International Security & Defense

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Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Does the U.S. Have the Wrong Middle East Strategy?

| Dec. 11, 2019

Events in the Middle East tend to have serious policy implications for the United States given the range of important U.S. economic, political, counterterrorism, and broader military interests in the region. Although there is a healthy debate to be had about where the Middle East might fit into a potential recalibration or rebalancing of U.S. global priorities, at this juncture I don’t believe it would be in U.S. interests to turn its back on the region’s crises and just hope for the best. 

A helicopter is seen monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico, December 23, 2018.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

Trumpman's Winning Wall

| Jan. 14, 2019

As so often, “South Park” saw it coming. In “The Last of the Meheecans”— which first aired back in October 2011 — the obnoxious Cartman joins the US Border Patrol, only to find himself facing the wrong way as hordes of disillusioned Mexican workers seek to flee the economically depressed United States back to Mexico.

Undaunted, Cartman makes it his business to stop them leaving. After all, without Mexican labor, the US economy would grind to a halt.

Very often the Trump presidency feels as if it’s being written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the comic geniuses who created “South Park” more than 20 years ago. In this week’s episode, Trump/Cartman shuts down the federal government in retaliation for the Democratic Party’s leaders’ refusal to approve the border wall he campaigned for in 2016.

The net result is that the government employees responsible for controlling the vastly larger flow of people into the United States through airports don’t get paid. Desperate to end the shutdown, for which he is being blamed, Trumpman declares a national emergency under legislation that permits redirection of Department of Defense construction funds, provided it’s for purpose of military defense.

Trumpman’s attempt to use Defense money to build his wall is challenged and struck down in the courts, but he goes ahead anyway, only to run into a shortage of construction workers. The episode ends with the arrival of the “caravan” of Central American asylum-seekers (last seen in the November midterms episode), who gratefully accept jobs to build Trumpman’s wall.

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Analysis & Opinions - The Denver Post

Trump Left an Opening in his Wall to Actually Discuss Border Security

| Jan. 11, 2019

During his oval office address, President Trump painted a dire picture of the southwest border, which has left him no choice but to shut down the government. The president’s speech was, however, a sleight of hand that obscures the real dispute and misrepresents the issues at the border.

Audio - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

William Rapp on Office Hours Podcast

| Jan. 11, 2019

Retired Army Major General William Rapp, former Commandant of both the United States Military Academy and the U.S. Army War College, and currently the Faculty Chair of the Belfer Center’s National Security Fellows Program, sits down with with Aroop Mukharji to talk about civilian-military relations, congressional oversight, and the biggest adjustments to civilian life.

Announcement - International Security Program

Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Fellowship: Application Deadline is January 25, 2019

Jan. 09, 2019

The International Security Program and the Security Studies Program at MIT invite applications for two-year pre- or post-doctoral fellowships in Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft. The program is open to applicants from political science, history, and other relevant disciplines. It is intended to support research addressing fundamental issues of U.S. grand strategy, foreign policy, and America's role in the world. Projects that are likely to broaden the contemporary debate on these topics are of particular interest. The deadline for applications is Friday, January 25, 2019. Awards will be announced in March 2019.

Mounted Israeli police disperse Ultra orthodox protesters

AP/Ariel Schalit

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

For the First Time, Israel Faces an Adversary Too Powerful to Be Defeated

| Jan. 09, 2019

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently outlined a draft version of a vision for Iran for the next fifty years. Chuck Freilich adopts a similar long-term approach for Israel by outlining foreign and defense objectives as well as national objectives in domestic affairs.

Donald Trump as seen from a window outside the Oval Office

AP/Carolyn Kaster

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

The Year of Trump?

| Jan. 08, 2019

If Trump's iconoclastic style was merely a breach of traditional presidential etiquette, one might argue that his critics were being too fastidious, or were trapped in old-fashioned views of diplomacy. But crudeness can have consequences.