SFS Professor Matthew Kroenig views the meeting between tSecretary of State-elect Mike Pompeo and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un as a positive development. In anticipation of the potential meeting between Kim and President Trump, “[Secretary Pompeo] is laying the groundwork necessary for a productive meeting,” adds Kroenig.
Kate Donald (SFS’94) discusses her experience as an owner of a farm in her native New Hampshire. “I was interested in making a change and getting involved, finding a useful thing to do with my life”, says Donald about her motivation for joining this male-dominated line of work.
SFS Professor Angela Stent addresses for The Washington Post the disconnect between President Trump and his advisers on Russia, with the president preferring “a much more open and friendly policy”. “The United States essentially has three Russia policies: the president’s, the executive branch’s and Congress’s”, adds Stent.
SFS Professor Mark Jacobson argues that the Ministry of Defense should provide more evidence for its announcement that the number of Russian trolls went up after the air strikes in Syria. “It may be completely correct — not like Jim Mattis’ Pentagon to ever put out something that is not correct — but it would be more helpful for them to explain in a bit more detail so we understand what’s going on,” says Jacobson.
Shareen Joshi, assistant professor in the SFS, published an article examining the recent activism of India’s most marginalized group, the Dalits. Following the dilution of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, there have been protests, arrests, and 10 deaths. Joshi says the week of activism and violence could be a sign of upheaval in the upcoming Indian elections because “a new generation of Dalit leaders has started to reject tokenism and seek genuine empowerment.”
“I’m not calling President Trump a fascist, [but] I am very concerned about his lack of democratic instinct of any kind and his disdain for the press and the judiciary and the electoral process”, says SFS Professor and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. She adds that she is worried about war with North Korea and more Russian interference in U.S. elections.
Having worked in Capitol Hill and for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign, Sophie Craighead (SFS’72) ended up working in animal welfare for decades. Today, she works with Curran-Seeley, which provides drug and alcohol counseling. She was awarded the News&Guide’s 2018 Super Volunteer Award.
Robert Smullen (SSP’97) is running for office in the New York state assembly as a Republican. Running for office for the first time, Smullen named “lower taxes, less regulation and more liberty” as his priorities.
After a 22-year career with the United Nations, Margaret Novicki is “still very intrigued by the possibility of political office.” Having served in various regions in Africa and as the director of strategic communications at UN headquarters in New York, Novicki started out her retirement by running for mayor in her small hometown in New Haven County.
“Even with Nord Stream 2, transit through Ukraine of some Russian gas into Europe will continue,” says SFS Professor Brenda Shaffer. The project will probably go forward as it is indispensable for Europe’s gas supplies, but Merkel might insist on a bigger role for Ukraine.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to Beijing for the first time this March. Oriana Skylar Mastro, assistant professor of security studies, notes that “China may have shifted its strategy to prioritize diplomacy over military solutions, but its goals have not changed.” Beijing might expect Washington “to make significant compromises to get Pyongyang to denuclearize,” adds Skylar Mastro.
Anne Steen, director of the SFS Graduate Career Center, made the case that SFS students make the perfect candidates for a job in the intelligence community, since they are “global problem-solvers who speak multiple languages.” The CIA is currently hiring a wide range of new employees from cyber threat analysts to accountants to data scientists.
Kelly Dale (GHD’18) argues that improvements are needed in the collection of gender data to tackle gender inequality. Researchers should start “disaggregating data by sex and age and stop collecting data on household impacts rather than individual impacts”, adds Dale.
SFS alumnus Jason Lusk (SFS’98) launched the project Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) in 2016 to support start-ups in the field of tourism in the Mekong region in Vietnam. “Through this programme, tourism innovators and travel startups will have chance to get paired with investors and industry mentors who can equip them to scale and thrive,” says Lusk.
Robert Gallucci, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, does not expect immediate progress on North Korea’s denuclearization after the Trump-Kim summit. He adds that “you should really work to avoid the worst outcomes here” and he expects the summit to take place somewhere in Asia, maybe in Beijing.
