“What in the World?” Quiz – Week of Jan 21-27, 2018

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Don’t forget to sign up as a World Affairs Council member (TNWAC.org/join) to be eligible to win the monthly quiz prize.

Check your global affairs awareness with these ten questions taken from the week’s news reports provided via @TNWAC #TNWACquiz.

The only rule is to use the ‘honor system.’  No answer Googling!

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Keith Simmons, Nashville, TN

David Hillinck, Huntsville, AL

Isabela Piedrahita, Leawood, KS

Charles Bowers Nashville, TN

Well Done!

(If you’re a weekly winner you’ll be entered for the monthly prize drawing but you must be a TNWAC member to win.  TNWAC.org/join )


Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States since FDR (Geopolitics in the 21st Century)

by Bruce Riedel

Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States since FDR

An insider’s account of the often-fraught U.S.-Saudi relationship

Saudi Arabia and the United States have been partners since 1943, when President Franklin Roosevelt met with two Saudi princes―future monarchs representing their father, King Ibn Saud―at the White House. Subsequent U.S. presidents have had direct relationships with those kings and their successors, setting the tone for a special partnership between an absolute monarchy with a unique Islamic identity and the world’s most powerful democracy.

Although based in large part on economic interests, the U.S.-Saudi relationship has rarely been smooth. Differences over Israel have caused friction since the early days, and ambiguities about Saudi involvement―or lack of it―in the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States continue to haunt the relationship. Now, both countries have new, still-to-be-tested leaders
in President Trump and King Salman.

Bruce Riedel has followed these kings and presidents during his decades-long career at the CIA, the White House, and the Brookings Institution. Kings and Presidents offers an insider’s account of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Using declassified documents, memoirs by both Saudis and Americans, and eyewitness accounts, Riedel’s book takes the reader inside the royal palaces, the holy cities, and the White House to gain an understanding of this complex partnership.


Political histories are often a snooze, but Riedel is a lively, opinionated writer whose sympathy with his subjects’ viewpoints will enlighten most readers.―Kirkus Reviews

Bruce Riedel has written a thorough, insightful and provocative account of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as seen through the eyes of Kings and Presidents. He proves that understanding history is essential to guiding this very important relationship forward during a time of growing regional uncertainty. ―George Tenet, former Director Central Intelligence Agency

This riveting book is essential reading for anyone interested in U.S. policy in the Middle East or Saudi Arabia. Riedel offers a thorough, thoughtful and candid account of the diplomatic highs and lows between two strange bedfellows. A great contribution to the literature by someone who witnessed it play out from inside the policy establishment and who has known the key players.―Robin Wright, author of Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World

Few if any Americans have the depth of experience of Bruce Riedel in dealing with the volatile neighborhood inhabited by Saudi Arabia. In this excellent new book, Riedel tells the history of US-Saudi ties through the interactions of Saudi kings and American presidents. He leavens the narrative with charming anecdotes, from the movie Ibn Saud saw en route to his meeting with Franklin Roosevelt, to the ‘Dr. No’-style aquarium in the palace of King Abdullah. A must-read for both scholars and the general public, the book raises all the necessary questions about the future of the Kingdom and its complicated alliance with the United States.―Barbara Slavin , Director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council and author, Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation

About Bruce Riedel

Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, part of the Brookings Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. In addition, Riedel serves as a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy. He retired in 2006 after 30 years of service at the Central Intelligence Agency, including postings overseas. He was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents of the United States in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House. He was also deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Near East and South Asia at the Pentagon and a senior advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels.

Riedel was a member of President Bill Clinton’s peace process team and negotiated at Camp David and other Arab-Israeli summits and he organized Clinton’s trip to India in 2000. In January 2009, President Barack Obama asked him to chair a review of American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, the results of which the president announced in a speech on March 27, 2009.

In 2011, Riedel served as an expert advisor to the prosecution of al Qaeda terrorist Omar Farooq Abdulmutallab in Detroit. In December 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron asked him to brief the United Kingdom’s National Security Council in London on Pakistan.

