International Relations

FSI researchers strive to understand how countries relate to one another, and what policies are needed to achieve global stability and prosperity. International relations experts focus on the challenging U.S.-Russian relationship, the alliance between the U.S. and Japan and the limitations of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.

Foreign aid is also examined by scholars trying to understand whether money earmarked for health improvements reaches those who need it most. And FSI’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center has published on the need for strong South Korean leadership in dealing with its northern neighbor.

FSI researchers also look at the citizens who drive international relations, studying the effects of migration and how borders shape people’s lives. Meanwhile FSI students are very much involved in this area, working with the United Nations in Ethiopia to rethink refugee communities.

Trade is also a key component of international relations, with FSI approaching the topic from a slew of angles and states. The economy of trade is rife for study, with an APARC event on the implications of more open trade policies in Japan, and FSI researchers making sense of who would benefit from a free trade zone between the European Union and the United States.

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* Please note all CISAC events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone.

 

Register in advance for this webinar: https://stanford.zoom.us/webinar/register/8416226562432/WN_WLYcdRa6T5Cs1MMdmM0Mug

 

About the Event: Is there a place for illegal or nonconsensual evidence in security studies research, such as leaked classified documents? What is at stake, and who bears the responsibility, for determining source legitimacy? Although massive unauthorized disclosures by WikiLeaks and its kindred may excite qualitative scholars with policy revelations, and quantitative researchers with big-data suitability, they are fraught with methodological and ethical dilemmas that the discipline has yet to resolve. I argue that the hazards from this research—from national security harms, to eroding human-subjects protections, to scholarly complicity with rogue actors—generally outweigh the benefits, and that exceptions and justifications need to be articulated much more explicitly and forcefully than is customary in existing work. This paper demonstrates that the use of apparently leaked documents has proliferated over the past decade, and appeared in every leading journal, without being explicitly disclosed and defended in research design and citation practices. The paper critiques incomplete and inconsistent guidance from leading political science and international relations journals and associations; considers how other disciplines from journalism to statistics to paleontology address the origins of their sources; and elaborates a set of normative and evidentiary criteria for researchers and readers to assess documentary source legitimacy and utility. Fundamentally, it contends that the scholarly community (researchers, peer reviewers, editors, thesis advisors, professional associations, and institutions) needs to practice deeper reflection on sources’ provenance, greater humility about whether to access leaked materials and what inferences to draw from them, and more transparency in citation and research strategies.

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About the Speaker: Christopher Darnton is a CISAC affiliate and an associate professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He previously taught at Reed College and the Catholic University of America, and holds a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. He is the author of Rivalry and Alliance Politics in Cold War Latin America (Johns Hopkins, 2014) and of journal articles on US foreign policy, Latin American security, and qualitative research methods. His International Security article, “Archives and Inference: Documentary Evidence in Case Study Research and the Debate over U.S. Entry into World War II,” won the 2019 APSA International History and Politics Section Outstanding Article Award. He is writing a book on the history of US security cooperation in Latin America, based on declassified military documents.

Virtual Seminar

Christopher Darnton Associate Professor of National Security Affairs Naval Postgraduate School
Seminars
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Please note: the start time for this event has been moved from 3:00 to 3:15pm.

Join FSI Director Michael McFaul in conversation with Richard Stengel, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. They will address the role of entrepreneurship in creating stable, prosperous societies around the world.

Richard Stengel Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Special Guest United States Department of State

Encina Hall
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

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Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies, Department of Political Science
Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
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PhD

Michael McFaul is Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies in the Department of Political Science, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1995.

Dr. McFaul also is as an International Affairs Analyst for NBC News and a columnist for The Washington Post. He served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014).

He has authored several books, most recently the New York Times bestseller From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia. Earlier books include Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can; Transitions To Democracy: A Comparative Perspective (eds. with Kathryn Stoner); Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (with James Goldgeier); and Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin.

