ISIS Is an Unproven Threat to the US

August 12, 2014, Dartmouth Now

In a story about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Jake Tapper ’91, host of CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, turns to Dartmouth’s Daniel Benjamin for comment about the threat posed by the militant group.

Benjamin, the Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of Dartmouth’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department, tells Tapper that ISIS poses “an unproven threat” to the U.S. “It’s a big concern, but at the moment, there is no proven record of out-of-area activities, no demonstrated ability to carry out attacks, and if I had to say who the next attack was going to be carried out by, it wouldn’t be ISIS.”

Associate Professor of Government
Coordinator, War and Peace Studies Program, Dickey Center for International Understanding

BENJAMIN VALENTINO is an Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. His research interests include the causes and consequences of violent conflict and American foreign and security policies. At Dartmouth he teaches courses on international relations, international security, American foreign policy, the causes and prevention of genocide and serves as co-director the Government Department Honors Program. He is also the faculty coordinator for the War and Peace Studies Program at Dartmouth's Dickey Center for International Understanding. Professor Valentino's book, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century, received the Edgar S. Furniss Book Award for making an exceptional contribution to the study of national and international security. His work has appeared in outlets such as The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The American Political Science Review, Security Studies, International Organization, Public Opinion Quarterly, World Politics and The Journal of Politics. He is currently working on several research projects focusing on public opinion on the use of force, civilian and military casualties in interstate wars and developing early warning models of large-scale violence against civilians.

Curriculum Vitae Personal Website
Silsby 208
The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
B.A. Stanford University
Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Selected Publications

Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004).

“Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran: American Attitudes about Nuclear Weapons and Non-Combatant Immunity,” International Security, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Summer 2017), pp. 41–79. With Scott Sagan.

“Why We Kill: The Political Science of Political Violence against Civilians,” Annual Review of Political Science, (Spring 2014)

“Atomic Aversion: Experimental Evidence on Taboos, Traditions, and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons.” With Scott Sagan and Daryl Press. American Political Science Review, vol. 107, no. 1 (Winter 2013).

“The True Costs of Humanitarian Intervention: The Hard Truth Behind a Noble Notion.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 90, no. 6 (November/December 2011), pp. 60-73.

Selected Works and Activities

The Early Warning Project: A collaborative project with the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum designed to produce risk assessments of the potential for mass atrocities around the world by combining state-of-the-art quantitative and qualitative analysis. The project aims to give governments, advocacy groups, and at-risk societies earlier and more reliable warning, and thus more opportunity to take action, before such killings occur.



  • Government 5: International Relations

  • Government 50: War and Peace in the Modern Age

  • Government 53: International Security

  • Government 85.16: The Causes and Prevention of Mass Killing and Genocide

  • Government 98-99: Senior Honors Thesis Seminar


Program Manager, Human Development Initiative, Dickey Center
Program Manager, War & Peace Studies Program, Dickey Center
Lecturer, Department of Anthropology
Lecturer, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) Program

As the Program Manager of the Human Development and the War & Peace Studies Programs at the Dickey Center, Dr. Bauer mentors students and facilitates campus events with invited speakers and Dartmouth scholars. Bauer is also a faculty advisor to the Dickey Center-sponsored student organizations Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering and the International Development Forum.

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As lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and the AMES program, I teach courses on environment and development issues, with a regional focus on Asia and thematic interests in state-society relations, biodiversity conservation, and climate change. Among my research interests are nomad settlement in Tibetan areas of China and economic development in the Himalayas. Ken has more than 20 years of experience as a development consultant for a variety of organizations including UNDP, Asian Development Bank, USAID, TetraTech, and Winrock International. Ken holds a BA from Brown University, an MSc from University of California-Berkeley, and a DPhil degree from the University of Oxford.

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Curriculum Vitae Personal Website
358 Haldeman Center
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Institute for Writing and Rhetoric
The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
B.A. Brown University
M.S. University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. University of Oxford

Selected Publications

2015. “New homes, new lives: The impacts of resettlement on Tibetan nomads in Qinghai Province, PRC.” Nomadic Peoples 19(2): 209-220.

2014. “High Frontiers: Dolpo Revisited.” Tibet Journal 39(1): 157-181.

