Africa’s Security Challenges: Is the Situation Improving?
On October 18, 2019, Dr. Philip Martin – an Assistant Professor of International Security at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, and Eric Schmitt – a senior writer covering terrorism and national security for The New York Times, met to explore the status of Africa’s wars, and efforts to build greater security capacity in this critical region. Dr. Phillip Martin begun the discussion, outlining the fact that Africa accounts for 30% of all Islamic State’s violence. Dr. Martin then discussed intercommunal conflicts, political protests, and long-term conflict resolution. Mr. Schmitt discussed European and American special forces “Operation Flintlock”, the current conflict in Burkina Faso, and the ongoing issue in Libya. Mr. Schmitt then went into a discussion of AFCOMM, and its relations with the current administration. The discussion was concluded with questions on non-military approaches to the security challenge, competition/collaboration between Russia and China in the region, blanket amnesty and the need for security forces, concluding with a significant discussion on the importance of police forces in the region.
Along the US-Mexican Border
October 10, 2019 – The U.S.-Mexico border has been the site of intense scrutiny recently, with attention focused on asylum seekers from Central America and the separation of families while their cases are processed. It was in this context that Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a Schar School Associate Professor, traveled the entire U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year, entering and exiting through all of the more than 40 border crossings between the two countries. Dr. Correa-Cabrera gave a presentation to undergraduate and graduate students about this experience, which covered topics of immigration, security, indigenous people, economics, and culture in the border region.
Many migrants underestimate the difficulty they will encounter once in the country. In response to a question from the audience, Dr. Correa-Cabrera poignantly described how many migrants, upon arriving in the United States, realize that it is not the so-called promised land that they might have been led to believe. But as long as conditions in their home countries persist, migrants will continue making the journey to the border, shaping it in ways that reflect their unique cultural contributions.
Site Visit at Norfolk
On August 23, 2019, Dr. John Gordon, a CSPS affiliate faculty member and adjunct professor at George Mason University, took a group of current and former Schar School/CSPS students on a tour of Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world, to see firsthand the inside of an aircraft carrier and attack submarine. As if to emphasize just how much naval history lies within and around the area, Dr. Gordon pointed out the rough site of the famous Civil War Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack as the group approached the City of Norfolk.
The first stop was the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in service since the 1970s. Once on board the Eisenhower, the group was escorted through a labyrinth of hallways, going up and down steep staircases until finally arriving on the flight deck, where aircraft are catapulted into the air and land with the help of arresting wires. There were no planes on the flight deck that day because the various squadrons and detachments that make up the air wing are usually only present when the ship is deployed. But this made the scale of the flight deck look that much more expansive, and even more so from the atop the bridge. The tour concluded with a look at the berthing quarters— where the sailors sleep—in bunk beds stacked three on top of each other.
Next, the group got a special tour of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS John Warner. Boarding the submarine required nimble feet as the students had to walk on the hull before descending down the hatch into the tight spaces below. Because room is obviously very limited, every inch of space has a purpose—whether for storage or function. The sleep accommodations on the submarine made those on the Eisenhower look downright luxurious by comparison. There were some comforts, however: an ice cream machine and a sizable collection of DVDs, to pass the time on months’ long deployments. The potentially dangerous situations that the crew is expected to encounter were thrust into stark relief when the tour was led to the torpedo room, where some of the (lower-ranking) sailors sleep in close proximity to the launching tubes.
CSPS looks forward to sponsoring more trips for students and fellows in the coming academic year.
CSPS-Korea Hosted International Security Symposium
In May the Korean branch of CSPS hosted an international security symposium that emphasized Environmental Challenges and Solutions. The Symposium addressed such issues as the effects of the tsunami on the Fukushima nuclear energy plant, the importance of developing global solutions, and the role of major states in shaping the landscape of climate issues.
Speakers at the symposium included Dr. Taedong Lee of Yonsei University, Dr. Eunjung Lim of Ritsumeikan University, Dr. Simon Wilson of the Green Climate Fund, and GMU Professors Dr. Ming Wan, Dr. Andrew Light, Dr. Changwoo Ahn, and Dr. Todd M. La Porte.
Annual Gettysburg Staff Ride
On April 27th, 2019 CSPS hosted its annual tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield where GMU students and staff will walked the battlefield. Topics of discussion emphasized the impact that leadership characteristics play in outcomes both in times of war and peace.
The Future of US & Taiwan Relations
On February 27, 2019 GMU Professor Gerrit van der Wees, Mr. Ian Easton from Project 2049, and GMU Professor and CSPS Associate Director Michael Hunzeker discussed the relationship between the US and Taiwan. Dr. Van der Wess outlined the history of Taiwan and the tensions that emerged between China, the US, and Taiwan. Mr. Easton explained the importance of the Chinese and Taiwanese relationship in the future of the international community, and the impact they are likely to have, especially on the US. Dr. Hunzeker than presented the work detailed in a collaborative CSPS monograph, on ways Taiwan can prepare for a potential Chinese invasion.
Reflections on the 40th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution
In February CSPS welcomed Professor Shaul Bakhash, who spoke on the Iranian Revolution and the lasting impacts it has had.