Research Library

Lehner, Eliza A. 2011. Conceiving the Impact: Connecting Population Growth and Environmental Sustainability.Abstract
This thesis seeks to analyze what would have to change in American discussions of global environmental sustainability for population growth to assume its rightful place in the discussion. The amount of carbon that people consume times the number of consumers determines the total carbon emissions and thus environmental impact, yet most environmentalists avoid any mention of population growth. I examine the common sources of opposition—religious, feminist, capitalist, ethical, and even environmental—to understand what specific element of population stabilization each group reacts against and whether there are ways to address those concerns while still discussing population growth in environmental terms. To do this, I conducted informational interviews with people in the population and/or environment movement, observed a population organization and did archival research there, and read population-ethics theory. I suggest that sustainability discussions can include population growth, within certain important bounds, and in doing so, create the space for more effective policy.
Lin, Stephany Yu-Zhu. 2011. Making Place for Belonging: Migration and Public Space among Turkish Women in Copenhagen.
This thesis asks how uses of city space among a minority demonstrate engagement and identification with the city overall. Research focused on ethnographic interviews with second-generation Turkish women in Copenhagen, about their use of the city throughout different stages of their lives. This was supplemented by participation observation across Copenhagen’s public spaces and interviews with urban planners and leaders of various women’s centers. I find that the second-generation Turkish women demonstrate multiple uses and understandings of city spaces based on their multiple, fluid identities, so that through a particular identity a physical space becomes a meaningful place. Because people are situated and related through space, space and place play an important role in an individual’s identification with and against others. I define space as composed of the built and physical environment across all scales. Place, on the other hand, is space made especially meaningful, interpreted by individuals based on their histories, use, and perceptions of the space. Place is thus a product of a particular identity and its respective ways of being in the city. Different contexts and spaces become the platform for enacting different identities. The result is to conceive of space as dynamically constructed into different places as different identities play out across the city. I demonstrate this first by describing how Turkish immigrants claim and appropriate urban space in Copenhagen, recreating their cultural uses of space within the context of Copenhagen. I continue by contextualizing these Turkish practices within the diverse repertoire of identities of second-generation Turkish women and their accompanying diverse understandings of place. Ultimately, allowing for an open, fluid sense of identities and place creates a more inclusive framework for belonging in a multicultural, transnational city. Download PDF
Thorlakson, Tannis R. 2011. Reducing Subsistence Farmers’ Vulnerability to Climate Change: The Potential Contributions of Agroforestry in Western Kenya.Abstract
Climate change is predicted to have huge impacts on rural farmers in developing countries, as small-scale farmers are particularly vulnerable to climatic stresses and shocks. Agroforestry, or the use of trees in the cropping system to improve farm productivity, has been put forth as a potential strategy to improve farmers’ ability to adapt to future climate changes. Through a case study in western Kenya, I examine agroforestry’s role in helping subsistence farmers adapt to climate change through both qualitative and quantitative analyses. My results show that farmers are unable to cope with current climatic shocks in a sustainable way. By examining household responses to the most recent floods and droughts I find that often households are forced to engage in erosive coping strategies that threaten their farm’s long-term productivity. Farmers and the general literature agree that the most effective way to cope with future climate variation and shocks will be to improve general livelihoods through increasing farm productivity and enhancing non-farm incomes. My statistical analyses support my qualitative observations that agroforestry techniques can improve farm productivity and household wealth. From these results I conclude that agroforestry practices have the potential to help farmers adapt to climate change through improving general household wellbeing in rural western Kenya. My findings also stress the importance of location-specific evaluations of effective development strategies and the need for enhanced community participation in development practices.
Gopinath, Gita. 2011. Chasing Prices. Harvard Gazette. Website
Ferguson, Niall. 2011. Murder on the EU Express. Newsweek. Website
Nye, Joseph S., Jr. 2011. Viewpoint: China's Hubris Colours U.S. Relations. WebsiteAbstract
When Barack Obama became US president, one of his top foreign policy priorities was to improve relations with China. Yet on the eve of President Hu Jintao's state visit to Washington, US-China relations are worse, rather than better. Administration officials feel their efforts to reach out to China have been rebuffed. Ironically, in 2007, President Hu Jintao had told the 17th Congress of the Communist Party that China needed to invest more in its soft, or attractive, power. From the point of view of a country that was making enormous strides in economic and military power, this was a smart strategy.By accompanying the rise of its hard economic and military power with efforts to make itself more attractive, China aimed to reduce the fear and tendencies to balance Chinese power that might otherwise grow among its neighbours. But China's performance has been just the opposite, and China has had a bad year and a half in foreign policy.Rising nationalismFor years, China had followed the advice of Deng Xiaoping to keep a low profile.However, with its successful economic recovery from the recession, China passed Japan as the world's second largest economy, and America's slow recovery led many Chinese to mistakenly conclude that the United States was in decline.Given such beliefs, and with rising nationalism in China as it prepares for the transition of power to the fifth generation of leaders in 2012, many in China pressed for a more assertive foreign policy.In 2009, China was justly proud of its success in managing to emerge from the world recession with a high 10% rate of economic growth. But many Chinese believed that this represented a shift in the world balance of power, and that China should be less deferential to other countries, including the US. Chinese scholars began writing about the decline of the US. One dated the year 2000 as the peak of American power. "People are now looking down on the West, from leadership circles, to academia, to everyday folks," said Professor Kang Xiaoguang of Renmin University. This Chinese view is seriously mistaken and China is unlikely to equal American economic, military or soft power for decades to come. Nonetheless, this over-confidence in power assessment (combined with insecurity in domestic affairs) led to more assertive Chinese foreign policy behaviour in the last two years.China miscalculated by deviating from the smart strategy of a rising power and violating the wisdom of Deng Xiaoping who advised that China should proceed cautiously and "skilfully keep a low profile".But perceptions matter, even when they are wrong. China's new attitudes alienated the Obama administration. China stage-managed President Obama's trip to Beijing in November 2009 in a heavy-handed way; it over-reacted to Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, and the administration's long-expected