Faculty Story

On Iran and anti-extremism, Trump strikes different note from his predecessors

May 22, 2017  |  PBS Newshour

Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin talked to the PBS Newshour about whether President Trump is making a shift in foreign policy after his trip to Saudi Arabia and the tone of the language he used there.

"He’s gone all in, in terms of standing with them [Sunni Arabs] and with the Israelis against Iran. I think that brings with it some challenges.

I think it’s also noteworthy that he pushed the Saudis and others to do more against terrorism themselves, but it was quite interesting that the way that he described terrorism, it was really kind of flat. It was in very good vs. evil terms, but no larger discussion of what the drivers of terrorism are, no discussion about bad governance, about economic stagnation, about any repression.

And, as a result, it leaves the impression that this is going to be purely about military law enforcement, and not anything else, which is really at odds with the policy we had, which was that you can’t shoot your way out of this."

Facts are Facts: Marching for Science

April 24, 2017

On Saturday, April 22, Dickey Center Associate Director for Programs and Research Melody Brown Burkins, PhD, spoke to a crowd of thousands at the New Hampshire statehouse in Concord about the connection between facts and government policy. 

“We’re standing up not only for science but good government,” said Burkins, speaking at the March for Science, a worldwide movement to demonstrate support for science and its importance to society. Burkins is also an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth. 

Burkins talked about growing up with a passion for science and her experience working in Washington, D.C., where she witnessed the importance of ensuring the best science was available to elected officials.

I saw first-hand how access and attention to independent scientific data could both inform and shape responsible policy.

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.

Racism Thwarts Global Public Health

April 16, 2017  |  The Valley News

By EmmaJean Holley, Valley New Staff Writer

Hanover — Global health leaders grappled with the irony of gathering at Dartmouth College to discuss the urgent situations faced by some of the poorest populations in the world.

How, attendees of the Leila and Melville Straus 1960 Family Symposium asked, could health care providers surmount barriers of privilege and racism by learning from the errors of a global health regime that went hand-in-hand with imperialism? The day-long event on Wednesday, titled “Global Health in an Era of De-Globalization,” offered no easy answers.

In fact, the roots of the global health movement are inextricably linked to imperialism itself, said Nils Daulaire, a distinguished visiting scholar in global health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and senior fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute who participated in one of the symposium’s panel discussions.

Ross Virginia Reflects on His 27-Year Antarctic Research Project

April 20, 2017  |  Dartmouth News  |  Bill Platt

Just back from his final trip to Antarctica as an investigator for the Long Term Ecological Research Program, Professor Ross Virginia breaks off a conversation and strides across his office to pull out a hundred-year-old volume of Robert Falcon Scott’s The Voyage of the Discovery.

“This is his first expedition. It’s just a treasure,” says Virginia, the Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science.

“I’m just amazed and fascinated by all of this,” he says as he thumbs through the collected journals of the British explorer who, in 1912, was the second man to reach the South Pole (achieving the feat just 34 days behind Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen).

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. 

The Creeping, Quiet Gaslighting of the EPA

March 9, 2017  |  Wired

In a Wired magazine article about attempts by the Trump Administration to lessen the effectivenss of the Environmental Protection Agency, Melody Brown Burkins (A&S '98, PhD), Associate Director for Research and Programs at the Dickey Center, questions the purpose of legislation introduced by Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and climate skeptic.

“[The act] is effectively saying that the practice of peer review, the gold standard of how science moves to policymakers, is secretive and can’t be trusted.”

Dr. Burkins is an adjunct professor of environmental studies and science policy at Dartmouth and chair of the US National Committee for the Geological Sciences, and a member of the National Academies' Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO).

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

Next of Kin: Seeing Extinction Through the Artist's Lens

May 2, 2017 |  Dartmouth Press Release  

Exhibition by Christina Seely with the Canary Project at the Harvard Museum of Natural History Through July 16, 2017.

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.

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