The Diversity in National Security Network and New America have honored the contributions of 35 Black American experts in U.S. national security and foreign policy, including: Zaid Zaid (SFS’96), Anthony Johnson (SSP’18), Lesley Warner (SSP’09), Chanda Brown (SSP’07), and Brionne Dawson (SFS’02).
Professor Robert Williams has been nominated to be Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs. Williams has specialized in South Asia and Afghanistan affairs as an analyst and intelligence officer for more than 20 years and has been an adjunct associate professor at SFS since 2017.
In an op-ed in Foreign Affairs, Professor Oriana Skylar Mastro writes that China has continuously assured the world that its ambition is not to become a global hegemon. In doing so, however, China disguises its true aims: complete dominance in the Indo-Pacific region, and enough power to counter Washington when needed.
In The Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage blog, Professor Elizabeth Saunders writes about how Trump’s management of his team is hurting his own foreign policy, as exemplified in the tumultuous events of the past week.
Kristin Sekerci, an Islamophobia researcher with Georgetown’s Bridge Initiative, spoke to The Chicago Reader about the problems with Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs. “The theory of radicalization is an Islamophobic, junk science theory.”
SFS alumna Alaina Teplitz (SFS’91) is the newly-appointed US Ambassador to Sri Lanka. In an interview with the Sri Lanka Mirror, Teplitz outlined her hopes and goals for her time as ambassador: “Among those is strengthening our business ties, looking for opportunities for US investments here, and greater trade. Whilst the US is Sri Lanka’s largest export market, I’d also like to see more import of US products, investments, and businesses in Sri Lanka, and contributing to the growth of the country. I’d like to see progress in our mutual security challenges, including maritime.”
Professor Christine C. Fair writes about the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and whether or not it’s an Islamist organization and how that affects the Rohingya population of Myanmar. While the government of Myanmar claims that ARSA is an Islamist organization, but Fair points out that they do not align themselves enough to Islamism to be considered Islamist. However, this is making it difficult for Myanmar to consider the wishes of Rohingya refugees: to come back home to Myanmar under “government recognition as a distinct ethnic group.” The consensus at this point seems to be that displaced Rohingya refugees will remain in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
In this Washington Post article, Professor Abraham Newman breaks down the “arrest and possible extradition to the United States of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese communications giant Huawei, in Canada for possible sanctions violations.” Abraham explains that the arrest is not “a simple criminal case, or even a crude effort to exert economic pressure on China.” Instead, “it shows how the geostrategic relationship between the Washington and Beijing is changing.”
In this article published on The Island, Ashanee Kottage (SFS ’22) discusses the current ministerial crisis in Sri Lanka. Specifically, Kottage warns against the potential damage to reefs and depletion of resources that the proposed Colombo Port City could cause.
In this New York Times Article, Professor Joanna Lewis discusses the impact of U.S.-China Relations on the fight against climate change. Specifically, Lewis notes that “the rest of the world looks to the U.S. and China for leadership, and it has become clear that, as the alliance has waned, global momentum to address climate change has slowed.”
In this op-ed published on War on the Rocks, Professor Michael Green explores Japan’s new defense plan, discussing whether or not it is “ambitious enough.” Green concludes that “under Abe, Japan has significantly increased capabilities to meet the increasing regional security challenges,” adding that “Abe is also increasing the risk Japan accepts by becoming more joint with the United States and being willing to exercise collective self-defense with those with whom it has close security relations. “
The Times of Isreal has presented Father Patrick Desbois with the Humanist of the Year Award for 2018 for “Outstanding Contribution to the Teaching of Humanist Values.” Father Desbois was recognized for his efforts in combating antisemitism, as well as his recently published book on the same topic, “In Broad Daylight.”
In this article published on Africa Check, Professor Ken Opalo offered Kenya two strategies to improve its trade relationship with China. First, Opalo said Kenya should “deepen its existing markets to ensure that trade goes beyond exporting raw commodities and importing finished products.” Second, they should “diversify the portfolio of trading partners by opening up new markets so as not to be too dependent on one country or region.”
Elliot Silverberg (MASIA’20) writes in The National Interest that amid the rise of China, “the U.S.-Japan alliance will continue to be a fulcrum of U.S. foreign policy in advancing democratic norms, economic prosperity, and multilateral cooperation around the world.”
In this Politico article, Georgetown Professor Dennis Wilder provides a review of Michael Pillsbury’s “The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower.” Wilder says that he does not “believe China has the kind of well worked out grand strategy that [Pillsbury] professes,” adding that Pillsbury’s work is “shoddy and filled with inaccuracies and false quotations.” Assessing the implications of this kind of writing, Wilder said that a book like this could “make people overestimate the Chinese in a way that I think can make people make questionable policy positions.”
In this Ozy article, Professor Erick Langer recounts a story of “Bolivia’s Worst President.” According to Langer, Mariano Melgarejo, who assumed the Bolivian Presidency after shooting the standing president dead following a battle between the two, was eventually “ousted by General Agustín Morales, who swept to victory on the coattails of a massive rebellion of native Bolivians after Melgarejo attempted to introduce legislation to seize the land of indigenous communities.”
Professor Marc Busch breaks down and analyzes the effects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its relationship to robotics as a “merger of two technologies.” However, Busch points out that both technologies provide a challenge to trade. AI forces us to rethink our idea of a “natural” person regarding jurisdiction(s), while robots come across as “goods,” which would push us to create a separate category for them. An important question about if a robot malfunctions or breaks, and it is fixed or updated, Busch looks at the importance of where this fixing takes place.