His current research interests include American foreign policy, great power relations, and the relationship between democracy and development. Dr. McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his B.A. in International Relations and Slavic Languages and his M.A. in Soviet and East European Studies from Stanford University in 1986. As a Rhodes Scholar, he completed his D. Phil. in International Relations at Oxford University in 1991. He is currently writing a book on great power relations in the 21st century.

 

 

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Steven Pifer
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After 10 months of fighting, it does not appear the Russia-Ukraine war will end any time soon. That conflict has begun to impact US-Russian nuclear arms control efforts—first by raising mistrust between Washington and Moscow to levels not seen since the height of the Cold War.

In late 2022, Moscow postponed a planned meeting of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty’s implementing body, the Bilateral Consultative Commission, and the bilateral dialogue on broader strategic stability issues hangs in limbo. Even when—hopefully not if—the dialogue resumes, the consequences of the war will make achievement of US goals on arms control more difficult, particularly as regards limiting Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons.

Continue reading at thebulletin.org.

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After 10 months of fighting, it does not appear the Russia-Ukraine war will end any time soon.

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About the Event: What explains the use of different strategies of counterproliferation? Drawing on her new book, All Options on the Table: Leaders, Preventive War, and Nuclear Proliferation, Rachel Whitlark will explore the use of preventive military force as a counter-proliferation strategy by the United States and Israel against a variety of adversaries pursuing nuclear weapons. Discussing a new book project, she will also examine the use of targeted assassination of nuclear scientists as a counter-proliferation strategy and its potential consequences.

About the Speaker: Rachel Whitlark is an Associate Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is also a nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security as well as a fellow with the Bridging the Gap Project. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from George Washington University. Whitlark has previously been a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program within the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She was also a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard and a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program. 

Whitlark's interests lie within international security and foreign-policy decision-making, with a focus on the role of the individual executive in foreign and security policy, as well as on nuclear technology, nuclear proliferation, and counter-proliferation. She has regional interests in the Middle East and East Asia. Her book, All Options on the Table: Leaders, Preventive War, and Nuclear Proliferation, was published with Cornell University Press’s Studies in Security Affairs Series and investigates the use of preventive military force as a counter-proliferation strategy, drawing on archival research conducted at multiple U.S. Presidential Libraries. 

She has published in Security Studies, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, The Washington Quarterly, International Studies Perspectives, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Survival, among other outlets. Her research has been funded by, among others, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Stanton Foundation, and a variety of Presidential library foundations.

 All CISAC events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone.

William J. Perry Conference Room

Rachel Whitlark
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About the Event: Today public key cryptography provides the primary basis for secure communication over the internet, enabling e-commerce, secure software updates, online work, government services, and much more. But public key cryptography has not always been widely available; for many decades, the U.S. government monopolized cryptography by keeping it highly classified. By inventing public key cryptography in the mid-1970s, Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman helped make cryptography widely accessible. In 2015 the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) awarded Diffie and Hellman the Turing Award, computer science’s highest honor, for their work on public key cryptography. ACM has published a new book, Democratizing Cryptography contextualizing the invention of public key cryptography and explaining its significance.  In this book launch event, a distinguished panel of experts will discuss the past and present significance of public key cryptography, in dialogue with Diffie and Hellman. Time will be reserved for audience questions and discussion.

About the Speakers: 

Andrei Broder is a distinguished scientist at Google. Previously, he was a research fellow and vice president of computational advertising for Yahoo!, and before that, the vice president of research for AltaVista. He has also worked for IBM Research as a distinguished engineer and was CTO of IBM's Institute for Search and Text Analysis.

