Op-Ed

Between Two Caesars: The Christians of Northern Iraq

Roger Petersen and Matthew Cancian Providence

Religious and ethnic minorities live a precarious existence during civil wars. In a war between the incumbent state and an insurgent challenger, minority group leaders may pick one side over the other. However, if they choose the loser they will be open to charges of collaboration and become vulnerable targets of vengeance.

The Rise of Illiberal Hegemony

Barry R. Posen Foreign Affairs

Grand strategy is a slippery concept, and for those attempting to divine the Trump administration’s, its National Security Strategy—a word salad of a document—yields little insight. The better way to understand Trump’s approach to the world is to look at a year’s worth of actual policies.

With friends like these: Japan-ROK Cooperation and US Policy

Eric Heginbotham & Richard Samuels The ASAN Forum

Heginbotham and Samuels 1) briefly assess the record of security cooperation since North Korea’s 2006 nuclear test and how the discontinuation of the Six-Party Talks in 2009 highlighted the growing gravity of the threat, 2) examine several areas of underperformance, and 3) close by recommending measures that may, at the margins, improve the prospects for meaningful cooperation.

South Africa's Healthy Democracy: Why Zuma's Resignation Is a Good Sign

Daniel de Kadt, Evan Lieberman, and Philip Martin Foreign Affairs

Democracy in South Africa is in tatters. Or at least that’s the widespread view following President Jacob Zuma’s forced resignation on February 14, which ended his almost-nine-year tenure in office.

The Price of War With North Korea

Barry R. Posen The New York Times

During his first official trip to Asia last month, President Trump issued a stern warning to North Korea: “Do not underestimate us. And do not try us.” But for his part, Mr. Trump should not underestimate the steep human cost of initiating a war against Pyongyang.

Why Zimbabwe's Military Abondoned Mugabe

Philip Martin Foreign Affairs

In 2016, when Zimbabwe was rocked by a summer of protests and a social movement gone viral, I argued in Foreign Affairs that the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was unlikely to break ranks with President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

What Political Science Tells Us About the Risk of Civil War in Spain

Sara Plana War on the Rocks

Observers should not fall into the mistake of underestimating the prospects of civil war — as many were wont to do before the last major civil war on the European continent, over twenty years ago in the former Yugoslavia. In fact, political science research suggests there are more reasons to be pessimistic than optimistic. The political and economic dynamics of the standoff between Spain and Catalonia portend the worst-case scenario of civil war.

Deadly Overconfidence: Trump Thinks Missile Defenses Work Against North Korea, and That Should Scare You

Vipin Narang and Ankit Panda War on the Rocks

Could a president’s overconfidence in U.S. defensive systems lead to deadly miscalculation and nuclear armageddon? Yes. Yes, it could. Last Wednesday, referring to potential American responses to North Korea’s missile and nuclear program, President Donald Trump told Sean Hannity “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them it’s gonna get knocked out.” If Trump believes — or is being told — that American missile defenses are that accurate, not only is he factually wrong, he is also very dangerously wrong. This misperception could be enough to lead the United States into a costly war with devastating consequences.

What a Nuclear Launch Might Look Like

Vipin Narang and Ankit Panda War on the Rocks

A new nuclear state, in a major crisis with a conventionally superior nuclear-armed adversary, contemplates and prepares to move nuclear assets in the event it has to use them. Who controls the nuclear forces? Who decides when they might be assembled, mated to delivery vehicles, moved, and launched? Who has nominal authority to order those decisions? Who has the physical ability to implement them even without proper authorization? How experienced are the relevant units in these operations? What could go wrong?

Welcome to the H-Bomb club North Korea

Ankit Panda, Viping Narang War on the Rocks

After months of anticipation, it finally happened. On Sunday morning, September 3, at precisely noon local time, North Korea detonated its sixth nuclear device ever to test a presumably new thermonuclear bomb design.

Revisit NIH biosafety guidelines

Kenneth A. Oye, Maureen O’Leary, Margaret F. Riley Science

To celebrate the anniversary of an arcane federal guideline is a rare event. For an agency to use that moment to invite reflection on modifying policies is even rarer. Last month, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)  did just that, with a workshop that marked the 40th anniversary of its Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules. The meeting was an inspiring start for charting future oversight of nonclinical applications.

Strategic stability

Vipin Narang, Ankit Panda War on the Rocks

North Korea continues to dominate the Trump administration’s energies on foreign policy, and matters do not appear to be improving anytime soon. Recent events have illustrated that even as the strategic situation worsens with North Korea’s steady march toward an operational nuclear strike capability against the U.S. homeland, the potential for a serious nuclear crisis lies just a few words away.

Danger at dolam

M. Taylor Fravel The Indian Express

Current India-China standoff bears a resemblance to the dispute that sparked the 1962 war. But let’s not stretch the analogy.

Tokyo's Arms Exports

Richard Samuels, Eric Heginbotham The Cipher Brief

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s current political problems obscure the striking speed with which he successfully tackled thorny and long-standing security policy problems, including the lifting of the country’s arms export ban

Political Science Journals Biased Against Women

Dawn Langan Teele and Kathleen Thelen The Washington Post

For our study in PS, we collected information on all articles published by 10 top journals over the past 15 years. The data shows that they publish a lower proportion of articles written by women than there are women in the discipline as a whole.

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