Georgetown Professor and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s book, “Fascism: A Warning,” was recognized by The Economist as being one of the best books of the year. Having fled both Nazism and communism as a child, Albright “does not deploy the term “fascism” loosely and deplores those who do; instead she cooly analyses the way countries can descend into tyranny.”
Professor Christine Fair explained India’s ongoing project to construct a deep-sea port in Chabahar, Iran for The Diplomat. This port would allow India to access Afghanistan, which has been difficult for them to do since Pakistan has restricted access to Afghanistan. By having this connection, on top of Afghanistan’s emerging connections to Iran, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, the country could slowly achieve economic independence from Pakistan. However, Professor Fair noted that throughout this process, Pakistan would attempt arbitrage and employ the Taliban to continue to make Afghanistan dependent on them.
Congress has been failing to abide by its role as a legislative institution, and instead, has divided itself along party lines to execute respective agendas, leading to “ping-pong policy reversals.” One problem has been how members of Congress struggle to address modern issues, like social media and the Internet; they lack policy experts who are knowledgeable enough for these topics. Professor Elizabeth Saunders commented that: “The payoff of being known as being one of these big foreign policy people has declined. It’s just not going to really change much until you give them an existential reason to focus their attention on a big enemy.”
Earlier this week, Russian officials seized three Ukrainian ships, pushing President Trump to make a public statement of disapproval regarding Russia’s actions, just before his upcoming meeting with Putin. SFS Professor and Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies Angela Stent said: “If President Trump is as forward leaning as he usually is with President Putin, that is obviously sending a signal that whatever happens in the Sea of Azov, we can move on. What the Russians want is a reaffirmation that however much we complain about that, the U.S. is not going to do anything.”
Published online in the Jewish News Syndicate, SFS Junior, Shaun Ho discusses the advantages and disadvantages, for both sides, of the growing relationship between Beijing and Jerusalem. Ho explains how Beijing is seeking to learn from Israel’s capacity for technological innovation to diversify its economy away from innovation. Correspondingly, Israel hopes to capitalize on the enormous market in China. Both, however, ought to proceed with caution as the relationship flourishes. Beijing must ensure it does not unnerve its Arab partners, while Jerusalem must remain wary of growing Chinese economic influence and potential for espionage.
James Millward, a professor of intersocietal history, is quoted in The Atlantic discussing Chinese mass-internment of its Muslim Uighur minority population and the corresponding emphasis U.S. leaders have placed on human rights. Millward explains the worry that for Trump’s administration, the Uighur issue is a mere negotiating point that can be sidelined once the U.S. and China reach a trade deal.
In this op-ed published by the U.S. Naval Institute, Lieutenant Commander Catherine Reppert (SSP’06) refuted claims made by CAPT Kevin Eyer, U.S. Navy (Retired), regarding “an erosion of trust in commanding officers in the Surface Navy.” Reppert said that she “could not disagree more with his characterization,” that she has “remarkable latitude to do [her] job,” and that she feels “intrinsically empowered.”
In this article published on Korean Joongang Daily, Professor Michael Green discusses the implications of the United States and China being “unable to set aside geopolitical differences and work together for consensus at APEC,” as leaders failed, for the first time in APEC’s history, to “agree on a joint statement on economic cooperation.” Green concluded that “as relative U.S. power declines, the institutions and allies that upheld the Pax American will be even more important to achieving U.S. national interests” and that “Korea will have to be more proactive in working with other like-minded states to support the post-war order.”
Dr. Natalie Goldring, an Adjunct Professor in the Security Studies Program, quoted in Global Issues, describes how countries in Africa have demonstrated unexpectedly high levels of transparency concerning their military expenditure. She notes that 45 out of the 47 countries of sub-Saharan Africa made at least one spending report on their military budget to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) between 2012 and 2017, while simultaneously failing to report the same data to the United Nations. For this she blames understaffed & underfunded ministries and duplicated reporting requirements.
In this article on IPP Media, Professor Ken Opalo warns against the idea proposed by Gunter Nooke, Germany’s Minister for Africa, of African countries leasing their land to foreign governments for the creation of “charter cities.” According to Opalo, “such cities would trigger internal migration, and not benefit the whole economy or fix the myriad problems African states are grappling with.” Opalo added that the best ways to spur growth in Africa are to “work through state institutions” and “invest in small and medium-sized businesses to create employment.”
In this New York Times piece, Charles King offered his perspective on a statistic that has been garnering attention lately—the projected year in which “white Americans are projected to fall below half the population and lose their majority status.” In the midst of a discussion on what exactly whiteness means and how it is measured, King is quoted as saying “race is about power, not biology,” offering an explanation for the lack of objectivity surrounding the term.
In an op-ed, she co-wrote for The Jamestown Foundation, Abigail Dawson, a Master’s student in the Asian Studies Program, discusses how news stories in China of questionable veracity are repeated in the foreign press. Misinformed stories on topics threatening to China’s opponents are often circulated abroad in translated forms with little attempts to fact check, creating a sense of peril. Conversely, the corrected and truthful stories on the same topics rarely receive similar attention. Dawson analyzes this phenomenon of “threat inflation” by looking at the recent spurious story on the “Red Flag River Project” that with government backing would divert water from the Himalayas to China’s drought-prone Northeast, threatening India’s water security.
In an interview with Fair Observer, Professor Matthew Kroenig argues that the Iran Nuclear Deal represents a break from established international non-proliferation principles. He suggests the Deal set a dangerous precedent; but that the onus for normalizing relations rests with Tehran. Trump, he says, was right to withdraw.