Brett McGurk, the former Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, has had a busy summer. Between working on a new book contract, travelling to international security conferences on two continents and prepping for his upcoming class — “Presidential Decision-Making in Wartime” — which will be taught this fall at Stanford, the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Center for International Security and Cooperation sat down with the Freeman Spogli Institute to reflect on what he’s learned about Middle Eastern politics this summer.
A group of more than 100 leading American Asia specialists, former U.S. officials and military officers, and foreign policy experts has signed an open letter calling on President Trump and Congress to develop a U.S. approach to China that is focused on creating enduring coalitions with other countries in support of economic and security objectives rather than on efforts to contain China’s engagement with the world.
Viewers of the Democratic presidential debates learned quite a bit this week—from Joe Biden’s views of school busing to Marianne Williamson’s plan to defeat President Donald Trump with love. But I’d bet the next president will be consumed by an issue not a single person mentioned: cyber threats.
Where are CISAC's fellows headed this year? After a fun and challenging year together at Stanford, we wish them well as they begin new positions and explore new areas of interests. Read their updates below:
Kristin Ven Bruusgaard will begin a tenure-track postdoctoral position at the University of Oslo, Norway.
Hyun-Binn Cho will join the Belfer Center at Harvard University as a postdocoral fellow.
Significant progress has been made in improving the defense situation in the Baltic states since 2014, but NATO can take some relatively modest steps to further enhance its deterrence and defense posture in the region, according to a report by Michael O’Hanlon and Christopher Skaluba, which was based on an Atlantic Council study visit to Lithuania.
As we witness the increasingly detrimental effects of global climate change, the role that nuclear power could play globally to mitigate its effects continues to be debated. The series of articles featured in the Bulletin in December 2016 aired a broad spectrum of opinions, ranging in assessment of the role of nuclear power from insignificant to mandatory.
In early May, CISAC convened the fifth Young Professional Nuclear Forum (YPNF), a program sponsored by the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute (MEPhI). The program brought together a lively group of young Russians and Americans working on nuclear issues over three days.
Since 2016, the forum has alternated between Moscow and Stanford.
Researchers Find Radioactive Particles from Fukushima or other Nuclear Disasters Could Stay in Environment, Human Lungs for Decades
Q&A with Professor Rodney C. Ewing, Frank Stanton Professor in Nuclear Security and co-director at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). Interview with Katy Gabel Chui.
On Tuesday [June 4], the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces debated the draft Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
It voted out, on party lines, language that prohibits deployment of a low-yield warhead on the Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile. That makes sense: The rationale for the warhead is dubious, and the weapon likely would never be selected for use.
Thirty years ago this week, I watched the news from Beijing and started shredding my bedding. It was the night before my college graduation, I had been studying Chinese politics, and news had broken that college students just like us had been gunned down in Tiananmen Square after weeks of peaceful and exhilarating democracy protests—carried on international TV. In the iconic square where Mao Zedong had proclaimed the People’s Republic decades before, bespectacled students from China’s best universities had camped out, putting up posters with slogans of freedom in Chinese and English.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Brussels on June 4 and 5, where he met with the leadership of the European Union and NATO. He reaffirmed Kyiv’s goal of integrating into both institutions—goals enshrined earlier this year as strategic objectives in Ukraine’s constitution.
China is making a risky bet in the Middle East. By focusing on economic development and adhering to the principle of noninterference in internal affairs, Beijing believes it can deepen relations with countries that are otherwise nearly at war with one another—all the while avoiding any significant role in the political affairs of the region. This is likely to prove naive, particularly if U.S. allies begin to stand up for their interests.
For nearly five decades, Washington and Moscow have engaged in negotiations to manage their nuclear competition. Those negotiations produced a string of acronyms—SALT, INF, START—for arms control agreements that strengthened strategic stability, reduced bloated nuclear arsenals and had a positive impact on the broader bilateral relationship.
If voters in Ukraine elect television star Volodymyr Zelensky president Sunday, as seems almost certain, that should please the Kremlin, which in the course of supporting rebels in the eastern regions of Ukraine has made clear its dislike for incumbent Petro Poroshenko.
Ukraine is halfway through a presidential election: The first round took place on March 31, and the run-off is coming up on April 21. At the annual Kyiv Security Forum and in other conversations in Kyiv last week, I had the opportunity to catch up on the latest developments in Ukraine, and came away with five key observations.
UKRAINE AGAIN SCORES A DEMOCRATIC ELECTION
The Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) is pleased to announce the selection of its pre-and postdoctoral fellows for the 2019-20 academic year. They will begin their appointments at Stanford in the coming Autumn quarter.
CISAC fellows spend the academic year engaged in research and writing and are expected to participate in seminars and to interact and collaborate with leading faculty and researchers.
April 5 marks the 10th anniversary of the speech in which Barack Obama laid out his vision for a world without nuclear weapons. It did not gain traction. Instead, the United States and Russia are developing new nuclear capabilities, while the nuclear arms control regime is on course to expire in 2021. The result will be a world that is less stable, less secure, and less predictable.
A WORTHWHILE VISION
March 18 marks the fifth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, which capped the most blatant land grab in Europe since World War II. While the simmering conflict in Donbas now dominates the headlines, it is possible to see a path to resolution there. It is much more difficult with Crimea, which will remain a problem between Kyiv and Moscow, and between the West and Russia, for years—if not decades—to come.
THE TAKING OF CRIMEA
Congress’s annual worldwide-threat hearings are usually scary affairs, during which intelligence-agency leaders run down all the dangers confronting the United States. This year’s January assessment was especially worrisome, because the minds of American citizens were listed as key battlegrounds for geopolitical conflict for the first time.