Ariane Tabatabai wrote an op-ed discussing the threat that incoming national security advisor John Bolton brings to the Iran nuclear deal. “Bolton’s track record in the nonproliferation space…all point to the end of the nuclear deal with Iran and a generally more aggressive stance on the Islamic Republic,” Tabatabai said.
Professor Angela Stent spoke to The New York Times about the potential meeting between Trump and Putin. She reasoned that Russia may be following news accounts “about divisions over Russia policy and they want to set a possible meeting in motion before Bolton and Pompeo assume their new jobs.”
SFS Professor Victor Cha argues that a limited strike on North Korea would not limit North Korea’s nuclear program or even curb “the proliferation of materials, weapons or scientists.” On the withdrawal of his nomination as U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Cha says that “the administration has the right to change its mind.”
Dr. Farid Hafez, Senior Research Fellow at the Bridge Initiative, says that anti-Semitism “is part of many of the rank and file as well as of the leadership of FPO,” which is the junior coalition partner in the Austrian government. Hafez adds that former FPO supporters are “realizing that the FPO is not serving them but the upper and middle classes.”
SFS Professor Victor Cha believes that the Trump administration should maintain pressure and sanctions against North Korea and step up rather than cut down on its support for regional allies South Korea and Japan. It must not, however, consider the military option should the upcoming Kim-Trump summit fail, partly because it will be impossible to evacuate the 230,000 Americans living in South Korea in time should war erupt.
Congressman Mike Gallagher (SSP’12) has been hailed for his principled distance from some of President Trump’s actions, despite representing the largely pro-Trump Wisconsin in Congress. “It’s not my job to just salute everything the White House does,” says Gallagher.
SFS Professor Angela Stent warns that a U.S. withdrawal from Syria would “give Moscow a free hand and weaken the forces fighting Assad.” Stent adds that this move would also embolden Iran, whose forces are fighting alongside Russia in the conflict.
According to SFS Professor Oriana Skylar Mastro, China could offer North Korea some desired incentives that the U.S. is not willing to provide, such as unilateral sanction relief or even economic inducements. Mastro adds that the role of China remains vital, since it is responsible for 90% of North Korea’s trade with the outside world.
SFS Professor Matthew Kroenig suggests that John Bolton’s experience and competence can make him a good National Security Advisor. Kroenig disagrees with those who think that Bolton might be too hawkish on North Korea and thinks that the “Reagan and Trump mantra of ‘peace through strength'” might just work.
SFS Professor Shireen Hunter argues that there are underlying hostilities between the U.S. and the West on the one hand and Iran on the other hand that will persist despite the future of the nuclear deal. With the prospects for regime change appearing unrealistic, “a policy of accommodation is the better way to handle the Iran issue,” adds Hunter.
SFS professor and former head of the Foreign Service Institute Nancy McEldowney has joined a letter by more than 200 former U.S. ambassadors and veteran diplomats expressing alarm over the condition of the State Department. The signatories see the recent reshuffle at the State Department as an opportunity “to restore the power and influence of American diplomacy.”
SFS Professor Dennis Wilder describes the meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and North Korea’s President Kim Jong Un as “a big statement” from China, which is worried about being left out of a potential agreement between North Korea and the US.
SFS Professor Matthew Kroenig argues for CBS that Kim Jong Un’s first-ever official trip abroad gives hope that North Korea might be ready to make serious progress over its denuclearization. “Chances are still low, but better chance now than anytime in recent years”, says Kroenig.
SFS Professor Sassoon notes how difficult it is to research any modern Arab country due to the lack of open archives. During his research on Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, Sassoon was surprised by the “massive information they gathered about so many individuals from high school age to retirement”. He believes that such an archive can help Iraq chart a stronger future course.
SFS Professor Skylar Mastro argues that China arranged Kim Jong-un’s visit to “gauge whether or not Kim is ready to talk in good faith” and then relay its impressions to Washington. Skylar Mastro also argues that China is hoping for more influence over North Korea’s domestic policy.