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Daniel Benjamin

Retired President of the Supreme Court of Israel Talks About Social Justice

October 5, 2015

The Honorable Aharon Barak is the retired President of the Supreme Court of Israel. He has been described by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan as "the judge or justice in my lifetime whom, I think, best represents and has best advanced the values of democracy and human rights, of the rule of law and of justice.”

Justice Barak discussed “Human Dignity: A Constitutional Value and Constitutional Right" in a lecture on September 28, 2015, hosted by the Dickey Center for International Understanding. He spoke as the Rabbi Marshall Meyer Great Issues Lecture on Social Justice at Dartmouth.

Justice Barak discussed the origins of the notion of human dignity, tracing the concept through classical antiquity, the great world religions and philosophy as well as its incorporation into modern constitutional law. He will also address a range of contemporary issues involving human dignity and questions of law.

View a video of his talk.

Dartmouth a Lead on Fulbright Arctic Program

October 22, 2014  Dartmouth Now

Professor Ross Virginia, Director of the Dickey Center's Institute of Arctic Studies, was selected by the U.S. State Department as one of two distinguished scholar leaders of the newly established Fulbright Arctic Initiative. His work focuses on climate change and the effect of rapid warming on the polar regions.

Virginia, the Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science, and Professor Michael Sfraga, a geographer and vice chancellor for university and student advancement from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will take lead roles in the new Fulbright Arctic research program, which will fund interdisciplinary work for some 16 scholars from the eight countries that sit on the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum of the eight member states that border the Arctic Circle.

Just What Is Trump Trying to Do in Syria?

April 14, 2017  |  POLITICO MAGAZINE

Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin, writing in POLITICO Magazine with co-author Steven Simon, asks what foreign policy objective President Trump's limited raid on the Syrian air base on April 6, 2017, was meant to deliver. 

Let’s start with the the scale of the air raid itself. In the annals of pinprick strikes, Trump’s Tomahawk attack now stands as the pinprickiest. 

Read the entire article in POLITICO.

Why Steve Bannon Wants You to Believe in the Deep State

March 21, 2017  |  POLITICO Magazine

Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin writes in POLITICO Magazine online that the so-called Deep State does not exist. It is merely in the imagination of President Trump and his allies, "the convenient enemy from within that they blame for their frustrations."

As Trump takes a wrecking ball to the federal bureaucracy—what Steve Bannon has called “the administrative state”—an illusory enemy like the Deep State is exactly what is needed to justify the destruction. 

Read the article in POLITICO by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, who was National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa from 2011 to 2012, is the John J. McCloy ’16 visiting professor at Amherst College. 

Donald Trump Changed His Tone But Not His Message: Be Afraid

March 2, 2017  |  Time

Following President Trump's address to Congress on February 28, 2017, Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin writes in Time magazine that Trump "gave a ray of hope that even the most incorrigible might have their moments of presentability."

Through the Trumpian lens, you would have to count the speech a success of sorts. A spot poll by CNN after the speech found 70% of viewers said that it made them more optimistic about the direction of the country. TV commentators, desperate to find something to praise after months of exasperated head-shaking and slack-jawed incomprehension, were only too glad to retrieve forgotten adjectives and hail a “presidential” president.

Meanwhile, Benjamin says, Trump ignored issues that should have been addresse: Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and terrorism. 

Read more at Time

The Islamophobic Huckster in the White House

February 24, 2017  |  The New York Times

The following story, written by Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin and Stephen Simon, a professor at Amherst College, appeared in The New York Times on February 24, 2017.

The Islamophobic Huckster in the White House

The new point man for the Trump administration’s counter-jihadist team is Sebastian Gorka, an itinerant instructor in the doctrine of irregular warfare and former national security editor at Breitbart. Stephen K. Bannon and Stephen Miller, the chief commissars of the Trump White House, have framed Islam as an enemy ideology and predicted a historic clash of civilizations. Mr. Gorka, who has been appointed deputy assistant to the president, is the expert they have empowered to translate their prediction into national strategy.

Who Told Michael Flynn to Call Russia?

February 14, 2017  |  POLITICO

Writing in POLITICO online, Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin says, "Let’s stop focusing on the resignation, and start focusing on the real issue here: The mystery of Trump’s Russia ties."

Hours after national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned amid reports that he misled top officials about his pre-inauguration talks with the Russian ambassador, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to encourage everyone to move on. “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” he tweeted out Tuesday morning.

In a sense, Trump is right: The real story is not Flynn. But it isn’t government leaks, either. No, the “real story here” is Trump himself—and the continuing mystery of his ties to Russia.

Read the entire article in POLITICO

Trump Is Spreading Racism — Not Fighting Terrorism

February 3, 2017  |  Time

Writing in Time magazine, Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin enumerates the basic precepts of counterterrorism, and identifies ways the Trump White House has not followed them. 

In composing and implementing its executive order “Protecting the Nation From Terrorist Entry into the United States,” Donald Trump’s White House has shown a disregard for — or ignorance of — these precepts that is breathtaking.... To put it bluntly: Trump’s Executive Order has nothing to do with counterterrorism.

Read the entire article

The Disastrous Consequences of Trump’s New Immigration Rules

January 27, 2017  |  POLITICO

"With the stroke of a pen, the president has seriously jeopardized America’s safety and standing," writes Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin in POLITICO, referring to the order calling for a temporary ban on visas for individuals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia; a 120-day suspension of the resettlemetn of all refugees; and a ban on resettlement of Syrian refugees. 

With his executive action suspending the admission of refugees to the United States and temporarily halting the entry of citizens from a variety of Muslim countries, President Donald Trump made a quick down payment on a key campaign promise. He also set the U.S. on a disastrous course—one that threatens to weaken our national security and diminish American global leadership.

Read the entire article

Russia Is a Terrible Ally Against Terrorism

January 23, 2017  |  The New York Times

Since early in his campaign, President Trump has made counterterrorism cooperation a pillar of his argument for improving relations with Russia. On the face of it, that idea might seem attractive: two of the world’s largest militaries and intelligence communities working together against the Islamic State and other jihadist networks to achieve progress that neither could alone.

But it’s a bad idea. A partnership with Russia of the kind Mr. Trump proposes has the potential to profoundly undermine the United States’ counterterrorism progress and shred our relationships with Sunni Muslims around the world. Moreover, it’s doubtful such an alliance could actually be forged.

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