Americans living overseas could tilt the 2020 election – if only they voted

By Monica Duffy Toft

Just under 5 million U.S. citizens live abroad, serving in the military and embassies or just living in another country. As a political scientist who studies demographics and politics, I have observed how different voting blocs, even small ones, can affect the outcome of elections. Three million people is more than enough people to decide a presidential or congressional race with narrow margins.

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CSS Research and Policy Seminar with Stephen Moncrief

The CSS team met virtually as part of the Research and Policy Seminar series to discuss a stand-alone article by Post-doctoral Fellow Stephen Moncrief, based on his dissertation research completed at Yale University. The article, “Statebuilding in Haiti,” discusses the evolving nature of UN missions from peacekeeping operations to statebuilding projects.

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Germany, U.S. Hegemony, and Huawei’s Waning European 5G Infrastructure Prospects

By Thomas Cavanna

In late September, Germany’s leaders reached an agreement in principle on a new bill that will severely restrict access to the country’s 5G network infrastructure market. Although forthcoming legislation is unlikely to take the form of a ban, the Chinese company Huawei is expected to see its prospects dramatically curtailed by new technical verification requirements, a political evaluation of suppliers’ “trustworthiness,” and the involvement of national cybersecurity and intelligence services in the decision-making process. The news is a severe blow to Beijing and a major victory for the United States.

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CSS Research and Policy Seminar with Zoltan Feher

Zoltan Feher, a PhD candidate at The Fletcher School, presented his paper, “From Tiananmen to the World Trade Organization: Why Did the United States Help China’s Rise in the Early Post-Cold War Period?” at a September 29 session of the CSS Research and Policy Seminar series. In the paper, Feher asks the question: Why did the United States get China policy wrong in the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton presidencies, and what does International Relations theory say about it? The United States invested precious time and money aiding China’s rise, and yet it created a competitor instead of a friend.

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Engaging the Middle East Still Necessary in the Post-Pax Americana

By Karim Elkady

As the Trump–Biden competition heats up in the final stretch of the 2020 presidential race, both contenders emphasize policies that seek full or partial disengagement from the Middle East. While the current administration has recently secured a diplomatic breakthrough with the signing of the Abraham Accords among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, this achievement could be understood as part of an emerging trend of decreasing American security commitments toward the region.

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THE CENTRAL AMERICAN CONUNDRUM: TOWARD A NEW REGIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOMIC ORDER

By Aroop Mukharji

For over a hundred years, the United States has struggled to find a policy toward Central America that improves its economic prosperity and security. The region’s challenges today are many: weak and failed states, drug and human trafficking cartels, and an exploding migration and humanitarian crisis. Why has U.S. foreign policy toward Central America failed, and failed badly?

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Ending Our Military-First Foreign Policy

By Monica Duffy Toft

Beyond our two big overseas commitments—Iraq and Afghanistan—military operations have by and large been increasingly opaque. Much has been done with drones and special operations forces. Along with this, U.S. diplomatic efforts and resources have dramatically receded into the background. We need to face the fact that the United States has become a hyper-interventionist and unilateral power. More bluntly, it has become a bully in the international arena.

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Reliable Allies, Brutal Violence Behind Russian Success in Syria

By Nils Hagerdal

Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian civil war qualifies as a stunning foreign policy success for President Vladimir Putin. Why was the Russian intervention in Syria so successful when the U.S. effort in Afghanistan is gradually being wound down after almost 20 years without achieving its objectives? Four factors stand out: compared to the United States in Afghanistan, the Russian intervention in Syria had a reliable local ally, a clear mission, relatively high-quality allied ground forces, and a willingness to use remarkably brutal levels of violence to secure its desired outcome.

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Starvation as Siege Tactics: Urban Warfare in Syria

by Nils Hagerdal

Famine is on the rise across conflict zones worldwide. Yet in Syria – unlike other contemporary wars – the phenomenon is concentrated in urban areas, and intensified significantly after 2015. To explain these outcomes I delve into the nature of urban warfare. Urban combat operations favor the defender, and many military organizations resort to siege warfare to conquer urban territory; starvation remains a powerful siege tactic.

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Karim Elkady for Oxford Research Encyclopedias: US-Egypt Relations

Since the 1830s, Egyptian regimes sought US government support to assist Egypt in gaining its independence and enable it to act freely in the region. Since 1974, the Egyptian–US strategic partnership emerged, especially after the Camp David Accords, to protect the region from the Soviet Union, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and then to contain the rise of terrorism.

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