The U.S. will be imposing sanctions on China on May 1, if China does not stop importing oil from Iran. Around May 1, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are going to Beijing to continue trade talks. “Is the priority Iran sanctions or a trade agreement? A trade agreement should be the priority,” said Professor Dennis Wilder.
On Sunday, terrorist attacks killed almost 300 people at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. Almost immediately after the attack, people were arrested in connection to the attack, and the National Thowheed Jamath, an Islamist militant group, ended up being responsible for the attacks. Considering that Sri Lanka has little tension between Muslim and Christian Sri Lankans, “it’s far more likely, Fair said, that an outside group, such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, based in the Indian subcontinent is involved in some way.”
When a friend brought his great-grandmother’s book which was about her experience in the post-WWI pogrom of Jews in Eastern Europe, LeeAnn Dance (SFS’84) was blown away; she didn’t know there had been a pogrom after WWI. A year later, she decided to make a documentary out of the book, “My Dear Children.” “‘My Dear Children’” points out how important it is, in order to understand the Holocaust we have to understand the violence in Eastern Europe that preceded it 20 years before,” said Dance.
Though relations between the U.S. and Korea have had historic importance, President Trump believes that “Korea is cheating the United States and troops should be withdrawn (according to recent research published by Victor Cha in The National Interest).” However, he has very few supporters in this belief. Professor Green cites that Charles Koch has endorsed restraining the U.S. military from overseas presences, which would push U.S. allies to bolster their own military support.
In an op-ed in The National Interest, Professor Abraham Newman and his colleague wrote about the U.S.’s infrastructure, financially, globally, economically. They discussed two important decisions: 1) America’s decision to sanction the Chinese firm ZTE Corporation and 2) Europe’s creation of the “Special Purpose Vehicle,” an agreement to create humanitarian exchange with Iran. These decisions have created a number of issues, which could lead to “further splintering and contention between regional infrastructural systems.”
Professor Kathleen McNamara outlines three possible reasons behind why the European Union has gotten stronger as a result of “the long Brexit saga.” First, “Brexit has become a powerful example to other countries in Europe”. Second, the “Brexit mess has helped the E.U. consolidate its authority”. Third, “the E.U. has its own social glue,” strengthened by crisis.
This week, President Trump “designated the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)…a ‘terrorist organization.'” The State Department released a statement regarding the designation, explaining that the IRGC has killed Americans, which led to some confusion. Professor Bruce Hoffman suggested that this was in reference to “the intense fighting in Sadr City in Baghdad in 2008 between IRGC and U.S. military forces.”
SFS Professor Irfan Nooruddin and his colleagues published an article yesterday on Brookings, summarizing a study they conducted in India where they asked rural Biharis what they thought about direct cash transfers. What they found was that most Biharis would prefer public health over cash, jobs, and improved roads: “…the poor would find it difficult to use their new cash to improve their children’s lives, in the absence of the supply of public health programs.”
Anna Landre (SFS’21) was interviewed and profiled by the Washington Post las week. Landre discussed the mainstream language surrounding disabilities–for example, while the term “disabled people” may sound offensive to some people, that’s the term she prefers. “I take pride in my disability,” she says. “It gives me a certain strength. I don’t see it as a deficit or a problem.” Landre also talked about working as a disabled person, and the “antiquated” way of thinking our society has about this particular issue.
Hoda Muthana, an American who traveled to Syria in 2014 to join ISIS, wants to come back to the U.S., and face the consequences of her actions. However, the Trump administration is attempting to bar her return. Professor Daniel Byman argued: “What you want is for these people to be off the streets, having them go to trial, go to jail, is a good thing.”
Cristine Pedersen (MSFS’20) wrote about “following her father” into the Marines. Having heard and seen her father’s experiences in the Marines, she entered with an idea of what she would experience, but left with a completely different idea. Pedersen outlined different instances of sexual harassment from higher-up officers, and issues of race and gender. In the end, as she discusses with her father, Pedersen writes: “Together we have learned that you can simultaneously love an institution and recognize how it is failing.”
The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics’s annual CrossCurrents Festival is underway, and this year, features former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, and Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka. How did that happen? Lab Co-Director, Cynthia Schneider, says, “The lab tries to leverage the local voices of artists in other parts of the world who are expressing a narrative that’s different from what’s coming out from the government, who express the aspirations of the people. This leads, at the very least, to a deeper understanding of the region
Yann de Rochefort (SFS’89) just opened up his sixth location of his restaurant, Boqueria, in Penn Quarter. With locations in New York and Washington, DC, Boqueria has been a success; his newest location was reviewed by food critic Tom Sietsema (SFS’83) in the Washington Post, and given 3 stars.
In an op-ed published by War on the Rocks, expert in terrorism, Professor Bruce Hoffman discusses how the recent Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shooting illustrates the changing nature of terrorist strategy, which more commonly include lone wolf tactics and social media radicalization. Although these phenomena are closely associated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State, they were in fact both the innovations of right wing extremist groups.
Georgetown alumna Judith Sherman (SFS’82) has worked in public health her whole life. As chief of HIV and AIDS at UNICEF Malawi, “[Sherman’s] current responsibilities involve coordinating efforts by HIV specialists and working with government health officials to attack and overcome challenges blocking efforts to reduce the incidence of AIDS and HIV exposure.” Additionally, she’s been able to help with developing a program for sexual and reproductive health for teens in Malawi.
