Quotable

Angela Stent

Stent On Implications of Trump’s Withdrawal From Syria

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.

McEldowney joins former U.S. ambassadors letter of concern to state department

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.”

Joseph Sassoon

Sasson praises the Hoover Institute’s Iraq archives

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.

Skylar Mastro Explains China’s decision to host Kim jong-un

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.

Victor Cha: South Korea may agree to pay more for U.S. troops

Professor Victor Cha, a former White House official, discussed recent trade negotiations between the U.S. and South Korea. The countries are in talks to renew the current cost-sharing agreement of U.S. troops on South Korean soil, which expires at the end of the year. Cha notes that South Korea may agree to take on more of these costs.

Sarah Stewart Johnson on Detecting Life Beyond Earth with Genome Sequencing

Sarah Stewart Johnson, an astrobiologist and professor in the Science, Technology, and International Affairs program, and her team have found a new strategy to detect extraterrestrial life with a genome sequencer. “You could have a completely different biochemistry,” she says. “But you could still see a signal.”

Angela Stent

Stent Argues US can learn from UK response to Russian poisoning

SFS Professor Angela Stent calls out the U.S. administration for the perceived lack of solidarity with the U.K. over its sanctions against Russia, following the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in London. “It’s striking the contrast between what the Brits have done and what the U.S. has not done”, says Dr. Stent for the AP.

Bruce Hoffman on Al-Qaeda Rebuilding in Egypt’s Western Desert

Terrorist groups are taking advantage of a power vacuum in Libya and Egypt’s Western Desert to build up presence and escalate operations in the region. Former Director of Security Studies Bruce Hoffman highlights that al-Qaeda is consolidating its presence in the region, with around 6,000 fighters being linked to the organization.

Sinan Ciddi on an Increasingly Inward-Looking Turkey

Speaking on Turkey’s decision to not fund the 23rd annual Turkish-German film festival, Institute for Turkish Studies director Sinan Ciddi said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made electoral gains from promoting Islamic culture and vilifying the West.

John Feeley (SFS ’83) on Resigning from the State Department

Georgetown alum and former U.S. ambassador to Panama John D. Feeley (SFS ’83) said to The Washington Post that he decided to resign from the State Department because he no longer felt he could serve an administration whose policies and values he did not agree with. A career diplomat who also served in Mexico, Feeley opposed the Trump administration’s disregard for a “rules-based” and “respectful” diplomatic approach.

Barbara Bodine Weighs In on Rex Tillerson’s Ouster

Institute for the Study of Diplomacy director and retired U.S. ambassador Barbara Bodine said that Rex Tillerson was fired from his position as Secretary of State due to his conflicting stances on North Korea, Iran, and Russia, among other foreign policy issues.

Angela Stent

Stent Sees Saudi Arabian Turn to Russia as Geopolitical Power Move

Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, says that Russia has filled a power vacuum in the Middle East. A recent Saudi-Russian oil deal signals a shift from U.S. ties to Russian influence, which Stent attributes to geopolitical power moves between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Ken Opalo

Ken Opalo Laments China’s Abandonment of Orderly Transitions

SFS Professor Opalo argues that China’s decision to abandon presidential term limits, thus allowing President Xi Jinping’s to rule indefinitely, is a bad idea because “lifelong presidencies remove incentives for those in power to be accountable and innovate.”

Jacques Berlinerblau on Public Discourse and Anti-Semitism

In 2017, reports of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. increased by 57%. Jacques Berlinerblau, Professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service and Director of Georgetown’s Center for Jewish Civilization tells ABC news: “It’s fairly obvious that what shifted in 2017….we had a new president and with this new president came a new form of public discourse perhaps not seen from the White House since prior to World War II.”

Ambassador Nancy McEldowney on the Duties of Civil Servants

SFS Professor Ambassador Nancy McEldowney advises civil servants to document abuses of power they may witness. “When you work for the federal government, your first responsibility is to the law — and the law clearly stipulates that partisan activity must never be allowed to undermine the integrity of government operations,” says McEldowney.

Matthew Kroenig and Dan Nexon compare Trump’s and Obama’s Policies Toward Russia

SFS Professors Kroenig and Nexon both imply that the US policy toward Russia is more adversarial now. According to Kroenig, “Obama’s first national security strategy only mentioned Russia as a potential partner, never as a possible threat.” Nexon says, “if you compare current 2018 U.S. policy to U.S. policy during Obama’s first term, then the U.S. is clearly ‘tougher’ on Russia now.”