Paul Holman will present “Gridlock and Stalemate: U.S. Foreign Policy for the Next Decade” at the Camden Public Library on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Holman will first explore an aspect of global climate change that has received too little attention from the media: the melting of the Arctic ice cap. It poses both threats and opportunities for America that are quite remarkable. The polar bears and other life forms may be endangered, yet new sources of energy and raw materials could benefit the growing population of the world. Indeed, the fabled Northwest Passage — which brought some of the first European explorers to the shores — is rapidly becoming a reality thanks to the melting of the pack ice. The United States, Canada, and Russia disagree sharply about who has the right to do what in the changing Arctic waters, and some experts predict a new arms race to dominate the region.

At the other climate and geographical extreme, the so-called “Arab Spring” has involved some remarkable attempts to overthrow both pro-American and anti-American dictators. A few were mostly non-violent, but others have degenerated into civil wars. No one foresaw this upheaval, and no one can be sure how it will end. What is the likely impact on America’s friends and allies, such as Israel, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia? What are the implications for Al Qaeda and the Islamists? How will it affect the price of oil?

These issues involve complex challenges for U.S. foreign policy, at a time when the economy is stagnant, deficits are troublesome, and the political system seems dysfunctional. Gridlock and stalemate are possible but far from inevitable.

This presentation is offered as a free community event in anticipation of the 25th Annual Camden Conference: “The U.S. in a 21st Century World: Do We Have What It Takes?”, February 17-19, 2012.

Holman is a visiting professor of International Relations for the University of Maine at Orono, serving concurrently as an adjunct professor at the Naval War College. He co-edited a number of books including the multi-volume series Fundamentals of Force Planning, and Ethnic Nationalism and Regional Conflict. His many articles on national security have appeared in Naval War College Review, Strategic Review, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Brown Journal of World Affairs, Argentinian Naval War College Review, Air Force Magazine, and U.S. Marine Corps Gazette. From 1996 to 2003, Dr. Holman served as Professor, Department of Security Studies, George. C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. There, he directed the 15-week Executive Course, teaching mid-career military officers, diplomats, and parliamentarians from all of the formerly communist countries of Europe and Asia. He now resides in Camden and serves on the Camden Conference Board of Directors.