Riedel is the author of “The Search for al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future” (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), “Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad” (Brookings Institution Press, 2011; translated into Persian) and “Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back” (Brookings Institution Press, 2013). He is a contributor to “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (Brookings Institution Press, 2009), “The Arab Awakening: America and the Transformation of the Middle East” (Brookings Institution Press, 2011) and “Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988” (Brookings Institution Press, 2012). His book “What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-1989” (Brookings Institution Press, 2014) won the gold medal for best new book on war and military affairs at the INDIEFAB awards. His new book is “JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sino-Indian War” (Brookings Institution Press, 2015).

Riedel is a graduate of Brown (B.A.), Harvard (M.A.), and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London. He has taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies, and he has been a guest lecturer at Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown, and other universities. Riedel is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Intelligence Career Medal.

Source: Brookings

More book information and ordering

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We’ll post the answers and the names of the winner(s) in next week’s quiz.

Here’s last week’s questions and answers:


Week of Jan 14-20, 2018

1. The report that President Trump made a vulgar, insulting comment about immigration from Haiti and African countries has led to condemnation from international capitals and organizations including THIS pan-African regional organization which works for cooperation among countries on the continent. The organization labeled the remarks as “very racist.”

A. African National Congress (ANC)
B. Kinshasa Cooperation Union (KCU)
C. Emerging Africa Group (EAG)
D. African Union (AU)

Correct Response: African Union (AU)

2. Which international news organization’s journalists have recently been charged with stealing state secrets in Myanmar after they were covering the plight of Rohingya Muslims at the hands of government troops and local militia groups?

A. Reuters
B. The Guardian
C. The New York Times
D. Al Jazeera

Correct Answer: A. Reuters

3. An uprising that began in Tunisia, spread across the Middle East and eventually led to massive demonstrations in Egypt seven years ago this month, that toppled the entrenched rule of Hosni Mubarak became known as THIS:

A. Green Revolution
B. Arab Spring
C. Mahgreb Spring
D. Cairo Spring

Correct Response: B. Arab Spring

4. The Russian military increased its military footprint on THIS region of Ukraine that it annexed by force in 2014 by deploying a new division of S-400 surface to air missile batteries near Sevastopol in response to U.S. commitment for defensive arms to Kiev.

A. Moldova
B. Chechnya
C. Crimea
D. Yalta

Correct Response: C. Crimea

5. President Trump acted at the deadline to approve his “last” waiver of sanctions connected with the Iran nuclear deal but put in place another ticking clock – 120 days – for THIS action:

A. Iranian withdrawal of Republic Guard troops from Syria.
B. European allies called upon to “fix” the deal.
C. Tehran’s pledge to end financial support of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
D. A resumption of stalled inspections of Iranian nuclear sites by IAEA inspectors.

Correct Response: B. European allies called upon to “fix” the deal.

6. The United States, United Kingdom and Norway joined to strongly condemn violation of the December 2017 Cessation of Hostilities agreement in South Sudan by all parties. These three countries are working together under THIS rubric to bring peace to the conflict torn state.

A. Group of Three
B. The Juba Group
D. The Troika

Correct Response: D. The Troika

7. Which country recently banned teaching English in primary schools in order to block a “cultural invasion”?

A. Turkey
B. Russia
C. Iran
D. Iraq

Correct Response: C. Iran

8. The United States would block millions of dollars of aid to Palestinians if President Trump follows through with cutting funds for THIS organization, established in 1949 with the sole objective of humanitarian assistance following the 1948 Arab-Israel war. The threat has sparked alarm in Israel among leaders who worry about the consequences of aid cuts.


Correct Response: B. UNRWA

9. The Trump Administration may develop new nuclear weapons capabilities and a policy that would consider nuclear retaliation in response to major non-nuclear attacks, according to a leaked draft document from THIS process.

A. Defense Planning Guidance
B. Nuclear Status of Forces
C. Strategic Defense Planning Board
D. Nuclear Posture Review

Correct Response: D. Nuclear Posture Review

10. A Texas-based company has begun to search for a commercial plane that infamously went missing in 2014 in the Indian Ocean. Which airline owned the plane?

A. Air India
B. Qatar Airways
C. Air France
D. Malaysia Airlines

Correct Response: D. Malaysia Airlines

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