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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Professor Shareen Joshi wrote an op-ed in the Hindu BusinessLine analyzing political and other barriers to reducing pollution in the Ganges River. Despite the Ganga’s great importance, it remains one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
SFS Professor Michael Green predicts that the much-discussed Trump-Kim summit is unlikely to take place, and even less likely to succeed in achieving the denuclearization of North Korea if it does take place. He adds that the idea of holding a summit is discouraged by most experts, Republican Congressmen, and probably a significant portion of President Trump’s base too.
SFS Professor Charles Kupchan argues that the United States and Turkey should both make some concessions in Syria for mutual benefit in Foreign Policy magazine. The U.S. should press its Kurdish allies in Syria to cut their ties with a perceived terrorist organization in Turkey, and Turkey should recognize Washington’s Kurdish allies as a legitimate stakeholder in the postwar Syrian landscape.
The West requires “completely new thinking” on China, argues SFS Professor Oriana Skylar Mastro. At present, China seems unlikely to democratize, and history shows that democratization does not necessarily cause a softer foreign policy anyway. The U.S. should acknowledge that China’s existing use of political and economic coercion abroad might be just as harmful to U.S. interests as its hypothetical use of military methods.
In an op-ed in the New York Times, Professor Victor Cha discusses what negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea would entail. “While the unpredictability of a meeting between these two unconventional leaders provides unique opportunities to end the decades-old conflict, its failure could also push the two countries to the brink of war,” Cha writes.
“For Trump, making America great again means making America white again”, argues SFS Professor Kupchan, but he also advocates for a reconceptualization of post-WWII American exceptionalism, which “unleashed more violence and regional instability in the Middle East.”
MAGES alumnus Jamie M. Fly argues that tech platforms should step up their efforts to counter disinformation and improve the enforcement of existing efforts, given that 67 percent of Americans get their news from social media.
Professor and Senior Associate Dean at the SFS, Daniel Byman, urges principled and intelligent people, who wish to pursue a career in government, to do so despite their reservations about the Trump administration. They should not, however, serve with “uncritical loyalty.”
SFS Alumnus Yash Johri calls for the adoption of Indian legislation that would not be too draconian yet serve to temper uncensored voices.
Sarah Margon (MSFS ’05), Washington director at Human Rights Watch, published an op-ed in Foreign Affairs about the Trump Administration’s stance on human rights. She writes, “All U.S. presidents have, to varying degrees, downplayed or even overlooked concerns about human rights in order to get things done with unsavory foreign partners. But none has seemed so eager as Trump to align with autocrats as a matter of course.”
China’s military power has been growing rapidly. Professor Oriana Skylar Mastro writes in Politico that the U.S. must refocus its military strategy and commit greater resources to maintain dominance.
The Olympic Winter Games are now underway in Pyongyang. Will they calm regional tensions in Asia? Dr. Kelly McFarland, director of programs and research at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, describes three challenges affecting diplomatic relations within the region.
The U.S. should support the Nord 2 Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany because it is indispensable for Europe, “even if that happens to overlap with what Russia wants,” argues SFS Professor Brenda Shaffer in Foreign Policy.
“A preventive military strike would be counterproductive to our objectives [of deterring North Korea],” argued SFS Professor Green, and criticized the White House for halting the appointment of the next ambassador to South Korea over his vehement opposition to military action.
James Millward, Professor of History, published an op-ed calling attention to the heightened surveillance of Uighurs in northwest China. Millward writes, “When it comes to indigenous Uighurs in the vast western region of Xinjiang, the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) has updated its old totalitarian methods with cutting-edge technology.”
SFS Professor Sinan Ciddi explains the impact of new constitutional changes on the next presidential election in Turkey. “The odds are low that Turkey’s next presidential election will be free or fair,” Ciddi writes, speculating that President Erdogan will most likely come out on top.
In his State of the Union address, President Trump acknowledged Ji Seong-ho, a North Korean defector. But rather than discussing the human rights violations committed by North Korea, Trump focused only on their nuclear ambitions, which Professor Nicole Bibbins Sedaca takes issue with in an op-ed in Foreign Policy.
As North Korea’s nuclear capabilities grow, SFS Professor Victor Cha cautions against the use of preventive military strikes. According to Cha, “There is a forceful military option available that can address the threat without escalating into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans.”
Responding to a Politico expose by Josh Meyer, Professor Daniel Byman writes, “Although I think much of the information about Hezbollah is convincing, I find myself skeptical of the broader argument about systematic obstruction of counternarcotics efforts at the senior levels of the Obama national security team.”
Nancy McEldowney, a public servant with over three decades of experience and current Director of the Masters of Science in Foreign Service Program, published an op-ed in the Washington Post on navigating a career in public service under a president who is denigrating the federal workforce.
Matthew Kroenig, Associate Professor of Government and Foreign Service, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the need for continued development and upkeep of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. “As long as the world is filled with aggressive nuclear-armed adversaries,” Kroenig says, “America needs to maintain a potent deterrence.”
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Professor Daniel Nexon explains the danger in comparing President Trump to totalitarians of the past. Nexon argues that exaggerating Trump’s totalitarian tendencies takes attention away from real threats to our democratic institutions.