“What in the World?” Quiz – Week of Jan 7-13, 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.

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Mike Bush, Nashville, TN

Will Kessler, Huntsville, AL

Philip Lovell, Nashville, TN

Keith Simmons, Nashville, TN

Alyza Surani, Lawrenceville, GA

Pratik Yedla, Huntsville, AL

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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 Dec 31, 2017- Jan 6, 2018

1. The year 2017 began with news that U.S. President Barack Obama announced new sanctions on Russia, along with the expulsion of 35 of its diplomats from the U.S., in retaliation for which Russian action?

A. Annexation of Crimea
B. Hacking of the U.S. 2016 presidential election
C. Air support for the storming of Aleppo
D. The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

Correct Answer: B. Hacking of the U.S. 2016 presidential election

2. Concerns over climate change and the threat of nuclear weapons led the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to reset its “Doomsday Clock” to two and a half minutes to midnight in January 2017. When was the last time the clock was set this close to midnight?

A. 1945
B. 1953
C. 1961
D. 2001

Correction Answer: B. 1953

3. President Trump announced a ten percent boost in military spending for his proposed budget and “fairly dramatic reductions” in the international affairs budget. WHICH Trump cabinet official famously said, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately,” referring to the consequences of diminished American “soft power” resources.
A. General H.R. McMasters
B. General James Mattis
C. General Mike Pompeo
D. General John F. Kelley
Correct Answer: B. General James Mattis

4. On March 20, 2017 FBI Director James Comey publicly confirmed an ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election campaigns. The Russian Government’s cyber activities targeting the campaign were first released in October 2016 by THESE officials:
A. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and FBI Director James Comey
B. FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers
C. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and ODNI Director James Clapper
D. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and CIA Director John Brennan
Correct Answer: C. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and ODNI Director James Clapper

5. In a joint press conference in April President Trump told Prime Minister Netanyahu “I’d like to see you hold back on settlements a little bit,” viewing them as an impediment to a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last Friday Israel’s Housing Ministry said it was planning to build 15,000 new settlement homes in THIS area.

A. Bethlehem
B. Hebron
C. East Jerusalem
D. Elon Moreh

Correct Answer: C. East Jerusalem

6. April 6 marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the United States’ involvement in THIS armed conflict:
A. Spanish Civil War
B. World War I
C. Korean War
D. Russian Civil War

Correct answer: B. World War I

7. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told State Department employees in May that, in the interest of advancing the United States’ economic and national security concerns, the nation needs to lessen its emphasis on THIS issue in its global dealings:

A.Climate change
B.Gender equality
D.Human rights

Correct answer: D. Human rights

8. The leaders of Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Canada, and Italy urged United States president Donald Trump to honor THIS international agreement at the G7’s annual summit in May.

A. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
B. Global Plan of Action to Prevent Trafficking in Persons
C. Paris Agreement
D. Kyoto Protocol

Correct answer: C. Paris Agreement

9. In July North Korea marked a military milestone and changed its dynamic with the rest of the world by successfully launching what?
A. A communications satellite
B. An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)
C. A nuclear-powered submarine
D. A new operating platform for smart phones
Correct answer: B. An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)

10. THIS long-standing autocratic fixture in Zimbabwe was in the midst of being toppled by the country’s army in November.
A. Emmerson Mnangagwa
B. Robert Mugabe
C. Charles Taylor
D. Ian Khama
Correct response: B. Robert Mugabe









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