Susan Landau is Bridge Professor in Cyber Security and Policy at The Fletcher School and the School of EngineeringDepartment of Computer ScienceTufts University. Landau has written four books, including with Whitfield Diffie, Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption (MIT Press, rev. ed. 2007). Landau has testified before Congress, written for the Washington PostScience, and Scientific American, and frequently appears on NPR and BBC. Landau has been a senior staff Privacy Analyst at Google, a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, and a faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Wesleyan University. She received the 2008 Women of Vision Social Impact Award, was a 2010-2011 fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, a 2012 Guggenheim fellow, was inducted into the Cybersecurity Hall of Fame in 2015 and into the Information System Security Association Hall of Fame in 2018

John Markoff is an award-winning author and journalist. From 1998 until 2017, he was a reporter at The New York Times. He has also been a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism and an adjunct faculty member of the Stanford Graduate Program on Journalism. In 2013 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting as part of a New York Times project on labor and automation. In 2007, he was named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, the organization’s highest honor. He is an affiliate of Stanford’s Institute for Human-Center Artificial Institute. He is also a research affiliate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences or CASBS, participating in projects focusing on the future of work and artificial intelligence. He is currently researching a biography of Stewart Brand, the creator of the Whole Earth Catalog.

Rebecca Slayton is Associate Professor, jointly in the Science & Technology Studies Department and the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, both at Cornell University. Her research examines the relationships between and among risk, governance, and expertise, with a focus on international security and cooperation since World War II. Her first book, Arguments that Count, shows how the rise of computing reshaped perceptions of the promise and risks of missile defense, and won the 2015 Computer History Museum Prize. Slayton’s second book, Shadowing Cybersecurity, examines the emergence of cybersecurity expertise through the interplay of innovation and repair.

 

 All CISAC events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone.

Rebecca Slayton

William J. Perry Conference Room

Andrei Broder
Susan Landau
John Markoff
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About the Event: Authoritarian regimes have sought to broadcast their power and influence—and it often seems that there is a pattern of autocratic diffusion, the “Illiberal International.” The Hungarian leader, Viktor Orbán, has been the darling of the American Right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has attempted to fund and influence anti-democratic politics in Europe and elsewhere.  Yet such diffusion has often been limited—and this talk explores the political and institutional reasons why there are limits to such influence. 

About the Speaker: Anna Grzymala-Busse is the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor in the Department of Political Science, the director of the Europe Center, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford. Her research focuses on religion and politics, authoritarian political parties and their successors, and the historical development of the state. She is the author of four books: Redeeming the Communist Past: The Regeneration of Communist Successor Parties; Rebuilding Leviathan: Party Competition and State Development in Post-Communist Europe; Nations Under God: How Churches Use Moral Authority to Influence Politics; and Sacred Foundations: The religious and medieval origins of the European State. She is the recipient of the Carnegie and Guggenheim Fellowships. 

 All CISAC events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone.

William J. Perry Conference Room

Anna Grzymala-Busse
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Steven Pifer
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Writing in The Washington Post on December 2, Robert Wright called on the Biden administration to press Ukraine to negotiate a settlement to the war Russia unleashed on it. That adds to a spate of articles in recent weeks urging Washington to prod Kyiv toward the negotiating table or to set a diplomatic process for settling the conflict.

Negotiations could well become necessary at some point. However, the questions of if — and when — to engage should rest with the Ukrainian government.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a multi-pronged invasion of Ukraine. It has run into difficult straits. The Russians retreated from Kyiv in March. More recently, Ukrainian counteroffensives drove the Russians out of Kharkiv oblast (region) and liberated Kherson city, pushing the Russians back to the east side of the Dnipro River.

As Kyiv’s military successes grew, commentators began calling for Washington to “bring Russia and Ukraine” to the negotiating table, to “lay the groundwork” for talks, and to “begin discussions” on eventual negotiations. The authors offer various reasons for doing so: that Russia might escalate; that the costs of supporting Kyiv are too high; that Ukrainian victories might make negotiations more difficult; that the Russian military might recover its footing and win; that the war could settle into a drawn-out stalemate; and that, absent a firm settlement, Ukraine would face the threat of reinvasion.

The West cannot casually dismiss the possibility of Putin escalating to use a nuclear weapon, but he has real reasons not to. Doing so would alienate the Global South and China as well as open a Pandora’s box with potentially nasty consequences for Russia. The Kremlin appears to understand that and has de-escalated the nuclear rhetoric.

