. Can a new global order take shape from tribal values?

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