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NDISC's Michael Desch Named to Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on U.S.-China Relations

Notre Dame International Security Center Director Michael Desch has been named to a New York Council on Foreign Relations study group on “The U.S. Pivot to Asia and American Grand Strategy.” He will join other top experts from the public and private sectors to discuss the conceptual origins of the pivot; the pivot and U.S. vital national interests; its effects over the last decade on Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; its impact on U.S. defense policy, intelligence assets, and economic statecraft; and the proper distribution of U.S. national security resources in the period ahead.  …

What Comes Next? A Lesson from Saigon

Author: Desch, Michael

An iconic photograph from the waning days of the Vietnam war now seems likely to be recreated in Kabul. In it, an Air America helicopter lands on the roof of a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency building across town from the U.S. Embassy. A CIA officer guides a long line of Vietnamese up a ladder and into the chopper, their last hope of escape from...

Does Social Science Inform Foreign Policy? Evidence from a Survey of US National Security, Trade, and Development Officials

Scholars continue to debate the relationship of academic international relations to policy. One of the most straightforward ways to discern whether policymakers find IR scholarship relevant to their work is to ask them. We analyzed an elite survey of US policy practitioners to better understand the conditions under which practitioners use academic knowledge in their work. We surveyed officials across three different policy areas: international development, national security, and trade. We also employed multiple survey experiments in an effort to causally identify the impact of academic consensus on the views of policy officials and to estimate the relative utility of different kinds of research outputs. We found that...

The Real Source of America’s Rising Rage

Author: Drum, Kevin

Americans sure are angry these days. Everyone says so, so it must be true. But who or what are we angry at? Pandemic stresses aside, I’d bet you’re not especially angry at your family. Or your friends. Or your priest or your plumber or your postal carrier. Or even your boss. Unless, of course, the conversation turns to politics. That’s when we start shouting at each other. We are way, way angrier about politics than we used to be, something confirmed by both common experience and formal research. When did this all start? Here are a few...

The defense innovation machine: Why the U.S. will remain on the cutting edge

American security policy discussions commonly warn that the United States is falling behind technologically, especially vis-à-vis China. However, the U.S. military remains at the cutting edge because of its well-developed defense innovation system. No nation (or combination) comes close to U.S. investment in defense R&D. Unmatched political concerns about...

Symposium: Time to bring all U.S. troops home from the Middle East

Is the United States truly ready to get its military forces out of the Middle East? Should it? Considering there are upwards of 60,000 troops in the region today, many of them stationed on bases in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, this is a question ripe for debate. In a new paper for the Quincy Institute, University of Notre Dame scholar Eugene Gholz argues in detail that the fundamental reasons for American military involvement there — security, oil, human rights — no longer apply, and that staying there only...  

Intentions in Great Power Politics: Uncertainty and the Roots of Conflict

Why the future of great power politics is likely to resemble its dismal past Can great powers be confident that their peers have benign intentions? States that trust each other can live at peace; those that mistrust each other are doomed to compete for arms and allies and may even go to war. Sebastian Rosato explains that states routinely lack the kind of information they need to be convinced that their rivals mean them no harm. Even in cases that supposedly involved mutual trust—Germany and Russia in the Bismarck era; Britain and the United States during the great rapprochement; France and Germany, and Japan and the United States in the early interwar period; and the Soviet Union and United States at the end of the Cold War—the protagonists mistrusted each other and struggled for advantage. Rosato argues that the ramifications of his argument for U.S.–China relations are profound: the future of great power politics is likely to resemble its dismal past.…

Oral History Transcript

James Webb, former U.S. Senator from Virginia, has been a combat Marine, a counsel in the Congress, an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a filmmaker, a professor of literature, a resident fellow at two of America’s most prestigious universities, and is the author of 10 books. Webb graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, one of 18 midshipmen to receive...

What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley

Author: Arab News

It is normally assumed that international security regimes such as the UN can reduce the risk of war by increasing transparency among adversarial nations.  The more adversaries understand each other’s intentions and capabilities, the thinking goes, the less likely they are to be led to war by miscalculations and unwarranted fears. But how is transparency provided, how does it actually work, and how effective is it in preserving or restoring peace?  In Promoting Peace with Information, Dan Lindley provides...

Fact Check: Claims that VP Kamala Harris Refused to Salute the Military are Missing Context

The claim: Kamala Harris refused to salute members of the military while boarding Air Force Two -   Shortly after a video emerged of Vice President Kamala Harris not saluting troops while boarding Air Force Two on March 19 in Georgia, some users took to social media to claim that she had disrespected the military and violated protocol.  Experts weigh in - Michael Desch, a professor of political science and the director of the Notre Dame International Security Center, told USA TODAY that until President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, "it was not common for the president, or other Cabinet officials, but especially the president, to return hand salutes."  Desch noted that Reagan's successors ...

The Status of Status in World Politics

What is status? How does it work? What effects does it tend to have? A new wave of scholarship on status in international relations has converged on a central definition of status, several causal pathways, and the claim that the pursuit of status tends to produce conflict. The authors take stock of the status literature and argue that this convergence is not only a sign of progress, but also...

Could China's Belt and Road Lead to Its Undoing?

Author: Joseph Parent

At the National People’s Congress last week, China announced its grand strategy to win in a post-pandemic world. While much of the media’s attention focuses on anti-democratic measures against Hong Kong, the more momentous steps may be China’s attempts to increase connectivity abroad and cultural homogeneity at home. Both are likely to backfire...

Policy School Deans Want It All: Results of a Survey of APSIA Deans and Top-50 Political Science Department Chairs on Hiring and Promotion

How do intellectual leaders of professional schools of international affairs, whose institutions primarily educate and train master's students for careers in government, the non-governmental sector, and the private sector, differ from academic administrators in disciplinary departments, whose primary raison d’être is producing the next generation of scholars whose primary task is to conduct basic research, in terms of how they see the academic enterprise and their expectations of faculty research and writing? The results...  

The Week: The enduring allure of conspiracies

Author: Miller, Greg

The United States of America was founded on a conspiracy theory. In the lead-up to the War of Independence, revolutionaries argued that a tax on tea or stamps is not just a tax, but the opening gambit in a sinister plot of oppression. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were convinced — based on "a long train of abuses and usurpations" — that the king of Great Britain was conspiring to establish "an absolute Tyranny" over the colonies.

The Wall Street Journal: An American Belt and Road Initiative?

Author: Webb, Jim

President Biden last week announced a Pentagon task force to review military policy toward China, commenting that America will “meet the China challenge” and “win the competition of the future.” From its makeup it’s clear the review will look for ways to move U.S. policy toward a greater emphasis on diplomatic solutions. But in defining America's future national strategy, the new administration should take this process a step further. China’s long-term strategy stretches beyond the issues of trade policy, great power rivalry, nuclear proliferation and military expansion. Largely unexamined...

What is QAnon, the baseless conspiracy spilling into US politics?

Author: Anieka Johnson

In mid August, Marjorie Taylor Greene won the primary election in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, which is likely to vote red in November. Two weeks later, she was invited to attend President Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention. Jo Rae Perkins of Oregon and Lauren Boebert of Colorado also won Republican primary elections this summer. What do these candidates have in common? They are among several aspiring lawmakers who have promoted QAnon.

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...