and relatively modest arms sales to Taiwan.When asked why they reacted so strongly to things they had accepted in the past, some Chinese responded, "because we were weaker then". Obama administration officials began to believe that efforts at co-operation or conciliation would be interpreted by the Chinese as proof that the US was in decline.Alienation and irritationChina's new assertiveness affected its relations with other countries as well. Its policies in the South China Sea created fear among the Asean nations; and its over-reaction to Japan's actions after a ship collision near the Senkaku Islands put an end to the Democratic Party of Japan's hopes for a closer relationship with China. Instead, the Kan administration reaffirmed the American alliance.Beijing alienated South Korea by failing to criticise North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island; irritated India over border and passport issues; and embarrassed itself in Europe and elsewhere by over-reacting to the Nobel Peace Prize granted to the jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo. How will these issues play out in the coming year? It is likely that China's leaders will draw back somewhat from the overly assertive posture that has proven so costly. President Hu Jintao's stated desire to co-operate on terrorism, non-proliferation and clean energy will help to lead to a reduction of tensions, but powerful domestic interest groups in the export industries and in the People's Liberation Army will limit economic or naval co-operation.And most important, given the nationalism that one sees on the blogosphere in China, it will be difficult for Chinese top leaders to change their policies too dramatically. Mr Hu's state visit will help improve matters, but the relationship will remain difficult as long as the Chinese suffer from hubris based on a mistaken belief in American decline.
Liviatan, Ofrit. 2011. Faith in the Law: The Role of Legal Arrangements in Religion-Based Conflicts Involving Minorities. Boston College International & Comparative Law Review. WebsiteAbstract
This Article examines the conflict-management role conferred upon the law within Western liberal democracies in the context of cultural tensions involving religious minorities. The Article finds that a threatened hegemonic Christian identity and secular illiberal sentiments disguised in liberal narratives often motivated legislative and judicial actions curtailing the freedom of religious minorities in leading liberal democracies. Based on these findings, this Article challenges the shortcomings of existing liberal scholarship to account for the potential bias presented in the liberal preference to facilitate cultural conflicts through legal means. Yet, the Article suggests that law’s limitations as a neutral vehicle in conflict resolution does not necessarily counteract its ability to manage conflicts. The continued attractiveness of law as the principal conflict-resolution device in liberal democracies springs from its political nature, namely the recognition that shifts in political power could translate into legal change.
Nye, Joseph S., Jr. 2011. Wielding 'Smart Power' in World Affairs. WebsiteAbstract
In his new book The Future of Power, Joseph S. Nye Jr. analyses the changing nature of power in the 21st century as upheavals man-made and environmental alter the global terrain and as both state and non-state entities jostle for dominance. Nye is a proponent of “smart power,” a term he coined in 2004 to describe the strategic combination of coercion and persuasion.Nye, a former assistant secretary of defense, is a professor and former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. His other books include Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics and The Powers to Lead. He spoke from his home in Boston.Q. Has the term “smart power” been corrupted over time?A. The term has been picked up by the Obama administration and used by Hillary Clinton to describe US foreign policy. But it is the older term “soft power” that is more often corrupted when it’s mistakenly used to describe anything that is not military power. More correctly, it refers to the ability to get what you want through attraction and persuasion. The Chinese president, for example, declared in 2007 that China needed to increase its soft power, and they have invested billions of dollars to that end.Q. Are you saying that smart power is soft power backed up by hard power?A. I think of smart power as the ability to combine hard and soft power. There may be situations in which you don’t want any hard power, and there may be others where soft power is not effective; stopping North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, for example.Q. Does it require an underlying belief in American dominance?A. Soft power and smart power are both available to any size country, not just the US or China. But the US, when it lives up to its values, probably has more soft power than a small country and certainly has more hard power. Our leadership resides in our ability to create the right combinations in the right circumstances.Q. You use the term “values.’’ But don’t you characterize smart power as morally neutral?A. Well, smart power is neutral in the sense that it can be used by bad states as well as good states. But it does depend in part on values which are more often the sources of soft power. Ironically, Osama bin Laden had soft power when he inspired people to fly into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They did so because they believed in bin Laden’s values. In that sense values matter. They can, however, be used as instruments by bad as well as good people.Q. Do you have a moral position that you edited out of this book?A. I try to write as an analyst when I argue that there is something to be said for soft power as a more ethical means. For example, even if I have bad ends and want to steal your money, I can use hard power — shoot you and take your money — or soft power — persuade you that I’m a guru and that you should give me your money. In the first case you don’t have anything to say about it, in the second case you do. If one believes in the value of individual autonomy and choice, as I do, soft power allows more of that individual autonomy even if the overall action is a bad one.Q. Your strategy has been called the friendly face of American imperialism. How do you respond to that?A. That criticism is often made by people who don’t understand the theory. Other countries besides the US can use soft power therefore it’s not an apology for the US or an instrument of American imperialism. In this book I try to describe the role of military, economic and soft power in an information age and to persuade people that we need to think in a more sophisticated way about what power means whether it be American, Chinese, or otherwise.Q. With all that you’ve seen, do you find it hard to write a phrase such as “winning hearts and minds” without irony?A. There is a risk of trivializing ideas. “Winning hearts and minds” has been around since the Vietnam War. On the other hand, when one tries to understand General Petraeus’s counterinsurgency doctrine (and whether he’ll succeed or not we don’t know) it is interesting to note that what he is trying to do is save civilian lives. The idea is not to kill as many people as possible but to win the minds of those who form the sea in which the insurgents swim. The insight is an important one and has a long standing in history.Q. Do you see the uprising in Tunisia and now in Egypt as a test case of US commitment to smart power?A. Smart power in this current case will require US foreign policy to align with the aspirations of people seeking democracy while at the same time not creating chaos in the region which would undercut our support for Israel and our efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Smart power would aim to accomplish both a human rights democracy agenda as well as a more traditional agenda.Q. Do you see that happening?A. I’m always hopeful. 
