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


From the Hill:

Republicans Are the New Isolationists; Will U.S. Retreat From World Stage?

The GOP is becoming an isolationist party. It is no longer the party that embraces the bold foreign policy of Ronald Reagan or the Bushes. By more than two to one, Republicans endorse the view that “We should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home.” Only 30 percent of Republicans believe “It is best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs.”

—Bill Schneider


From the Washington Post:

Youngkin Won as a Pragmatic Trump Alternative. He’s Showing His Cards.

Just as he knew that he could not win last fall in centrist Virginia as a Trump acolyte, Youngkin knows he has no shot in today’s Republican Party nationally if he’s seen as a squishy fence straddler.

—Mark J. Rozell


From the National Review:

Not Over Grover: Reconsidering Cleveland

Troy Senik’s new biography of Cleveland, A Man of Iron, is a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable journey through the life and career of the ox-like man who became the only U.S. president to serve two nonconsecutive terms. 

—Colin Dueck


From the Washington Post:

Spanberger’s Blast at Pelosi Carries More Benefits Than Liabilities

In Virginia’s new swingable 7th District, Spanberger has little to lose, potentially much to gain, from attacking Pelosi.

—Mark J. Rozell


From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Got Enough to Worry About? Think Again.

Perhaps international treaties would help, possibly lessening the potential for accidental wars caused by unintentional slip-ups in technology. In the meantime, my students and I continue to be anxious, always hoping that the next ball coming out of the urn will be a white one.

—Stephen Ruth


From the Syndication Bureau:

Untangling the Threads of Iran’s Nuclear Narrative

Those hopes were dashed when Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addressed the United Nations General Assembly in late September, accusing the West of nuclear hypocrisy.

—Ellen Laipson


From Bloomberg Law:

Rethinking the Weinstein Clause 5 Years Post-#MeToo

The original Weinstein clause aimed to mitigate these risks, but it fell short by failing to understand and address the subtle and complex dynamics that can allow sexual misconduct to proliferate in silence, as it did at the Weinstein Company.

—Ally Coll, et. al


From Wavell Room (UK):

Nuclear War, NATO, and Russia

To be sure, there may be real operational limitations on the utility of tactical nuclear weapons for Russia. There are risks of fall-out that could blow back on actual Russian territory or land Moscow has claimed via illegal annexation. There may not be optimal targets at hand in terms of large concentrations of Ukrainian forces. Still, if the hammer is the only functional tool, it may not matter whether the problem is a nail or not; Russia may simply use what works. 

—PhD Student Mike Sweeney


From the Hill:

The End of Scarcity: A Silent Threat to U.S. Well-Being

Budget process reforms most likely to succeed would do so by explicitly and saliently reminding policymakers of scarcity and the need to include both expected benefits and expected costs in budget decisions. 

—Marvin Phaup


From Homeland Security Today:

What’s Behind ISIS Khorasan’s Relentless Attacks on Mosques in Afghanistan?

Similar attacks are likely to continue, but the question remains: Why is ISIS-K predominantly targeting Shia mosques in Afghanistan? The answer is complex and multifaceted. 

—Mahmut Cengiz


From the National Interest:

The Abraham Accords and the Imposed Middle East Order

Despite the lofty praise, however, the Abraham Accords neither advance peace nor U.S. interests in the Middle East. Instead, they represent the formalization of a coercive political, economic, and security order designed to maintain the status quo in the region.

—PhD Candidate Jon Hoffman


From DAWN:

A Lifetime of Struggle

A man of firm convictions rooted in the ideology of the left, compromise and finding a middle ground to be part of power politics held no appeal for him. As his US-based cousin Ahmer Mustikhan told me: “Yousuf had a contempt for wealth”, and was never lured by money and power.

—MPP Student Mushtaq Rajpar


From the Hill:

Why the Saudis and Emiratis Back Russia’s Call for Oil Production Cuts

So why take this economic risk? It may be that the Saudis and the Emiratis fear what they consider would be an even greater geopolitical risk for them: the prospect of Russia losing its war in Ukraine.

—Mark N. Katz


From the Hill:

Ten Commandments of D.C.

Remember that intelligence is estimative, not evidentiary.  No one single report or piece of analysis is going tell you everything you need to know about a situation. 

—Ronald Marks


From the Hill:

The Dangerous Paradox of the Religious Polarization of American Politics

Religious commitment has a lot to do with the takeover of the Republican Party by the radical right. What drives the radical right is resentment of the educated elite, who today tend to be Democrats — and resolutely secular.

—Bill Schneider


From Eurasia Review:

The Future of Iranian-Ukrainian Relations-Analysis

Thus, Tehran is expanding its relations with Moscow, whereas there is no true indication of Tehran’s willingness to improve relations with Kyiv.

—Umud Shokri


From NCT Magazine:

Controlling Novichok Nerve Agents After the Skirpal and Navalny Incidents

Since Novichok nerve agents came to public attention following a high-profile assassination attempt in 2018, the international chemical weapons nonproliferation regime has taken important, but incomplete, steps to reduce the risk of these chemical weapons proliferating.

—Gregory Koblentz, et al.


From La República:

Play With Fire

Don't the congressmen behind the attempts to remove Castillo realize their own weakness? Congress has an even lower approval rating; in recent months it has fluctuated between 8 and 15% according to national surveys.

—Jo-Marie Burt