Russian escalation at the conventional level to strike, for example, the routes in Poland that flow Western arms into Ukraine hardly seems plausible. The Russian General Staff has its hands full with the Ukrainian army; it does not want a fight now with NATO.

The United States and the West are spending significant sums to support Ukraine’s defense. But they are not too high given the size of Western economies and defense budgets and, in particular, in view of what the West has at stake. A Russia that wins in Ukraine could be emboldened to use force elsewhere.

The concern that Ukraine’s liberation of its territory could complicate negotiations is misplaced. That more likely would engender greater realism in the Kremlin and make serious talks more possible. As for the opposite concern, the Russian military has given no basis to believe it can regain the military initiative sufficiently to win the war.

True, the conflict could settle into a stalemate. However, that scenario does not by itself make a strong case for pushing Ukraine into an early negotiation, especially with an adversary who offers no hint of readiness to seek a middle ground in negotiations.

As for the threat of a Russian reinvasion, Ukraine would face that regardless of how the war ends — at least, as long as Putin remains in power. That threat is by no means theoretical. In 2014, the Russian military seized Crimea, and Russian and Russian proxy forces occupied part of Donbas, but the Kremlin was not content just with that.

None of the authors offer reasons to believe Moscow would negotiate in a serious manner. The Kremlin’s demands in February included demilitarization and neutrality for Ukraine plus Kyiv’s recognition of Crimea as Russian. At the end of September, despite a month of losing on the battlefield, Moscow claimed to annex four Ukrainian oblasts. After Ukrainian forces liberated Kherson, the capital of one of these regions, Putin’s spokesperson quixotically called the city “the territory of Russia.” How should Kyiv regard such a prospective bargaining partner?

Some authors, including Wright, urge talks without addressing what outcome they hope or expect to see. Others suggest a “territorial settlement” or Ukrainian “flexibility” and sound all too ready to concede Ukrainian land to Russia. That would entail consigning Ukrainians to Russian authority as well. The atrocities and war crimes committed by Russian forces in BuchaIrpinIzyumMariupol, and many other cities and towns have shown Ukrainians exactly what that would mean. Moreover, prodding the Ukrainians into negotiations in which they would accept either explicitly or de facto Russian seizure of their territory has implications well beyond Ukraine. That would legitimize Moscow’s tactics of using force, and one must wonder whether Putin’s ambitions end just with Ukraine.

The West thus should hope for Ukrainian victory and liberation of all occupied lands. However, that might not prove possible, and instead a prospect of a serious negotiation could at some point develop, offering a hope of a settlement to end the war. Even then, the Ukrainians would have to exercise caution. They would not want to allow the Russians the possibility of “negotiating” simply to buy time to reconstitute their military forces for a new offensive.

If a serious negotiation were to emerge, it would almost certainly require that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his government compromise on some of their conditions for peace, which include the return of all occupied territories, full reparations for the immense damage, and punishment of those responsible for war crimes. Zelensky undoubtedly shares Wright’s desire to avoid further loss of Ukrainian lives, but deciding which issues on which to give in during a negotiation would raise delicate questions. Among other things, he must take account of the attitude of Ukrainians. A late October poll showed that 86% supported continuing the fight and opposed negotiations.

Washington cannot decide these kinds of issues. The Ukrainians — the victims in this war — first have to see that they have a serious Russian bargaining partner. They themselves must conclude that the time has come to make tough decisions on compromises to end the conflict. The questions of if and when to negotiate properly should remain Kyiv’s to decide.

Find this article at brookings.edu

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Negotiations could well become necessary at some point. However, the questions of if — and when — to engage should rest with the Ukrainian government.

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Honors Student
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Chase is studying International Relations and Data Science at Stanford University. His thesis is titled, "Propaganda Build-Up: Understanding the Role of Russian Influence Operations Surrounding Ukraine"

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