Masoud, Tarek. 2011. An Exit Plan for Mubarak. WebsiteAbstract
Hosni Mubarak’s promise this week to initiate constitutional reform in Egypt and then step down at the end of his presidential term in September did little to mollify the anger of the demonstrators protesting his rule. Many protesters seemed to agree with the assessment of the opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei that it was “a trick” intended to buy time. With the regime-sponsored ugliness now engulfing Tahrir Square, demands for Mr. Mubarak’s immediate resignation have grown only more urgent, and the risk of a violent conclusion appears to have grown. But there may still be a chance to effect the “orderly transition” that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called for. Paradoxically, it requires that Mr. Mubarak stay on, but only for a short time, to initiate the election of an entirely new Parliament that could then amend all the power out of the presidency or even abolish it. This would no doubt disappoint those who want to put Mr. Mubarak on the next plane to Saudi Arabia, but there are two risks associated with his leaving so abruptly. The first is that the demonstrations might diminish or dissipate, leaving Mr. ElBaradei and his coalition trying to negotiate with the military or Vice President Omar Suleiman without the force of the crowds behind them. The second risk stems from the Egyptian Constitution, which gives the power to dissolve Parliament and call new elections only to an elected president. Mr. Mubarak’s successor, as an acting president, would be specifically prohibited from getting the parliamentary elections under way. A new Parliament is crucial to democratic reform, because only Parliament has the power to defang the Egyptian presidency, stripping it of its dictatorial powers through constitutional amendment. The current Parliament — bought and paid for by Mr. Mubarak’s National Democratic Party — is not fit for that task. Egypt’s next scheduled presidential election is only months away. If the Constitution isn’t amended before it is held, the notorious Article 76, which makes it difficult for independents like Mr. ElBaradei to get on the ballot, will still be in place. More important, the new president would have the same imperial powers Mr. Mubarak has had — the very powers that the Egyptian public wants taken away. The constitutionally sanctioned timeline would be this: Mr. Mubarak dissolves Parliament, forcing a new election within 60 days (international observers would be required to make sure the election is fair). Once the new Parliament is seated, Mr. Mubarak resigns, and an acting president, probably the new Parliament’s speaker, takes charge until a new president is elected. The new Parliament would work around the clock to amend the Constitution in ways that would put Mr. Suleiman or any would-be strongman out of a job. The final step is a national referendum on the amendments. For American policymakers, the most frightening possibility is that the Muslim Brotherhood would sweep the parliamentary elections and institute a constitution based on Islamic holy law. This is unlikely. The political momentum in Egypt is not with the Islamists. Moreover, the Brotherhood’s members have never sought to compete for a majority of seats in Parliament, and during the current protests have impressed people across the Egyptian political spectrum with their self-effacement. Brotherhood adherents know that a victory for them could be used by the military as an excuse to short-circuit the birth of democracy in Egypt. A likelier outcome is that the Islamists would join a coalition slate of candidates, becoming part of an ideologically diverse Parliament. The greater danger now is that Mr. Mubarak would corrupt the electoral process by unleashing the same thugs who are now attacking the peaceful protesters of Tahrir Square. One might wonder why, at this moment of change and tumult, anyone would talk about amending a constitution that everyone recognizes as a deformed confection of a corrupt regime. But by working with even a flawed constitution, the opposition would be helping to entrench and deepen a constitutionalist principle that has been steadily eroded. And with its built-in deadlines, the constitutional route also makes it harder for the military to draw out the transition and consolidate its hold. For any of this to happen, Mr. Mubarak must remain briefly in office, and he must agree to the changes as an answer to his people’s legitimate cry for democracy. The demand that can make him comply must come from President Obama. It has often been said in recent days that the United States can do nothing to affect the progress of democracy in Egypt, but the military’s dependence on American money and matériel suggests that this is untrue. The more the United States can make clear that continued military support depends on how the Egyptian Army conducts itself during this transition, the more likely the military is to play midwife to democracy. Much could go wrong, but finding an orderly way to get not just Mr. Mubarak but also the armed forces out of political life should be a more important priority than ensuring that Islamists don’t hijack the revolution. All that is required of us is to remind ourselves that democracy in Egypt, or any other part of the world, is not something we should fear.
