Meet our Next Speaker

Ambassador Jake Walles

March 11, 2024

Topic: Conflict in the Middle East: Implications for U.S. interests

Jake Walles is a nonresident senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on Israeli-Palestinian issues, Tunisia, and counterterrorism. He was a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State for more than 35 years, serving as the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia from 2012 to 2015 and as consul general and chief of mission in Jerusalem from 2005 to 2009.  Walles also served as the Director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1998 to 2001 and as Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem from 1996-1998.

Other assignments included: Deputy Chief of Mission in Athens, First Secretary for Economic Affairs in Tel Aviv, Vice Consul in Amsterdam, and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs in Washington. Walles also served as senior adviser in the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism from 2015 until his retirement in 2017.

During his long career at the State Department, Walles was actively involved in Middle East peace negotiations beginning with the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference in 1991 and continuing through the Obama administration. He was the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award in 2016 for his contributions to U.S. national security policy. He also was the recipient of Presidential Meritorious Rank Awards in 2007 and 2012, and the Department’s Superior Honor Award in 2001 and 1994 for his work in promoting peace in the Middle East.

Meetings open to members and members’ guests only.  Unless otherwise noted, all meetings take place at Elk Hall, 210 Rankin Street in Rockland.  Please plan on arriving by 11:30 AM for noon meetings.  The speaker begins promptly at noon and lunch is served from 1 PM.

Audios of Past Presentations

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The Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations
PO Box 41
Rockport, ME 04856
207-332-6567

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Upcoming Speakers

  • March 11, 2024
    Ambassador Jake Walles
    Topic: Conflict in the Middle East: Implications for U.S. interests
  • April 8, 2024
    Ambassador Anne Hall
    Topic: The Baltics: Lessons in Courage
  • May 6, 2024
    Matt Goodwin
    Topic: Brexit, Trump, Le Pen and the Rise of National Populism
  • May 20, 2024
    Robert Einhorn
    Topic: Are We Heading Toward a World with Many Nuclear-armed States?
  • June 10, 2024
    Jack Goldsmith
    Topic: The Pros and Cons of Proposed Changes to the Israeli Court System

View all speakers past and present »

Articles

Two Essays by Ron Lehman

Posted on Saturday December 30

Lehman, Ron. “Sputnik-like Events: Responding to Technological Surprise.” In Strategic Latency: Red, White, and Blue — Managing the National and International Security Consequences of Disruptive Technologies edited by Zachary S. Davis and Michael Nacht, pp 33-51. Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2016. National security costs imposed by technological surprise can be […]

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Symposium: Advancing Cyber Diplomacy

Posted on Wednesday December 6

Council on Foreign Relations, March 2023. This symposium convenes senior government officials and experts from academia and the private sector to address the U.S. Department of State’s newly created Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, the goals of American cyber diplomacy, and how major public and private international stakeholders can advance global cyber cooperation amidst […]

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Is Net-Zero a Possible Solution to the Climate Problem?

Posted on Monday October 30

By John M. Deutch, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, October, 2023. Historically, the objective of climate policy has been to maintain the global average temperature increase under a specified level. Increasingly, countries and organizations today express the objective as a specific target date for reaching Net-zero emissions. Over ninety countries, including China […]

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Yes, the government keeps way too many secrets

Posted on Thursday September 28

By Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, September 3, 2022. We don’t yet know what classified documents and information former President Donald Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago. But all of this talk about the secrets the government keeps from its citizens gets to a gripe of mine as a journalist: The US government often misapplies classification […]

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The Evolution of Authoritarian Digital Influence: Grappling with the New Normal

Posted on Tuesday August 29

By Shanthi Kalathil, PRISM, October 21, 2020 As the world contends with the wide-ranging ramifications of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has been simultaneously beset by the global information crisis, which mimics the shape of the pandemic itself in its viral effects across huge segments of the global population. Misinformation—unwittingly spread false information—is rampant. Overarching […]

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Ambassador Charles Ray: Three articles on Why Africa Matters