Professor Bruce Hoffman pens op-ed for the Council on Foreign Relations about white nationalist terrorism in the aftermath of the Christchurch shooting. “…given the rise of violent white nationalism, the growing traction of far-right extremism, and the power of twenty-first-century communications platforms, the threat [of white nationalist terrorism] is evolving rapidly.”
Last week, President Trump signed an executive order ordering colleges “to support free speech if they want [national government grants for] federal research.” Max Keating (SFS’21) praised the executive order, but quickly noted that the president’s record on free speech isn’t exactly clean, as he’s advocated for revoking media licenses of outlets who disagree with him, for example. “Once we start silencing unpopular voices, however, it is a slippery slope towards tyranny,” said Keating.
Keegan Pierce (SFS’02) has been working with La Liga, the men’s professional football league in Spain, home to teams like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Pierce’s job as the U.K and Ireland Delegate for La Liga is to “[bring] the magic of Messi and the rest of Spain’s LaLiga to one of the most dynamic football markets in the world.” Pierce describes his job and his experiences thus far in an interview with Forbes.
Dr. Andrew Kuchins, senior fellow and research professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., has been chosen as president of the American University of Central Asia, in Kyrgyzstan.
Professor Christine Fair’s book, Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War, “argues that Pakistan is a revisionist state in Kashmir and seeks to resist India’s rise in the region.” Fair highlights three main aspects of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba: recruiting (fighters were mainly recruited from madrassas and Urdu medium schools, on average aged 17-18), the role of mothers (LeT pushed mothers to encourage their sons to join and fight), and its role in domestic policy (as it helps the state fight against militia groups that threaten the state).
President Trump signed an order recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli territory, leading to a number of different reactions. Most regional experts agreed that this action was essentially beneficial to Netanyahu’s campaign. “The U.S. position was always that the status (of the Golan Heights) would be determined in negotiations between Israel and its neighbors,” Professor Byman said.
In this op-ed published on Foreign Affairs, Professor Charles Kupchan describes the fact that despite “Trump’s dismissive and disparaging treatment of NATO,” the alliance “is entering its eighth decade in quite good health because it succeeds admirably in advancing the shared interests of its members.”
In this article published on the National Catholic Reporter, Father Drew Christiansen posited that in the current political climate, with increasing attention being paid to nuclear deterrence, “it’s time for the Catholic voice to rise to the pinnacle it held in the 1980s and new voices can lead the way.” With his reference to the 1980’s, Father Christiansen brings to mind “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response,” a letter released by U.S. bishops in 1983 which “offered moral perspectives on war and peace, nuclear deterrence and the possession of nuclear weapons.”
In this article published on Foreign Policy, Professor Charles Kupchan provides an explanation for why “Brexit Is Europe’s Finest Hour.” According to Kupchan, “the general pattern is that Europe continues to exercise a magnetic attraction which pulls even extremist parties toward the center. Why? It’s markets. It’s a rule-based order. It’s the aggregation of political and geopolitical clout. It’s a sense of security. It’s open borders.” Thus, according to Kupchan, Brexit has served more as an indication of the strength of the EU than anything else.
In this article published on Lawfare, Katherine Kelley (SSP ’20) describes the modern phenomena of “sextortion.” According to Kelley, “blackmailing victims using their sexual activity as leverage is a crime as old as time,” however “sextortion is a uniquely modern phenomenon insofar as it relies of the use of modern technology in the acquisition of material and the threat of dissemination.”
Ivanka Trump’s Initiative hopes to help 50 million women with job skills and credit. However, to ensure that the initiative had funding, President Trump cut funding for the SNAP program and the USAID by a third each. “Generally these are good things to do, but at the same time we shouldn’t be cutting the budget for other women’s programs,” Verveer said. “You can’t go to the workplace and be productive if your health is failing and you’re a victim of domestic abuse.”
The Bangkok Post profiled SFS alumnus Jack Leslie (SFS’76), who is the Chairman of Weber Shandwick, a public relations firm. While Leslie originally wanted to be a doctor growing up, he switched gears and worked for Senator Ted Kennedy for eight years after graduating from Georgetown. Eventually, he met a media consultant while working for Kennedy, and ended up working for the Sawyer Miller Group, “one of the pioneers in political media consulting during the late 1980s and early ’90s” which would later become Weber Shandwick.
The U.S.-North Korea talks in Hanoi, Vietnam didn’t go well, and immediately after, everyone was trying to see who was at fault behind the talks. Various factors have been pointed out: President Trump, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, Japan, Michael Cohen. SFS Professor Michael Green, however, argues that the most obvious reason is North Korea: “North Korea was not prepared to denuclearize in any meaningful way.”
In light of the attacks on the two New Zealand mosques on Friday, Professor Daniel Byman outlined initial thoughts in an op-ed for the Brookings Institution. Byman highlighted that words and rhetoric matter in terms of comments made by politicians and wrote that white nationalist sentiments must be taken seriously, and that right-wing terrorism should be taken as seriously as jihadism.
Professor Oriana Skylar Mastro testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: “A New Approach for an Era of U.S.-China Competition.” Her three main points were that: 1) while China is not a threat to the US, there are conflicts in goals and interests; 2) China works with its military power for security and expects the US and other countries to let them without a fight; and 3) China’s territorial aims are limited.