Lewis, Mary D. 2011. History in the Making. WebsiteAbstract
The seeds of Mary Lewis’ fascination with France were planted early. Her father spent a few years there as a young man, working in the offices of the Marshall Plan, so she grew up hearing a steady stream of stories about that country. “I had never been out of North America,” said the newly tenured professor of history, “but when my father would talk about France’s history, it sparked an interest that is still with me.”The geopolitically tense Reagan administration years were her political coming-of-age, and the native Californian went to college wanting to understand the Cold War, studying international relations when she attended the University of California, Davis.  She spent her junior year abroad in France, becoming increasingly interested in the diversity of its society.The final seed that would eventually bear Lewis’ intellectual fruit was planted during a political science class she took upon her return from studying abroad. It was November 1989, the month the Berlin Wall fell.“We were discussing the theory of mutually assured destruction,” she said. “A young man raised his hand and asked the professor, ‘Can we talk about Berlin?’ The professor was completely thrown. The real world was confronting his theoretical model, and he didn’t know what to do.”Lewis remembers the professor dismissing the question by telling the student to read The New York Times. That, she said, was the moment she knew she wanted to study history.“At that point, history had suddenly caught up to political science,” she said. “I realized you really needed history to understand politics.”After graduating from the University of California, Davis, and before beginning a Ph.D. program in history at New York University, Lewis spent two years working for the U.S. Department of Education in its Office for Civil Rights, an experience she said greatly affected how she studies and thinks about history today.“I learned a lot about bureaucracy and the layers of bureaucracy,” she said. “If I wrote a letter, it would go through six different levels of editing and end up with someone else’s signature on it.”“I got a sense of how policy and decisions are layered. It helped me become the kind of historian that I am today.”Lewis’ improbable interest in bureaucracy informed her first book, “The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France, 1918-1940” (Stanford University Press, 2007), recently translated into French as “Les Frontières de la République” (Éditions Agone, 2010). The book demonstrates how local actions — far removed from Parisian edicts — redefined the boundaries between French citizens and outsiders in the early decades of the 20th century. By focusing on the limits of legislation in a pluralistic society, the book challenges the common vision of France as a highly centralized nation.“We tend to think of France as a centralized country with uniform rights decreed in Paris,” Lewis said. “But the actions of immigrants themselves in the provinces, by forcing officials to recognize that they were going to stay in the country, instigated an expansion of those rights. In a sense, today’s diverse French society is a product of that history.”Today, Lewis’ studies are intersecting anew with current events: She is working on a book about Tunisia, using the case of the little-studied French protectorate there to study how imperial rivalry affected French colonial governance from the 1880s to the 1930s. Pent-up public unrest in the North African country exploded and brought down its government last month.“Having researched my forthcoming book there, I was surprised that the protests would lead so suddenly to a change in regime,” she said of Tunisia’s overthrow of its president. “It’s a police state.  People have conditioned themselves to be very guarded in conversation when speaking about politics because they know they’re being watched, so the fact that they would have the nerve to protest as they did is remarkable.”Lewis is also planning a new research project on intercolonial movement by studying colonial passports.“We think of these societies as being hermetically sealed, because we tend to study them from an imperialist point of view, but in fact people were on the move, and we can see challenges to imperial control based on these varied movements.”One of Lewis’ favorite parts of working at Harvard is interacting with students.“They make you think,” she said. “Even if you’ve taught a class before, you’ll get something new out of it because of the student participation. This is positive feedback on a whole other level.”
Ferguson, Niall. 2011. Sale of the Century. WebsiteAbstract
In my favorite spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, there is a memorable scene that sums up the world economy today. Blondie (Clint Eastwood) and Tuco (Eli Wallach) have finally found the cemetery where they know the gold is buried. Trouble is, they’re in a vast Civil War graveyard, and they don’t know where to find the loot. Eastwood looks at his gun, looks at Wallach, and utters the immortal line: “In this world, there are two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns … and those who dig.” In the post-crisis economic order, there are likewise two kinds of economies. Those with vast accumulations of assets, including sovereign wealth funds (currently in excess of $4 trillion) and hard-currency reserves ($5.5 trillion for emerging markets alone), are the ones with loaded guns. The economies with huge public debts, by contrast, are the ones that have to dig. The question is, just how will they dig their way out?... The U.S. needs to do exactly what it would if it were a severely indebted company: sell off assets to balance its books. There are three different arguments against such asset sales. The first concerns national security. When Dubai Ports World bought the shipping company P&O in 2006—which would have given it control of facilities in a number of U.S. ports—the deal was killed in Congress in a fit of post-9/11 paranoia. The second argument is usually made by unions: private or foreign owners will be tougher on American workers than good old Uncle Sam. Finally, there’s the chauvinism that surfaced back in the 1980s when the Japanese were snapping up properties like Pebble Beach. How could the United States let its national treasures—the family silver—fall into the hands of inscrutable Asian rivals? Such arguments were never very strong. Now, in the midst of the biggest crisis of American public finance since the Civil War, they simply collapse....
