Op-Ed

Dan Byman on the Ethics of Serving in the Trump Administration

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.”

Sarah Margon

Sarah Margon (MSFS ’05) on Trump Administration’s Commitment to Human Rights

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.”

James Millward

Millward on Surveillance of Uighurs in Northwestern China

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.”

Sinan Ciddi discusses upcoming Turkish presidential election

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.

Nicole Bibbins Sedaca: Trump must address N.K.’s human rights violations

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.

Cha on Dangers of a Preventive Military Strike Against North Korea

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.”

Byman on Hezbollah, Drugs, and the Obama Administration

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 on Being A Public Servant in the Age of Trump

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

Kroenig Makes the Case for Tactical U.S. Nuclear Weapons

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.”

Nexon on the danger of labelling Trump a totalitarian

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

McNamara Warns Euro Could Put Global Financial System at Risk

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.

Mastro Warns of Cracks in U.S. – South Korea Alliance

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.”

Shireen Hunter Says Risk of War With Iran Is Higher Than North Korea

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.

Fair on Pakistan and the Myth of “Too Dangerous to Fail”

“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.”

Byman on Troubles & Weaknesses of the Regime in Iran

“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 on Observations from a Recent Visit to South Korea

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 Warns “Dire Decisions Must Be Made” If Iran Is To Be Saved

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.”

Byman on the True Defeat of the Islamic State

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.”

Nexon on the ancient origins of Xi’s Belt and Road

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 Criticizes Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

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.

Daniel Byman on al-Qaeda’s Declining Influence

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.

Dennis Ross on Trump’s Misguided Plan for Syria

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.