Posted on Monday July 10

Our August 2023 speaker, Ambassador Charles Ray, thought the following articles would provide a helpful background for his presentation on Why Africa Matters. “Does Africa Matter to the United States?” by Charles A. Ray, Foreign Policy Research Institute, January 11, 2021. Most Americans generally have one of two images of Africa: a primitive home of famine, […]

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‘It’s good to think strategically’: Thomas E Ricks on civil rights and January 6

Posted on Saturday July 1

 By Martin Pengelly, The Guardian, October 8, 2022. “There is a direct connection from Freedom Summer to the January 6 committee,” says Thomas E Ricks as he discusses his new book, Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968. Freedom Summer was a 1964 campaign to draw attention to violence […]

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Amna Nawaz Interviews & Reports

Posted on Thursday June 1

Our June 2023 speaker, Amna Nawaz, thought the following videos would provide a helpful background for her presentation On the Frontlines: Reporting Overseas and Here at Home. “Secretary of State Blinken discusses U.S. immigration policy as Title 42 ends,” PBS NewsHour, May 11, 2023 With COVID restrictions at the border expiring, the U.S. is preparing […]

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Christopher Costa: Two articles on future terrorism threats

Posted on Tuesday April 25

Our May 2023 speaker, Christopher Costa, thought the following articles would provide a helpful background for his presentation on Counterterrorism and the Future Terrorism Threat. The world has entered the fifth wave of anti-government terrorism,” by Christopher Costa, The Hill, January 12, 2023. In light of a failed far-right coup in December in Germany, fueled by ideologically and historically incoherent […]

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Cyberwar in Ukraine: What You See Is Not What’s Really There

Posted on Sunday April 2

By Susan Landau Friday, September 30, 2022, 8:01 AM It has been seven months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Despite much speculation, many aspects of the war have ultimately not turned out as expected. The war wasn’t, as Russia had anticipated, a six-day rout—or even a six-month one. And notably, cyber didn’t, as some had predicted, […]

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Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons at our behest. Here’s what we owe them.

Posted on Saturday March 4

By Jon B. Wolfsthal, The Washington Post, February 10, 2023 The world is on the cusp of a dangerous new nuclear era, and the war in Ukraine might be a glimpse of what is to come. Reflecting this, the hands of the iconic Doomsday Clock, an indicator reflecting the opinion of the Bulletin of the Atomic […]

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Derek Mitchell: Three articles on democracy and international security

Posted on Friday February 3

Ambassador Derek Mitchell thought the following three articles would provide a helpful background for his February 2023 presentation on Democracy and International Security. “The Ground Game: Supporting Democracy Must Be Part of America’s Global Strategy,” by Derek Mitchell, The Hill, September 15, 2022 Today’s International Day of Democracy offers an opportunity to review the state of global […]

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The revenge of history in Ukraine: year of war has shaken up world order

Posted on Friday December 30

By Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, December 26, 2022 The Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko recalls a quote attributed to Otto von Bismarck: “Wars are not won by generals, but by schoolteachers and parish priests.” It’s a country’s taught collective memory, its shared sense of its own history, that are the decisive instruments for mobilisation, and are […]

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Made with Bravery: the Story of Ukrainian Startup Resilience

Posted on Friday December 30

Produced and Directed by Dan Herman, Go To Jupiter Productions Inc., November 2, 2022 From coffee shops to bomb shelters, work-life balance to work-war balance, “Made with Bravery: the Story of Ukrainian Startup Resilience” profiles how Ukraine’s startup ecosystem has reacted and adapted to life amidst over 200 days of full-scale Russian invasion, and how […]

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Dan Golden: Op-ed, NYT book review, and book excerpt

Posted on Monday December 5

Below you will find an op-ed written by Dan Golden as well as a New York Times book review of and except from his recent book on cybercrime. Dan thought these readings would provide a helpful background for his December 2022 presentation. “Why the F.B.I. Is So Far Behind on Cybercrime,” by Dan Golden, The New […]

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