On May 12, President Donald Trump will have to make a decision regarding the United States’ commitment to the Iran Deal. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have made the decision just a bit easier for the President.

In a Steve Jobs-style performance (almost like unveiling the latest iPhone) directed right at President Trump, Netanyahu reported – in English – that Israel had taken documents from Iran that reveal Iran’s true nuclear ambitions. My initial thought was, “Damn, the Mossad is good.” This would be like if the CIA went into the Kremlin and got their hands on confidential files.

In the political debate swirling around the deal, many have used the content of these documents – allegedly containing information around designing, building, and testing nuclear weapons – as a reason to pull out altogether. However, as I told the team at Morning Joe, I think they prove the opposite – that a deal is necessary to curb such ambitions.

Pivoting halfway across the globe, we need to keep China’s growing desire for regional hegemony within our line of sight. While all attention is focused slightly to the east on the Korean Peninsula, China continues its campaign to control the South China Sea and expand its operations further into the West Pacific, as well as hoping for a footprint in the Indian Ocean. If we don’t want the South China Sea to become a Chinese lake, we need to remain engaged in the region. I discussed this and more on Bloomberg radio, which you can listen to here.

One way to stay engaged is to have highly-skilled diplomats in the region. That’s why I was happy to see that fellow Admiral Harry Harris will likely be the President’s pick for U.S. Ambassador to South Korea. As I told The Washington Post, not only is Harry an operational genius, he simultaneously understands the diplomatic piece. Everything about him tells us that he’ll be able to step outside his military role and into that of a diplomat.

With everything happening abroad, it can be easy to lose sight of domestic issues, including the constant turmoil in the White House. This week, Chief of Staff John Kelly was in the news regarding his ability to maintain control of the President. I know Gen. Kelly personally, and he has spent a lifetime bringing order out of chaos, but like I told Morning Joe, I think that this White House might just be too chaotic for anyone to control.

All of these topics, in one way or another, relate to international security, which you can’t fully understand without taking gender into account and the many ways it influences behavior, access, and opportunity.

I know this from firsthand experience. When I was a young navy commander serving as captain of my first warship, the U.S. Navy chose my ship as its first to welcome female crew members. In the middle of my mission, 15 percent of my crew left and were replaced by women. My ship became a bit of a control experiment, but it turns out we were better with women. We achieved more, we had better attitudes, and we were better at combat operations.

We know this here at Fletcher, and therefore we’ve paid attention to the role gender plays not only in all aspects of IR, but in our community.  In a piece for Pacific Standard Magazine, the School was lauded for recognizing this gap and trying to bridge it.

Spearheaded by Professor Dyan Mazurana, and so ably assisted by Fletcher students, faculty, and administrators, I’m proud of where we’ve come as a school. A few years before I set foot on campus, Dyan was teaching Fletcher’s only gender and security class. Back in 2005, it attracted about 20 people per semester. Today, we have between 70 and 100 students per semester – it’s one of our most popular classes. Where the School had one course on gender in 2005, we now offer 12, and we’ve created the equivalent of a major at the graduate student level: gender analysis and international studies. To top it off, our student body is split right down the middle: half women, half men.

There’s still much work to do in this area, but I’m proud of how far we’ve come as a community.

As always, thank you for reading.

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