News

World Politics Review: Why U.S. Strategy Must Adapt to Technological Change

Author: Eugene Gholz

The United States shapes, monitors and reacts to events around the world every day—developments that require minor, and sometimes major, military and foreign policy actions to implement the established U.S. strategy. But some developments call for more than just decisions to implement the current strategy. They require an adjustment to a new strategy. The current trajectory of military-technological change is one such development making a strategic adjustment necessary...…

The Diplomat: Sebastian Rosato on the US-China 'Collision Course'

Sebastian Rosato, an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science and Director of the Notre Dame International Security Program, famously theorized that the United States and China are on a collision course. He recently spoke with Zhang Juan of Dunjiao about the potential for a conflict between China and the United States and the future of the bilateral relationship...…

Notre Dame International Security Center begins significant expansion with new hires, paper series, and conference planning

The first pieces in the expansion of the Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC) are in place, as the once-small program builds toward its long-term goal as a thought leader in American grand strategy. Inspired by the inscription over an entrance to Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart—“God, Country, Notre Dame”—the center seeks to meaningfully engage with pressing international security issues facing the nation and world. It strives to play a catalytic role in matters of global policy through actionable research guided by the University’s Catholic character...…

“Getting Out of the Gulf: Oil and U.S. Military Strategy,” in Foreign Affairs

Author: Rose Kelanic

In January 1980,U.S. President Jimmy Carter used his State of the Union address to announce that in order to protect "the free movement of Middle East oil," the United States would repel "an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf." Carter and his successors made good on that pledge, ramping up U.S. military capabilities in the region and even fighting the Gulf War to prevent Saddam Hussein's Iraq from dominating the region's oil supplies. Although Washington has had a number of interests in the Persian Gulf over the years, including preventing nuclear proliferation, fighting terrorism, and spreading democracy, the main rationale for its involvement has always been to keep the oil flowing...…

Financial and energy security analysis of China’s loan-for-oil deals

Author: Eugene Gholz

As China’s dependence on imported oil has soared in recent years, Chinese concerns about energy security have naturally increased. The Chinese government has encouraged China’s National Oil Companies to expand their investments around the world. Some of the high profile cases of state support for these international deals have taken the form of “loan-for-oil” agreements in which Chinese state development banks lend billions of dollars to oil-producing countries at below-market interest rates in exchange for the producers’ agreements to sell oil to Chinese oil companies (at future market prices rather than at a fixed price). Some analysts consider the Chinese investments to be an energy security policy. Using standard financial analysis, we show that these agreements cannot reasonably be considered profitseeking investments by the Chinese. Separately, we also show that only a few of the projects connected to loan-for-oil deals could ameliorate China’s fear of future political-military supply interruptions, and even in those cases, China could achieve the same energy security benefit through simpler mechanisms. The loan-for-oil deals implicitly suggest that China does not expect future conflict that might block Chinese access to oil imports...…

The National Interest: Is America Being Crushed by the Weight of the World?

Author: Michael Desch

Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union we have been living in the era of American primacy. Primacy, of course, is just a euphemism for empire. The early 1990s ostensibly inaugurated a “new American Century,” with the United States bestriding the planet like a colossus. On both the left and right, policy elites fretted that absent American leadership the world would devolve into a Yeatsian “Second Coming” of anarchy, chaos, bloodshed and destruction...…

The National Interest: Interview with Michael Desch

Author: Sean McFadden

Was Sam Huntington proven right? Will Donald Trump's new directions in foreign-policy rhetoric help or hurt the cause of realism? How interventionist might a Hillary Clinton presidency's foreign policy be? The National Interest editor Jacob Heilbrunn speaks to Notre Dame international relations scholar Michael Desch on these and other topics in a Facebook Live interview.…

Foreign Policy: The Case Against Peace

Author: Stephen Walt

A striking trend in contemporary world politics is the apparent erosion of political unity in so many different places. In the Middle East, we’ve seen the upheavals of the Arab Spring and the continuing bloodbaths in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. In Europe, support for the European Union continues to drop, Great Britain may vote to leave it, and Scotland might still decide to exit the United Kingdom. Here in the United States, we have a level of bitter partisanship not seen for many decades, the two main political parties are themselves deeply divided, and the presumptive GOP presidential candidate is a rank amateur (in several senses of that term). To say “the center cannot hold” seems like an understatement these days...…

ABC's WJLA: Michael Desch on Response to Clinton's Foreign Policy Speech

Author: Amanda Ota

Speaking to supporters in California Thursday, Hillary Clinton argued why her presidency would mean a safer future for America. "As a candidate for president, there's nothing I take more seriously than National security," Clinton told supporters gathered in San Diego. Clinton told the crowd that Trump is unable to fulfill the responsibilities of the presidency, describing his foreign policies as "a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies."…

“The Petroleum Paradox: Oil, Coercive Vulnerability, and Great Power Behavior,” in Security Studies

Author: Rose Kelanic

Mention the “oil weapon” and the 1973 Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) embargo often leaps to mind, complete with its iconic images of long lines at American gasoline stations. Yet, international oil coercion, a strategy that aims to change an opponent’s political behavior by threatening its access to petroleum, rarely resembles the OAPEC oil crisis, and its use long predates 1973...…

Inaugural Emerging Scholars Conference

Author: Sean McFadden

The Notre Dame International Security Center is very excited to share our successful inaugural Emerging Scholars in Grand Strategy Conference. Hosted by Sebastian Rosato, the first conference showcased the work of outstanding early career scholars working on grand strategy, broadly defined. Conference Details…

US News: America First, or Trump?

Author: Michael Desch

The camel is an animal famously said to have been built by a committee. The same could be said of Donald Trump's much-anticipated foreign policy speech for the Center for the National Interest, one of the few remaining bastions of foreign policy prudence inside the Beltway after the last quarter century of bipartisan global hyperactivism...…