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How do we escape these partisan death spirals? Devolve more power to the states | Opinion

Author: Joseph Parent

Are Americans doomed to an indefinite future of extreme partisan conflict? The Senate impeachment trial is off to a rancorous start, and it appears that the process will make the most polarizing president on record even more polarizing. Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential candidates debate a raft of polarizing proposals: Medicare for all, free college, universal basic income, adding seats to the Supreme Court, and a wealth tax on the super-rich. These moves and countermoves have produced what Representative Justin Amash calls a "partisan death spiral". How to pull out of this downward spiral? There are few good options.

ARTICLE | Trump threatens to "hit" Iranian cultural sites if they retaliate over Soleimani assassination

Author: Rozsa, Matthew

"The danger that we face is twofold," Michael Desch, a professor of political science at Notre Dame University who specializes in American foreign policy and American national security policy and directs the Notre Dame International Security Center, told Salon on Sunday. "One is that any response, particularly against non-military sites or sites where there's a high likelihood of collateral damage (particularly among civilians), could be self-defeating in the sense that a lot of the rest of the world would regard it as..

Article | Defensive Defense: A Better Way to Protect US Allies in Asia

Author: Eugene Gholz

US strategy in East Asia is defensive—seeking to maintain the territorial status quo and to preserve open trade and investment. The military component of that strategy largely involves helping allies defend their territories against China as the PRC grows richer and spends more on its military. But current US military operational plans in service of that strategy are largely offensive: in case of war, they would send US military assets close to China and launch conventional strikes against the Chinese homeland. This “offensive defense” is more expensive, more dangerous, and less effective than an alternative: “defensive defense.” 

ARTICLE | Trump Didn’t Shrink U.S. Military Commitments Abroad—He Expanded Them

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to extract the United States from costly foreign conflicts, bring U.S. troops home, and shrug off burdensome overseas commitments. “Great nations do not fight endless wars,” Trump declared in his 2019 State of the Union address. “We’re bringing our troops back home,” he boasted during a cabinet meeting in October. “I got elected on bringing our soldiers back home.” But after nearly three years in office, Trump’s promised retrenchment has yet to materialize. The president hasn’t... 

ARTICLE | Market structure and economic sanctions: the 2010 rare earth elements episode as a pathway case of market adjustment

Author: Eugene Gholz

Studies identify cost as a key factor determining the effectiveness of economic sanctions. We argue that failing to account for market dynamics in the sector in which sanctions are imposed undermines the validity of estimates of the economic costs imposed on target countries, and we propose that market structure powerfully conditions sanctions effectiveness. To examine the effect of market structure, we trace the causal path through...

New Book | Tempting Fate: Why Nonnuclear States Confront Nuclear Opponents

Author: Avey, Paul

Why would countries without nuclear weapons even think about fighting nuclear-armed opponents? A simple answer is that no one believes nuclear weapons will be used. But that answer fails to consider why nonnuclear state leaders would believe that in the first place. In this superb unpacking of the dynamics of conflict under conditions of nuclear monopoly, Paul C. Avey argues that the costs and benefits of using nuclear weapons create openings that weak nonnuclear actors can exploit.

Local international relations expert weighs in on air strikes in Syria

Author: Shannon Nolan

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Michael C. Desch, the Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations at the University of Notre Dame, was live in studio on Wednesday to weigh in on the political and defense aspects of the air strikes in Syria. Desch is the founding director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. On Tuesday, Desch released the following comments on President Trump’s decision to remove some of the U.S. forces from Syria.

Vaccine Hesitancy: From Misinformation to Conspiracy Theory

Author: Joe Pierre, M.D

The anti-vaxx movement is a product of mistrust and misinformation. I recently "sat down" over email with Julie Saetre to talk about my previous blog post,  "Antivaxxers and the Plague of Science Denial," and more about vaccine hesitancy and conspiracy theories for her article "A Dangerous Debate" that appeared in the September 2019 issue of Kiwanis Magazine. Here's the full transcript of our interview: It seems conspiracy theorists are thriving in the 21st century, with bizarre explanations for everything from 9/11 to the Sandy Hook shooting to “chem trails” and, now, vaccines. Are people today more susceptible to the... 

Here’s the dirty truth about China’s rare-earths threat

Author: Eugene Gholz

Hit by U.S. tariffs and the blacklisting of Chinese telecom supplier Huawei, Beijing recently found a way to send a threatening trade message: with a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to a rare-earths processing plant. An editorial in the official People’s Daily newspaper on the subject warned, “Don’t underestimate China’s ability to strike back.” The newspaper even used a phrase, translated as “don’t say we didn’t warn you,” previously employed just before border wars with India and Vietnam.

Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security

Author: Michael Desch

How professionalization and scholarly “rigor” made social scientists increasingly irrelevant to US national security policy To mobilize America’s intellectual resources to meet the security challenges of the post–9/11 world, US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates observed that “we must again embrace eggheads and ideas.” But the gap between national security policymakers and international relations scholars has become a chasm.…