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.
Kathleen McNamara, Professor of Government and Foreign Service, predicts that the declining Euro could endanger the rest of the global financial market. It has long played a “helper” role to U.S. financial hegemony, but McNamara says that “now, Europe’s “helper” status may well be in question.
Oriana Skylar Mastro, assistant professor of security studies, observes that while the alliance between South Korea and the United States remains strong militarily, the political ties are more tenuous. After visiting Seoul in December, she believes “the politics of cooperation could be shaken up by unresolved differences or shocks.”
The existence of a domestic pressure in favor of a U.S. attack on Iran increases the risk of military intervention, writes SFS professor Shireen Hunter in an op-ed for LobeLog. She further argues that the increasingly aggressive rhetoric from Trump administration officials should make the Iranian regime, which unlike North Korea, does not count with a deterrent or an allied great power, wary of an American attack.
Writing for The New York Times, Professor Charles Kupchan names the European Union the last line of defense for Western, republican ideals, arguing that it should actively defend these values in Poland, where an illiberal government has been subverting them since being elected in 2015.
“This is not the first time, of course, that U.S. officials have called Pakistan out for its perfidy despite American generosity,” Professor Christine Fair wrote with Sumit Ganguly for Foreign Affairs, but, “This time, the situation is different.”
“However much the United States and its allies would like the protests to yield a dramatic shift in Iranian policy,” Professor Arianne Tabatabai wrote for Foreign Affairs, “the reality is that the Iranian government is unlikely to change course.”
“Iran is often painted as a powerful monster whose tentacles stretch across the greater Middle East,” writes Professor Daniel Byman, “but the Islamic Republic suffers from array of problems at home and abroad.”
Oriana Skylar Mastro, assistant professor of security studies, recently participated in a delegation trip to Seoul organized by the National Bureau of Asian Research and sponsored by the Korea Foundation. She articulates three observations from her time there about the perception and nature of the North Korean threat.
Shireen Hunter, Research Professor at the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, published an article about the recent protests taking place in Iran. After decades of disappointment, Hunter says, Iranian people want change. The country’s leadership “must come out of their paranoid world and enter the real world of the 21st century.”
Daniel Byman, professor and senior associate dean, worries that forcing the Islamic State underground will not be a total defeat of the organization. Without maintaining pressure on the group and shoring up cooperation with allies, Byman says, the outcome will be “at best a respite, not lasting victory.”
Xi Jinping alludes to historical icons Zhang Qian and Zheng He in touting big infrastructure plans. “Such images underscore Beijing’s message about the peaceful, cooperative nature of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Professor Daniel Nexon wrote with Paul Musgrave. “They also leave no doubt about China’s leadership role.”
Arsalan Suleman, former Acting U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and current non-resident fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, believes Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital holds clear implications for the national security interests of the United States.
SFS junior Samuel Seitz wins the 2017 Foreign Affairs Student Essay Competition in partnership with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Seitz’s winning essay was selected from a field of nearly three hundred entries that examined whether populism poses a threat to the international order.
Professor Daniel Byman argues that al-Qaeda’s influence is in decline, partly due to U.S. efforts to isolate al-Qaeda in Syria. As the Islamic State gains more attention, funders are becoming less likely to support al-Qaeda and Syrian defection from al-Qaeda is one sign that the group is weakening.
Professor Dennis Ross explains that while Syria seems to be the only place Trump hasn’t tried to undo his predecessor’s policies, his plan to continue working with Russia in the region is misled in the Wall Street Journal.