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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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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Party Like It’s 1939?

By Monica Duffy Toft

It is difficult to remember that our present circumstances, however we characterize them, are influenced by our past circumstances, or our remembrance of them. So, it is with the looming double crises that now face the United States and, by extension, humanity: a physical threat to U.S. lives, and an economic crisis rivaling that of the 1930s.

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The hyper-nationalist politics of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Monica Duffy Toft

The emergence and intensification of the COVID-19 pandemic has created conditions which, falling as they do into a world of advanced industrial states already turning to hyper-nationalism, the political far-right, or outright authoritarianism — including but not limited to Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Russia — make major interstate war more likely.

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Long-Term Gains Far Outweigh Short-Term Costs from Withdrawing the U.S. Military from the Middle East

Like his predecessors, the president has found himself walking back this important strategic objective. Why? Because he seems to believe the best option for the United States in the Middle East comes down to pain and loss no matter which policy we choose: military withdrawal or continued forward deployment.

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DIPLOMACY BY FORCE. U.S. special forces are taking the place of ambassadors. That’s a problem. Monica Toft in Tufts Magazine

A STRONG LEGACY OF U.S. LEADERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT IN GLOBAL POLITICS has been reduced today to what I call kinetic diplomacy—diplomacy by armed force.

As of March 2018, the Trump administration had appointed only 70 of 188 U.S. ambassadors. Meanwhile, it increased the deployment of special operations forces to 149 countries, up from 138 in 2016 during the Obama administration (the use of military force also expanded under Obama). By October, after a concerted effort by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 127 ambassadors had been appointed. Still, ambassadors are operating in just two-thirds of the world’s capitals, while special operations forces are active in three-fourths of them.

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