What Were We Thinking? Selected Schar School Op-Eds (April 2022)


From Inside Higher Education:

Is It Time to Cut the Presidents’ Pay?

All of which prompts a question: Is it time to reconsider the salaries of presidents? Why are relatively short-term presidents—the average tenure is 6.5 years, according to a 2017 survey conducted by the American Council on Education—worth so much more than full professors who tend to stick around longer and work with students on a daily basis?

—Judith Wilde and James Finkelstein


From Issues in Science and Technology:

Revisiting NSF’s Founding Compromise

With this possible influx of money and expectations, it’s time to revisit how NSF and NSB work together. Over the past seven decades, these two entities have created a national ecosystem for scientific innovation that has enabled generations of discoveries and discoverers—though NSF is far more visible to the public.

—James Olds, Jessica L. Rosenberg, Nick Robichaud


From the Washington Post:

Governing Campaign-Style in Virginia

The governor’s move adds a new twist to the old maxim that governors propose and legislators dispose: Now, it’s the governor proposes and then tries to sell what he is proposing through paid media, like brand-name consumer products.

—Mark J. Rozell


From Psychology Today:

Changes in Estrogen Impact the Brain Well Before Alzheimer’s

Old age is the greatest risk for developing Alzheimer’s, but being a woman is the second-highest risk factor. 

—­­­­­Nadine Kabbani


From the Hill:

To be a great power, here’s the stance China should take with Russia

How might China do this? It could state forcefully that Beijing wishes to see: an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine; the withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine; and a Ukrainian pledge that it will not join NATO. And it could deploy Chinese peacekeeping forces to the Donbas and Crimea.

—Mark N. Katz


From Brookings:

Has Federal Crisis Spending for K-12 Schools Served Its Intended Objectives?

For ESSER, our sense is that policymakers have not fully reckoned with the magnitude of learning loss that has taken place during the pandemic and the costs necessary to offset this loss. 

—Matthew P. Steinberg and Kenneth Shores


From the Geopolitics:

Civilians in the Gray Zone: New Rules for New Hybrid Wars?

By bits and bots, the human mind is under assault in hitherto unprecedented ways, challenging our legal and moral norms and social customs. The use of a new range of weapons and techniques in hybrid warfare scenarios with or without explicit consideration of its impacts on the civilian population situated in the inscrutable zone of indistinction between stable peace and open conflict ostensibly contributes to the ongoing and ever-advancing displacement of the battlefield and threatens further erosion of basic yet essential international legal protections.

—Joanna Rozpedowski


From Texas National Security Review:

China’s Biomedical Data Hacking Threat: Applying Big Data Isn’t as Easy as It Seems

We need to do a better job of conducting more complex socio-technical assessments of how China might try to use biomedical big data, as well as studying China’s bioinformatics personnel and technical infrastructure. 

—Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley and Kathleen M. Vogel


From El Faro (English):

Trial for ‘Death Squad Dossier’ Ties Guatemalan Wartime Atrocities to Current Criminal Networks

But after waiting nearly four decades for their day in court, the families of the victims remain steadfast in their demands for truth and justice.

—Jo-Marie Burt and Paulo Estrada


From Taiwan Insight:

Lessons from Ukraine: Beijing Should Think Twice About Attacking Taiwan

Then there is the fourth factor, which is much discussed in Taiwan: the willingness of the US to become directly involved in the defense of Taiwan if China invades.

—Gerrit van der Wees


From Small Wars Journal:

Alternative Ways to Seek Regional and Global Influence: How Shadowy Organizations Serve the Interests of Turkey, Iran, and Russia

Recently, leaders of the Western world have become aware of the suspicious nature of these groups and began to take action against these shadowy organizations.

—Mahmut Cengiz, Layla Hashemi, and Vladimir Semizhanov


From Al Jazeera:

How will PM Khan’s removal affect Pakistan’s fragile democracy?

The so-called “electables” of parliament switched sides. The opposition suddenly had the numbers and, poof, Khan was gone – for now.

—Ahsan Butt


From the Washington Post:

If Democrats don’t tell their story for the midterms, Republicans will

The task over the coming seven months in Virginia mirrors the one facing Democrats nationally. Former president Barack Obama recently summed it up in just 11 words: “We’ve got a story to tell, just got to tell it.”

—Mark J. Rozell


From the Hill:

America Is Now Embracing the ‘Paranoid Style’

In a two-party system like that of the U.S., voters will sooner or later get fed up with the incumbent party and demand change—even if that means voting for a party in thrall to paranoia.

—Bill Schneider


From Homeland Security Today:

Why Turkey Has Handed Over the Jamal Khashoggi Case to Saudi Arabia

The Turkish prosecutor, during a court hearing for 26 defendants in the Khashoggi murder case, demanded that the proceedings be stopped and the case handed over to the Saudi Arabian judicial officials.

—Mahmut Cengiz


From Higher Ed Dive:

Tenure Is Under Attack, So Why Do College Presidents Have Retreat Rights?

This leads us to wonder what "academic freedom" governing boards are protecting by giving their presidents tenure.

—Judith Wilde and James Finkelstein


From U.S. Army War College War Room:

Managing Russia in the Middle East: the Case for Selective Engagement

At one end of their spectrum of choices is for the United States to unreservedly guarantee the security of Gulf Cooperation Council states and other U.S. allies in the region. At the other end, America could withdraw and potentially cede its current influence in the region to Russia or China. 

—Alec Jackson (I-SEC master’s student)


From Arab Center Washington:

The Evolving Relationship Between Religion and Politics in Saudi Arabia

To be sure, these developments ultimately represent MbS’s desire to consolidate absolute authority and eliminate alternative power centers capable of challenging his rule. What is occurring in Saudi Arabia is best understood as the restructuring of religion toward this end: religious authority is being centralized under the authority of MbS and brought under the direct control of the monarchy. 

—PhD Candidate Jon Hoffman


From Homeland Security Today:

Can the Relationship Between Turkey and the United States Ever Be Repaired?

The scale of corruption in Turkey is unknown, but it is fair to say that corrupt officials and bureaucrats siphon off money from almost all government contracts.

—Mahmut Cengiz


From the Hill:

Macron Beats Le Pen: is There a Lesson for Biden and Trump in 2024?

Ideological division overwhelmed populist resentment. And saved France.

—Bill Schneider


From GlobaDev:

Globalization and Inequality After the Pandemic

As the crisis subsides, reduction in poverty and inequality through more, and better, formal employment is at the center of most economic recovery strategies worldwide.

—Maurice Kugler, et al.