Security

Talk Highlights Outcomes of Iranian Election

May 23, 2017  |  Valley News

An article in the Valley News highlighted Dartmouth Sociology Professor Misagh Parsa's views on the roots of a deep discord between the Iranian people and their Islamist government and pointed to possible outcomes.

Parsa, author of the book Democracy in Iran: Why It Failed and How It Might Succeed, talked only days after a major victory by Hassan Rouhani, a moderate reformer, in Iran's presidential election. 

She told the Valley News, "It’s highly unlikely for Iran to democratize through reform,” Parsa said, given that reformers have to work within the existing structures of power. “And so instead it’s likely that Iran will need to go through another revolutionary transformation.”

Professor Parsa's talk was co-sponsored by the Dickey Center and the Department of Sociology. 

Read the entire article by Rob Wolfe in the Valley News.

 

 

Studying Diplomacy Is Not Just Academic at the Dickey Center

May 23, 2017  |  Dartmouth News

by Bill Platt

Students taking the seminar "U.S. Policy in Africa and the Great Challenges Africa Faces in the Future” knew they would be studying various aspects of recent politics on the continent. What they quickly discovered was that the scholar guiding their studies had firsthand experience with a good part of modern African political history.

The 37-year foreign service career of Ambassador Johnnie Carson, the Allen Bildner Distinguished Fellow in International Affairs in residence at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, includes service as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of African Affairs, and ambassadorships or Foreign Service postings in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, and Nigeria. By the time he retired from government service in 2013, Carson had worked under a long line of secretaries of state, including Cyrus Vance, Madeleine Albright, and Hillary Clinton.

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."

Russia’s Game: From the End of the Cold War through the Election of 2016

May 3, 2017 | YouTube

Earlier this year, Ambassador Daniel Fried retired from the State Department after 40 years of service. Watch his talk at Dartmouth on May 3, 2017 about Russia's role in the world from the Cold War to the 2016 election. 

Ambassador Fried served in his most recent position as the State Department’s Coordinator for Sanctions Policy since January 28, 2013. Prior to that, Ambassador Fried was Special Envoy for Closure of the Guantanamo Detainee Facility starting on May 15, 2009, with the additional responsibility as the Secretary’s Special Advisor on Camp Ashraf (Iraq) from November, 2011. Daniel Fried served from May 5, 2005 until May 15, 2009 as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council from January, 2001 to May, 2005. He served as Ambassador to Poland from November, 1997 to May, 2000.

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. 

The Feud that Sank Saigon

March 3, 2017  |  The New York Times

In a New York Times op-ed, U.S. Foreign Policy and International Security Postdoctoral Fellow Sean Fear explains the showdown between two rival generals -- Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu -- that ended the hope of democratic stability in South Vietnam.

Both men were young and ambitious, and both were shrewd navigators of the internecine schemes and coups plaguing South Vietnam’s ruling military. And after years of jousting and coalition building, they were headed for a confrontation in South Vietnam’s 1967 presidential election. At stake was the political legitimacy of the South Vietnamese state itself, critical to turning the tide in the protracted struggle against the Communists.

Read the entire op-ed. 

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

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