Ferguson, Niall. 2011. Wanted: A Grand Strategy for America. WebsiteAbstract
“The statesman can only wait and listen until he hears the footsteps of God resounding through events; then he must jump up and grasp the hem of His coat, that is all.” Thus Otto von Bismarck, the great Prussian statesman who united Germany and thereby reshaped Europe’s balance of power nearly a century and a half ago.Last week, for the second time in his presidency, Barack Obama heard those footsteps, jumped up to grasp a historic opportunity … and missed it completely.In Bismarck’s case it was not so much God’s coattails he caught as the revolutionary wave of mid-19th-century German nationalism. And he did more than catch it; he managed to surf it in a direction of his own choosing. The wave Obama just missed—again—is the revolutionary wave of Middle Eastern democracy. It has surged through the region twice since he was elected: once in Iran in the summer of 2009, the second time right across North Africa, from Tunisia all the way down the Red Sea to Yemen. But the swell has been biggest in Egypt, the Middle East’s most populous country.In each case, the president faced stark alternatives. He could try to catch the wave, Bismarck style, by lending his support to the youthful revolutionaries and trying to ride it in a direction advantageous to American interests. Or he could do nothing and let the forces of reaction prevail. In the case of Iran, he did nothing, and the thugs of the Islamic Republic ruthlessly crushed the demonstrations. This time around, in Egypt, it was worse. He did both—some days exhorting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave, other days drawing back and recommending an “orderly transition.”The result has been a foreign-policy debacle. The president has alienated everybody: not only Mubarak’s cronies in the military, but also the youthful crowds in the streets of Cairo. Whoever ultimately wins, Obama loses. And the alienation doesn’t end there. America’s two closest friends in the region—Israel and Saudi Arabia—are both disgusted. The Saudis, who dread all manifestations of revolution, are appalled at Washington’s failure to resolutely prop up Mubarak. The Israelis, meanwhile, are dismayed by the administration’s apparent cluelessness.Last week, while other commentators ran around Cairo’s Tahrir Square, hyperventilating about what they saw as an Arab 1989, I flew to Tel Aviv for the annual Herzliya security conference. The consensus among the assembled experts on the Middle East? A colossal failure of American foreign policy.This failure was not the result of bad luck. It was the predictable consequence of the Obama administration’s lack of any kind of coherent grand strategy, a deficit about which more than a few veterans of U.S. foreign policy making have long worried. The president himself is not wholly to blame. Although cosmopolitan by both birth and upbringing, Obama was an unusually parochial politician prior to his election, judging by his scant public pronouncements on foreign-policy issues.Yet no president can be expected to be omniscient. That is what advisers are for. The real responsibility for the current strategic vacuum lies not with Obama himself, but with the National Security Council, and in particular with the man who ran it until last October: retired Gen. James L. Jones. I suspected at the time of his appointment that General Jones was a poor choice. A big, bluff Marine, he once astonished me by recommending that Turkish troops might lend the United States support in Iraq. He seemed mildly surprised when I suggested the Iraqis might resent such a reminder of centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule.The best national-security advisers have combined deep knowledge of international relations with an ability to play the Machiavellian Beltway game, which means competing for the president’s ear against the other would-be players in the policymaking process: not only the defense secretary but also the secretary of state and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. No one has ever done this better than Henry Kissinger. But the crucial thing about Kissinger as national-security adviser was not the speed with which he learned the dark arts of interdepartmental turf warfare. It was the skill with which he, in partnership with Richard Nixon, forged a grand strategy for the United States at a time of alarming geopolitical instability.The essence of that strategy was, first, to prioritize (for example, détente with the Soviets before human-rights issues within the U.S.S.R.) and then to exert pressure by deliberately linking key issues. In their hardest task—salvaging peace with honor in Indochina by preserving the independence of South Vietnam—Nixon and Kissinger ultimately could not succeed. But in the Middle East they were able to eject the Soviets from a position of influence and turn Egypt from a threat into a malleable ally. And their overtures to China exploited the divisions within the Communist bloc, helping to set Beijing on an epoch-making new course of economic openness.The contrast between the foreign policy of the Nixon-Ford years and that of President Jimmy Carter is a stark reminder of how easily foreign policy can founder when there is a failure of strategic thinking. The Iranian Revolution of 1979, which took the Carter administration wholly by surprise, was a catastrophe far greater than the loss of South Vietnam.Remind you of anything? “This is what happens when you get caught by surprise,” an anonymous American official told The New York Times last week. “We’ve had endless strategy sessions for the past two years on Mideast peace, on containing Iran. And how many of them factored in the possibility that Egypt moves from stability to turmoil? None.”I can think of no more damning indictment of the administration’s strategic thinking than this: it never once considered a scenario in which Mubarak faced a popular revolt. Yet the very essence of rigorous strategic thinking is to devise such a scenario and to think through the best responses to them, preferably two or three moves ahead of actual or potential adversaries. It is only by doing these things—ranking priorities and gaming scenarios—that a coherent foreign policy can be made. The Israelis have been hard at work doing this. All the president and his NSC team seem to have done is to draft touchy-feely speeches like the one he delivered in Cairo early in his presidency.These were his words back in June 2009:America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles—principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.Those lines will come back to haunt Obama if, as cannot be ruled out, the ultimate beneficiary of his bungling in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood, which remains by far the best organized opposition force in the country—and wholly committed to the restoration of the caliphate and the strict application of Sharia. Would such an outcome advance “tolerance and the dignity of all human beings” in Egypt? Somehow, I don’t think so.Grand strategy is all about the necessity of choice. Today, it means choosing between a daunting list of objectives: to resist the spread of radical Islam, to limit Iran’s ambition to become dominant in the Middle East, to contain the rise of China as an economic rival, to guard against a Russian “reconquista” of Eastern Europe—and so on. The defining characteristic of Obama’s foreign policy has been not just a failure to prioritize, but also a failure to recognize the need to do so. A succession of speeches saying, in essence, “I am not George W. Bush” is no substitute for a strategy.Bismarck knew how to choose. He understood that riding the nationalist wave would enable Prussia to become the dominant force in Germany, but that thereafter the No. 1 objective must be to keep France and Russia from uniting against his new Reich. When asked for his opinion about colonizing Africa, Bismarck famously replied: “My map of Africa lies in Europe. Here lies Russia and here lies France, and we are in the middle. That is my map of Africa.”Tragically, no one knows where Barack Obama’s map of the Middle East is. At best, it is in the heartland states of America, where the fate of his presidency will be decided next year, just as Jimmy Carter’s was back in 1980.At worst, he has no map at all.  
