CISAC Honors Program Presentations | Antigone Xenopoulos, Kelly Devens, and Jonah Martin Glick-Unterman


Antigone Xenopoulos, Kelly Devens, and Jonah Martin Glick-Unterman

Date and Time

April 30, 2020 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM


RSVP Required.


Virtual Seminar

Seminar Recording:


About this Event:

Antigone Xenopoulos

1:30 PM - 2:15 PM 

Introductions will start at 1:30pm. Each presentation will be 20 minutes with a 10 minute discussion.

Title: Alliance or Vulnerable Reliance: U.S. Dependence on China for Critical Dual-Use Products

Abstract: Why has the United States become economically dependent on China for the supply of critical dual-use products—those which have both military and commercial applications? Examples of such dependence include pharmaceutical drugs, rare earth metals, printed circuit boards, and more. I propose three theoretical models as likely explaining this phenomenon: the formerly low prioritization of China as a security threat, uncoordinated economic and security policies, and interest group influence. Next, by systemizing evidence from plethora of sources such as trade data, industry assessments, and government speeches and reports, I show that the U.S.’ dual-use dependence on China is measurable, has increased with time, and manifests across industries and defense applications. I find that entities within the U.S. government long recognized the threat of dual-use dependence on China. Nevertheless, because China was not prioritized as a security threat or portrayed as a competitor, this dependence was not responded to; instead, it persisted. Finally, and surprisingly, I find that U.S. industry associations did not uniformly support offshoring to China; even industries which would be expected to take such a position acknowledged the national security imperative of maintaining robust domestic supply chains. Combined, these findings demonstrate that US government’s internal dynamics rather than private-sector factors better explain the U.S.’ dual-use dependence on China.



Kelly Devens

2:15 PM - 2:50 PM 

Introductions will start at 1:30pm. Each presentation will be 20 minutes with a 10 minute discussion.

Title: Assessing Russian Noncompliance in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Abstract: The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was a landmark bilateral arms control agreement created by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987. However, the United States formally withdrew from the treaty on August 2, 2019, citing years of Russian violation of the Treaty with the development of its 9M729 missile system. This thesis explains the major underlying motivations behind Russian development of this ground-launched, intermediate-range missile, which was a violation of the INF. It utilizes a single case process tracing approach and presents two datasets: (1) a robust timeline of events detailing the development of the missile system, the mechanics of the violation, Russian public commentary on the Treaty, and the American response, and (2) a collection of interviews of high-level American officials heavily involved in the investigation of the violation and American and European academic subject experts. The thesis finds that 9M729 missile system was likely not developed for any one mission in particular. The Ministry of Defense and Russian military industry wanted the missile system to provide flexibility in response to an increasing number of military threats in several theaters, believed they could develop the missile with plausible deniability, and used factors such as U.S. missile defense systems, the expanding size of NATO, rising influence of China, weapons proliferation to unstable neighboring regions, and the opportunity to divide NATO as justification to receive program approval. Determining the rationale for developing a treaty-noncompliant weapons system presents opportunity to consider how existing and future arms control agreements are developed and considered.



Jonah Martin Glick-Unterman

2:50 PM - 3:20 PM

Introductions will start at 1:30pm. Each presentation will be 20 minutes with a 10 minute discussion.

Title: “All Options Are On The Table”: The Correlates of Compellence and Coalition Effects

Abstract: Why do some militarized threats compel an opponent state to change its policy or behavior while others do not? This thesis is the first study to comprehensively evaluate the major theories of compellence by considering individual signals. An original data set compiled by surveying 124,000 archival documents catalogues every major military mobilization and verbal threat by the U.S. President with compellent intent since strategic parity. The results contest theories regarding “cost-sinking” and “hand-tying” signals, reputation, and assurances. Moreover, they challenge the conventional “costly” signaling framework. Instead of a simple positive relationship between a signal’s cost and coercive utility, this thesis proposes a different dynamic: at some point, cost can diminish coercive value by conveying that concessions may not prevent later demands or the use of force. The effect of international support for intervention is instructive: although associated with a higher rate of some concessions, international backing has no bearing on whether a target fully capitulates. Case studies of compellence prior to the First Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War suggest that this phenomenon may be explained by the sequencing and expense of coalition building. Ultimately, policymakers should consider that effective signaling is rare and that demonstrating an unflinching commitment to the use of force can backfire.

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