Engaging Practitioners: former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Sarah Sewall

On May 2, 2018, Dr. Sarah Sewall, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, was hosted by the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) as the last speaker in the Engaging Practitioners series this academic year. She spoke candidly with CSS fellows, Fletcher MALD students, and Tufts undergraduates about her career, successes and failures, and difficult choices she has made over the years. Sewall described a career without a predefined trajectory but instead guided by practical factors, including good luck and serendipity, and unexpected opportunities. Balancing career and family life is a particular challenge, she said, especially for women in the field.

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Thomas P. Cavanna’s Research and Policy Seminar Presentation

Thomas P. Cavanna, the Center for Strategic Studies’ visiting assistant professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, presented a new paper on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at a March 26 session of the Research and Policy Seminar series. Cavanna, in his seminar talk, argued for adopting a geopolitical and geoeconomic lens for analyzing the BRI, which reveals a long-term challenge to U.S. hegemony in all regions along the Eurasian rimland.

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Mark Sedra at the Center for Strategic Studies

By Sarah Detzner

On March 5, the Center for Strategic Studies hosted Dr. Mark Sedra for two events as part of our “Engaging Practitioners” and “Research and Policy Seminar” series. Sedra is the President and Research Director of the Canadian International Council and has held numerous leadership positions in the field of peacebuilding and the study of conflict-affected states. His work focuses on security sector reform (SSR) and his most recent book, Security Sector Reform in Conflict-Affected Countries: The Evolution of a Model, was published by Routledge in 2016.

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Rolling Back Iranian Influence Begins in Baghdad

by Karim Elkady

The United States does not have a strategy for containing Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the Middle East. During his last trip to Baghdad, on March 7, 2018, Iranian Vice-President Es’hagh Jahangiri promised the Iraqi government a USD 3 billion credit line from the Islamic Republic of Iran to help finance Iraq’s reconstruction efforts. He also expressed Iran’s desire to improve connectivity with Iraq through a 30-km railroad and a bridge to the Iranian highway system. Surprisingly, the United States did not offer Iraq any financial support at Iraq’s Donors Conference that took place in February in Kuwait. Other than a few pledges from the Gulf States, the international community offered only minimal financial support to the Iraqi government.

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Urban Warfare in the Turkey-PKK Conflict and Beyond

By Margarita Konaev and Burak Kadercan

From Mosul to Aleppo to Sana’a, a growing proportion of the world’s most violent conflicts are being fought in cities, and an overwhelming percentage of people killed in urban warfare are civilians. Unfortunately, trends in global urbanization and patterns of global armed conflict suggest that future wars will increasingly be fought in urban areas, at a tremendously high cost to the civilians living there. As such, military decision-makers and humanitarian agencies are increasingly interested in gaining a better understanding of the causes, conduct, and consequences of urban warfare.

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ALLIES Civil-Military Relations Conference: Intervention Panel

By Xiaohan (Shirley) Wang

On November 10-11, the Center for Strategic Studies co-sponsored the fourth annual Civil-Military Relations Conference, organized by ALLIES (The Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services), a Tufts University undergraduate student organization. The student organizers of the conference provided the following summary of the conference’s panel on military intervention.

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ALLIES Civil-Military Relations Conference: Arms Trade Panel

On November 10-11, the Center for Strategic Studies co-sponsored the fourth annual Civil-Military Relations Conference, organized by ALLIES (The Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services), a Tufts University undergraduate student organization. The student organizers of the conference provided the following summary of the conference’s panel on the arms trade.

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ALLIES Civil-Military Relations Conference Keynote

by Denise Looi

On November 10-11, the Center for Strategic Studies co-sponsored the fourth annual Civil-Military Relations Conference, organized by ALLIES (The Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services), a Tufts University undergraduate student organization. The student organizers of the conference provided the following summary of the keynote address.

This year’s keynote speaker was Douglas Farah, a senior associate with the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a senior visiting fellow at National Defense University’s Center for Complex Operations. He is an expert on transnational criminal organizations, insurgencies, ungoverned spaces, illicit money flows, and resource exploitation in Latin America, and has written extensively about the region.

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Prevention, Again

Xiaodon Liang

The distinction between preemptive and preventive war, left fuzzy after the last major debate before the Iraq War, is relevant again. The public discourse, however, has featured ambiguities in vocabulary that threaten to muddle our understanding of military options and their lawfulness.

A critical ambiguity arises from differences in how the terms “preemption” and “prevention” have been used in the separate but overlapping nonproliferation and public international law literatures. Adding to the confusion, there are also general strategic meanings to the two words that security studies analysts and scholars have used for generations.

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Engaging Practitioners: The CSS hosts Ambassador Laura Holgate

Rizwan Ladha

On November 15, the Center for Strategic Studies hosted Laura S.H. Holgate, the former U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to give a talk to students and CSS faculty and fellows at The Fletcher School on her experience in preventing global threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

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