Feldman, Noah. 2011. Sometimes, Justice Can Play Politics. WebsiteAbstract
What is it about those robes? They are only flimsy bits of wools, enlivened in a few cases by some very European lace at the collar. Yet the moment our Supreme Court justices put them on, a segment of the concerned public imagines that they have become priests consecrated to the sacred order of the Constitution. Recently, Justice Antonin Scalia has been criticized for meeting with a group of (gulp) conservative members of Congress and accused of participating in an event organized by the conservative billionaire Charles Koch. Justice Clarence Thomas has been excoriated because his wife, Virginia, last year took a leading role in organizing Liberty Central, a Tea Party offshoot that received anonymous, First Amendment-protected donations (she has since stepped down). He also belatedly amended 13 years’ worth of disclosure reports to include details of his wife’s employment. Justices are required to disclose their income sources and those of their spouses. But the core of the criticisms against Justices Thomas and Scalia has nothing to do with judicial ethics. The attack is driven by the imagined ideal of the cloistered monk-justice, innocent of worldly vanities, free of political connections and guided only by the gem-like flame of inward conscience. It was not ever thus. John Marshall, undoubtedly the greatest chief justice ever, spent his first month on the court as the secretary of state of the United States. That’s right, the chief justice and the secretary of state were the same person — an arrangement permitted by the Constitution, which only prohibits members of Congress from holding other offices. Marshall’s most famous decision — Marbury v. Madison, which established the principle of judicial review — arose from Marshall’s own failure as secretary of state to deliver the obscure William Marbury his commission as justice of the peace in the waning hours of the Adams administration. No one cared. The political activities of the justices increased over time. Charles Evans Hughes, who would later become another great chief justice, resigned from his first stint as associate justice on June 10, 1916, to run for the presidency on the Republican ticket. Although this represented a separation from his judicial role, the Republican convention had begun at the Chicago Coliseum on June 7; Hughes did not resign until the nomination was in the bag. In 1948, Americans for Democratic Action tried to draft Justice William O. Douglas as a Democratic presidential candidate. In their political literature, they used excerpts from his Supreme Court opinions, which (his colleagues noted privately) sounded suspiciously like stump speeches. (In the end, he decided against a run.) Equally important, in the pre-monastic age, justices often took on politically charged government responsibilities when the world needed them. Their experiences in public service not only helped the country, but informed their subsequent jurisprudence. Justice Robert Jackson, a valued player in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s regular poker game (and a hero to many court observers today), took a year away from the court to serve as the chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, a presidential appointment. Later, when the Supreme Court had to decide whether German detainees convicted by United States war crimes tribunals were entitled to habeas corpus rights, Jackson did not recuse himself. Instead, he wrote the opinion in Johnson v. Eisentrager, the case that formed the precedent for the extension of habeas rights to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay. Justice Owen Roberts was chosen by Roosevelt to head the commission investigating the attack on Pearl Harbor. What he learned made him one of only three justices to defy Roosevelt and dissent from the court’s shameful decision to uphold the wartime internment of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans who had been convicted of no crime at all. The 1970s saw the beginning of a retreat by the justices from public engagement with national affairs. Some of this was defensive. In 1969, Justice Abe Fortas, one of Lyndon Johnson’s closest advisers on Vietnam even while on the court, had to resign after revelations that he had been on retainer to a financier under investigation for securities violations. The next year, Gerald Ford, then the House minority leader, sought unsuccessfully to impeach Douglas for taking money from a nonprofit foundation. Yet, probably the greater reason for the justices’ growing circumspection by the early 1970s was that the Supreme Court was taking its most active role ever in running the nation’s affairs: when the court ruled against Richard Nixon in the Watergate tapes case, it effectively forced a president from office. Empowered to break a president (making one had to wait until Bush v. Gore in 2000), the justices sought to deflect attention from the obvious fact that they were political. The disengagement from public life that followed has had real costs. Isolated justices make isolated decisions. It is difficult to imagine justices who drank regularly with presidents deciding that a lawsuit against a sitting executive could go forward while he was in office, or imagining that the suit would not take up much of the president’s time. Yet that is precisely what the court did by a 9-to-0 vote in the 1997 case of Clinton v. Jones. The court’s mistaken practical judgment opened the door to President Bill Clinton’s testimony about Monica Lewinsky and the resulting impeachment that preoccupied the government for more than two years as Osama bin Laden laid his plans. Today, even the justices’ minimal extrajudicial activities come in for public condemnation — some of it suspiciously partisan. Does anyone seriously think Justice Thomas would become more constitutionally conservative (if that were somehow logically possible) as a result of his wife’s political activism? It is true that Justice Thomas voted to protect the anonymity of some corporate contributions in the Citizens United case. But this vote reflected his long-established principles in favor of corporate speech. The personal connection was nowhere near close enough to demand recusal, any more than a justice who values her privacy should be expected to recuse herself from a Fourth Amendment decision. After all, Martin Ginsburg, a model of ethical rectitude until his death last year, was for many years a partner in an important corporate law firm. But surely no one believes that his career made his wife, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, more positively inclined toward corporate interests on the court than she would already be as a member in good standing of America’s class of legal elites. Justice Antonin Scalia, for his part, naturally spends time with like-minded conservatives including Representative Michele Bachmann and Charles Koch. But when the brilliant, garrulous Justice Scalia hobnobs with fellow archconservatives, he is not being influenced any more than is the brilliant, garrulous Justice Stephen Breyer when he consorts with his numerous friends and former colleagues in the liberal bastion of Cambridge, Mass. A FEW years ago, many insisted that Justice Scalia should not sit in judgment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s claims to enjoy executive privilege, noting that the two had been on the same duck-hunting trip. Justice Scalia memorably explained that the two men had never shared the same blind. He could as easily have pointed out that before President Harry Truman nationalized the steel mills, he asked Chief Justice Fred Vinson, a poker buddy and close friend, if the court would find the action constitutional. (Vinson incorrectly said yes.) The upshot is that the justices’ few and meager contacts with the real world do little harm and perhaps occasionally some good. Justice Anthony Kennedy makes an annual trip to Salzburg, Austria, to discuss ideas with European and other global judges and intellectuals. This contact is often invoked to explain why Justice Kennedy occasionally cites foreign law (a taboo for Justice Scalia) and why his jurisprudence has been relatively liberal on such matters as gay rights and Guantánamo. It is absurd for conservatives to criticize the cosmopolitan forums where judges from around the world compare notes. And it is absurd for liberals to criticize the conservative justices for associating with people who share or reinforce their views. The justices are human — and the more we let them be human, the better job they will do. Let the unthinkable be said! If the medieval vestments are making people think the justices should be monks, then maybe, just maybe, we should to do away with those robes.  
The Future of Power
Nye, Joseph S., Jr. 2011. The Future of Power. PublicAffairs Books. WebsiteAbstract
In the era of Kennedy and Khrushchev, power was expressed in terms of nuclear missiles, industrial capacity, numbers of men under arms, and tanks lined up ready to cross the plains of Eastern Europe. By 2010, none of these factors confer power in the same way: industrial capacity seems an almost Victorian virtue, and cyber threats are wielded by non-state actors. Politics changed, and the nature of power—defined as the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes you want—had changed dramatically. Power is not static; its story is of shifts and innovations, technologies and relationships.Joseph Nye is a long-time analyst of power and a hands-on practitioner in government. Many of his ideas have been at the heart of recent debates over the role America should play in the world: his concept of "soft power" has been adopted by leaders from Britain to China; "smart power” has been adopted as the bumper-sticker for the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. This book is the summation of his work, as relevant to general readers as to foreign policy specialists. It is a vivid narrative that delves behind the elusive faces of power to discover its enduring nature in the cyber age.
Naples-Mitchell, Joanna. 2011. Perspectives of UN Special Rapporteurs on their Role: Inherent Tensions and Unique Contributions to Human Rights.Abstract
This article evaluates the role of United Nations special rapporteurs through a systematic study of the perspectives of mandate-holders. Qualitative interviews with current and former rapporteurs and their assistants reveal that three central tensions inherent in the rapporteur’s task give the rapporteur room for individual experimentation. First, the tension between UN affiliation and independent status allows the rapporteur to determine his/her orientation toward the UN. Secondly, the tension between competing obligations to treat sovereign states as partners and as adversaries forces the rapporteur to develop innovative strategies to address national sovereignty. Thirdly, the tension between the universal scope of thematic mandates and the impossibility of realising that scope enables the rapporteur to travel between specific contexts and international norms. The unparalleled autonomy afforded by the position enables rapporteurs to define rights in real time, responding to situations as they unfold rather than after the fact. For that reason, any reform of the special procedures system should preserve the role’s unique features. Rather than expend political will on ambitious structural changes, reform advocates should focus on increasing funding, resources, and pressure on states to cooperate.
