President Trump claimed that as Obama was exiting office, he was told that Obama was near starting a war with North Korea, a claim that’s been disproved by the CIA Director during the Obama administration, and the Korea expert from the Council on Foreign Relations. SFS Professor Victor Cha said, “We were near the brink of war in the first 12 months of the Trump administration” but “that dangerous state of affairs at that time was not entirely Trump’s fault despite his fire and fury rhetoric and actions.”
In the Media
Two major candidates are running for president in Nigeria: the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar, People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Associate professor Ken Opalo said: “[Buhari’s] been unwell, he hasn’t been as bold as he had promised in terms of needed reforms that could push the Nigerian economy, and despite his personal record as a non-corrupt person, there’s definitely lots of corrupt people around him.”
Shireen Hunter’s op-ed argues that throughout the years, “Iran’s punishment has far exceeded its crime.” A U.S. sponsored conference in Warsaw just finished, but “the real objective of the conference was to garner international support for even more pressure on Tehran.” Hunter provided a number of examples in which Iran was consistently punished, through war and economic sanctions.
Even with the government shutdown over, there are still concerns regarding retention, morale, finances of diplomats and their families, and more. According to Nancy McEldowney, the shutdown’s impacts sent a message to State Department employees: “What it said to many people is, our work is not valued, our contributions are not wanted, why should I work in a place that doesn’t care about what I do — whether I come to work or not?”
In an Op-ed, in Fortune, Mario Daniels, visiting DAAD professor in the BMW Center for German and European Studies and an expert in the history of technology, notes the similarities between U.S. actions against Chinese tech companies, notably the indictment of Huawei, and the dynamic between the U.S. and Japan in the 1980s. In both cases, fears over a loss of tech supremacy dominated discussion. However, he notes that the tech economy is more interdependent than 30 years ago.
In this article published on Newsweek, Professor Bruce Hoffman discusses Iran’s “crazy obsession” with the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a political front of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK. According to Hoffman, Iran’s obsession is “divorced from reality,” because while the MEK is indeed “a subversive threat, so are other groups.”
In this article published by AP News, Professor Daniel Byman discusses the rise of pan-Arab nationalists, who Byman said “see themselves often as critical of religion because religion is ‘backward.’ It’s what’s been holding the Arab world back.” Byman added, “that’s kind of the dominant divide, and Islamists of all stripes are pushing back against this.”
In this article published on The Daily Sabah, Farid Hafez, a Senior Researcher with Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, discusses structural racism and the challenge of Muslim identity in party politics. Hafez discusses a number of incidents where politicians have “deploy[ed] Islamophobic conspiracy theories against members of their opposing political party,” adding that “if we want Western societies to stand for human dignity, equality and freedom of religion, then these tendencies have to be fought.”
In this article published on The National Interest, SFS freshman Chas Goldman discusses the potential “advantages that Russia could reap from the political and economic instability caused by climate change and a global refugee crisis.” Goldman touches on a number of different benefits Russia can look forward to in response to rising temperatures and the thawing of the Arctic Ocean, from the opening up of lucrative trade routes to newfound access to expansive oil reserves.