2013. “Are preventive and coping measures enough to avoid loss and damage from flooding in Udayapur District, Nepal?” International Journal of Global Warming 5(4): 433-451.

2012. Salick, Jan, Anja Byg, Kenneth Bauer. “Contemporary Tibetan Cosmology of Climate Change.” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 6(4):447-­476.

2011. Bauer, Kenneth, Geoff Childs, Sienna Craig, Andrew Fischer, eds. Development Transitions: Land, Labor and Social Policy in Tibet. Kathmandu: Himal Books.

2011. Bauer Kenneth, Yonten Nyima. “Laws and Regulations Impacting the Enclosure Movement on the Tibetan Plateau of China.” Himalaya 30(1-2):23­-37

2011. Bauer, Kenneth, Geoff Childs, Andrew Fischer. “Development in Tibet: Land, Labor and Social Policy in Context of Rapid Transition. ” Himalaya 30(1-­2):1­-7.

2011. “Training Women for Success: An Evaluation of Entrepreneurship Training Programs in Vermont, USA. ” Journal of Entrepreneurship Education 14: 1-24.

2010. Bauer, Kenneth, Antoni Magri. “The Herder's Environment: A GIS Case Study of Resource Use Patterns Among Pastoralists in Central Tibet.” Journal of Land Use Science 28 July, pp.1-12.

2010. Wang, Qingbin, Kenneth Bauer, Kathleen Liang. “Toward multidisciplinary entrepreneurship education.” International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development 2(1/2): 84-95.

2009. “On the Politics and the Possibilities of Participatory Mapping and GIS: Using Spatial Technologies to Study Common Property and Land Use Change Among Pastoralists in Central Tibet.” Cultural Geographies 16: 229-252.

2008. Bauer, Kenneth, Geoff Childs. “Demographics, Development, and the Environment in Tibetan Areas.” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies 4:1-8.

2006. “Common Property and Power: Insights from Spatial Analysis of Historical and Contemporary Pasture Boundaries among Pastoralists in Central Tibet.” Journal of Political Ecology 13: 24-47.

2005. "Pastoral Development and the Enclosure Movement in the Tibet Autonomous Region since the 1980s.” Nomadic Peoples 9: 85-115.

2004. High Frontiers: Dolpo and the Changing World of Himalayan Pastoralists. Columbia University Press.

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Postdoctoral Fellowship

Fellowships are available for recent doctoral graduates and established scholars to spend 9-12 months in residence at Dartmouth on research and scholarly writing on issues related to Arctic Studies. The current fellows program is offered in conjunction with a Dickey Center fellowship in International Security and US Foreign Policy, which is a collaboration with the Dean of Faculty office at Dartmouth. 

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Each term the program examines a specific theme through expert presentations, simulations, small group lunch and dinner discussions, special lectures and tours, and more. Scholars also learn about various academic and career paths. The 2017-18 Great Issues Scholars will be selected from the Global Village Living Learning Community as well as independent applications from first year students.

Board of Visitors

Anne Bagamery '78 is Senior Editor of the International New York Times, based in Paris.

Iraq's Problem Is Power Politics, Not 'Ancient Hatreds' (WSJ)

Dartmouth Now

The strife in Iraq is more a result of modern power politics rather than ancient religious hatreds, according the Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin, writing in the Wall Street Journal.
"There is indeed plenty of bad blood between Sunnis and Shiites. But today's sectarian rifts in Iraq and the wider region are the result of calculated efforts over many years by modern states—above all, Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Both countries have long jostled for regional dominance, and despite their bitter harvest, neither seems particularly willing to change," writes Benjamin.

He reviews the long history of relative commity between Sunnis and Shites, which was broken with the ascent of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,  the US invasion of Iraq, and the region's recent desent into regional sectarianism. America cannot abandon the Middle East, says Benjamin, "But don't get your hopes up."

Iraq crisis: Is it time for al-Maliki to step down? (CNN)

June 18, 2014

As the situation in Iraq deteriorates many are asking whether it's time for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step aside for a change in leadership. Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin and the Woodrow Wilson Center's Robin Wright participated in a discussion on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper to discuss what lies ahead for Iraq and Prime Minister Maliki. Listen to their discussion online. 


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