Joanna Naples-Mitchell is a former Undergraduate Associate (2009-2010).Download PDF
Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World
Jasanoff, Maya. 2011. Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World. Knopf. WebsiteAbstract
At the end of the American Revolution, sixty thousand Americans loyal to the British cause fled the United States and became refugees throughout the British Empire. This groundbreaking book offers the first global history of the loyalist exodus to Canada, the Caribbean, Sierra Leone, India, and beyond. Following extraordinary journeys like the one of Elizabeth Johnston, a young mother from Georgia, who led her growing family to Britain, Jamaica, and Canada, questing for a home; black loyalists such as David George, who escaped from slavery in Virginia and went on to found Baptist congregations in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone; and Mohawk Indian leader Joseph Brant, who tried to find autonomy for his people in Ontario, Liberty’s Exiles challenges conventional understandings about the founding of the United States and the shaping of the postrevolutionary world. Based on original research on four continents, this book is at once an intimate narrative history and a provocative new analysis—a story about the past that helps us think about migration, tolerance, and liberty in the world today.
NAFTA and the Politics of Labor Transnationalism
Kay, Tamara. 2011. NAFTA and the Politics of Labor Transnationalism. Cambridge University Press. WebsiteAbstract
When NAFTA went into effect in 1994, many feared it would intensify animosity among North American unions, lead to the scapegoating of Mexican workers and immigrants, and eclipse any possibility for cross-border labor cooperation. But far from polarizing workers, NAFTA unexpectedly helped stimulate labor transnationalism among key North American unions and erode union policies and discourses rooted in racism. The emergence of labor transnationalism in North America presents compelling political and sociological puzzles: How did NAFTA, the concrete manifestation of globalization processes in North America, help deepen labor solidarity on the continent? In addition to making the provocative argument that global governance institutions can play a pivotal role in the development of transnational social movements, this book suggests that globalization need not undermine labor movements: collectively, unions can help shape how the rules governing the global economy are made.
Garip, Filiz. 2011. Discovering Diverse Mechanisms of Migration: The Mexico-U.S. Stream from 1970 to 2000.Abstract
Migrants to the United States are a diverse population. This diversity, captured in various migration theories, is overlooked in empirical applications that describe a typical narrative for an average migrant. Using the Mexican Migration Project data from about 17,000 first-time migrants between 1970 and 2000, this study employs cluster analysis to identify four types of migrants with distinct configurations of characteristics. Each migrant type corresponds to a specific theoretical account, and becomes prevalent in a specific period, depending on the economic, social and political conditions. Strikingly, each migrant type also becomes prevalent around the period in which its corresponding theory is developed.
Garip, Filiz. 2011. Repeat Migration and Cumulative Remittances as Mechanisms for Wealth Inequality in Mexico.Abstract
To evaluate the distributional impact of remittances in origin communities, prior research studied how migrants’ selectivity by wealth varies with migration prevalence in the community or prior migration experience of the individual. This study considers both patterns, and examines selectivity separately in low and high prevalence communities and for first-time and repeat migrants. Based on data from 18,042 household heads in 119 Mexican communities from the Mexican Migration Project, the analyses show that (i) first-time migrants in low prevalence communities come from poor households, while repeat migrants in high prevalence communities belong to wealthy households, and (ii) higher amounts of remittances reach wealthy households. These results suggest that repeat migration and remittances may be mechanisms for wealth accumulation in the study communities. Descriptive analyses associate these mechanisms with increasing wealth disparities between households with and without migrants, especially in high prevalence communities. The study, similar to prior findings, shows the importance of repeat migration trips, which, given sustained remittances, may amplify the wealth gap between migrants and non-migrants in migrant-sending communities. The study also qualifies prior findings by differentiating between low and high prevalence communities and observing a growing wealth gap only in the latter.
Davis, Diane. 2010. Irregular Armed Forces, Shifting Patterns of Commitment, and Fragmented Sovereignty in the Developing World. Theory and Society 39, no. 3: 397-413. DOIAbstract
Historically, the study of state formation has involved a focus on the urban and national conditions under which states monopolize the means of coercion, generate legitimacy, and marshal sufficient economic resources to wage war against enemies while sustaining citizen allegiance through the extension of social programs, new forms of national solidarity, and citizenship. In Charles Tilly’s large body of work, these themes loomed large, and they have re-emerged in slightly reformulated ways in an unfinished manuscript that reflected on the relationship between capital and coercion in which he also integrated the element of commitment - or networks of trust - into the study of state formation. This article develops these same ideas but in new directions, casting them in light of contemporary rather than historical developments. Taking as its point of departure the accelerating rates of criminal violence and citizen insecurity in cities of the developing world, this essay suggests that random and targeted violence increasingly perpetrated by “irregular” armed forces pose a direct challenge to state legitimacy and national sovereignty. Through examination of urban and transnational non-state armed actors who use violence to accumulate capital and secure economic dominion, and whose activities reveal alternative networks of commitment, power, authority, and even self-governance, this essay identifies contemporary parallels with the pre-modern period studied by Charles Tilly, arguing that current patterns challenge prevailing national-state forms of sovereignty. Drawing evidence primarily from Mexico and other middle income developing countries that face growing insecurity and armed violence, the article examines the new “spatialities” of irregular armed force, how they form the basis for alternative networks of coercion, allegiance, and reciprocity that challenge old forms and scales of sovereignty, and what this means for the power and legitimacy of the traditional nation-state.
Download Paper