2013-14 Mershon Center Speakers and Conferences

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    India's Recent Election & its Implications on Future Policymaking
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-06-12) Komarraju, Ravi
    Ravi Komarraju will deliver a small guest lecture at the Mershon Center focusing on the recent election in India and its possible effects on Indian domestic and foreign policy.
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    Interdisciplinary Studies of Political Behavior: From Election to Protests
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-05-06) Paxton, Pamela; Jenkins, Craig; Beck, Paul; Beaulieu, Emily; Crenshaw, Ed; Gunther, Richard; Hughes, Melanie; Maher, Tom; Nisbet, Erik; Slomczynski, Kazimierz; Tomescu-Dubrow, Irina
    The conference brings together noted scholars in the fields of democracy, politics and protest, and cross-national methodology, to contribute – via lectures, presentations and discussions in a multidisciplinary forum – to our understanding of democracy and political participation around the world.  The workshop is devoted to key technical issues of data comparability assessment following the harmonization of data from international public opinion survey projects.
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    Understanding al-Qaida's Grand Strategy
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-04-17) Habeck, Mary
    The war with al-Qaida is not over.  Despite the best efforts of three U.S. presidents, the engagement of the world's most competent and effective militaries, and counter-terrorism campaigns supported and carried out by the international community, al-Qaida has grown in strength and reach over the past 20 years.  How an organization without territory and without the institutions and protections of a nation-state has managed to thrive under constant pressure from almost every country on the globe demands explanation.  It is also vital for our security that we understand al-Qaida’s likely future courses of action.  While there are many ways to approach these critical issues, understanding the strategies used by al-Qaida not only to survive, but to flourish during the fight, is absolutely essential.  Mary Habeck will address the key issue of al-Qaida's grand strategy, which is also the subject of her new book Attacking America: Al-Qaida's Grand Strategy (Basic Books, 2014).
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    Critical Foreign Policy Decisions: Continue or Change Course?
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-04-15) Hermann, Charles
    When government leaders have made major investments to a foreign or security policy, how do they respond to signals that the policy is failing? Exploration of four cases involving Lyndon Johnson (Vietnam), MacKenzie King (Canadian-U.S. free trade), Ariel Sharon (Israeli settlements), and George W. Bush (Iraq war) offer possible insights into critical factors hypothesized to influence their response.
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    Inequality, Distributive Conflict and Regime Change
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-04-11) Haggard, Stephen
    An important body of new work in comparative politics suggests a causal relationship between inequality, distributive conflict and changes both to and from democratic rule. However, we show that inequality does not appear to be associated with regime change. Moreover, the incidence of both democratic transitions and reversions to authoritarian rule that show signs of distributive conflict is small, accounting for less than half of all transitions during the "third wave" of democratization from 1980 to 2010. In this chapter of a book with Robert Kaufman, Haggard considers the role of social organization in distributive conflict transitions, contrasting them with transitions that occur in the absence of such conflict
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    The Logic of Connective Action: Public Engagement in the Digital Age
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-04-07) Bennett, Lance
    This presentation will explain the rise of personalized, large-scale publics in which diverse populations address the common problems of our times such as economic fairness and climate change. These episodes of mass engagement often entail diminished or modified roles for conventional organizations such as parties, NGOs, or movement groups that orchestrated most of political life in the 20th century. In some cases, formal brick and mortar organizations are almost absent, as in digitally mediated crowds such as Occupy Wall Street, in which dispersed local camps were coordinated through numerous technology platforms that enabled the flow of inclusive discourses such as "We Are the 99%." The talk explores how power is organized in these communication-based networks, how traditional media engage with them, and what political outcomes may result.
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    The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-04-02) Paul, T.V.
    Paul shows that excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan's limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable. The book offers a comprehensive treatment of Pakistan's insecurity predicament drawing from the literatures in history, sociology, religious studies, and international relations. It is the first book to apply the "war-making and state-making" literature to explain Pakistan's weak state syndrome. It also compares Pakistan with other national security states, Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan and Korea and their different trajectories.
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    The Relational Context of Radicalization: The Case of Jewish Settler Contention before and after the Gaza Pullout
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-04-01) Alimi, Eitan
    Why is it that some social movements engaged in contention experience radicalization of member factions, whereas others do not? The fact that in the vast majority of cases opposition movements experience a shift to political violence on the part of one or more organization must not lead us to overlook "exceptions to the rule." Indeed, there are times when violent-prone ideologies and aggressive propensities do not translate into violent mode of contention. To explain those exceptions, I argue that relational mechanisms mediate the influence of motives for aggression and ideologies that justify violence on actual engagement in violence, through their separate, but most centrally their combined operation in forming what I term Infrastructure of Coordination. A comparison of two "similar yet different in outcome" episodes of Jewish settler contention offers strong support for the key role relational mechanisms play in specifying the possibility of radicalization. Despite ample environmental stimuli and widespread violent-prone ideologies constant in both episodes, in the Gaza pullout radicalization was impeded as a result of high levels of coordination established between and within the contending parties and, conversely, in the dismantling of Amona outpost the disintegration of IOC propelled radicalization. Supportive evidence is provided from a multi-methods, mechanism-based design, including in-depth interviews with key players, content analysis of various movement-based news outlets, social network analysis, and contention-repression data. In concluding, I discuss the generalizability of the findings and the "exceptionality" of the Jewish settlement case.
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    Business for Peace Collaborative: Panel Discussion on USIP Public Education for Peacebuilding Support Progtram
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-03-25) Fisher, Ann; McMahon, Patrice; Gelpi, Chris; Haftel, Yoram; Ye, Mason
    This event will bring together scholars, students, policymakers and the business community. The goal is to think strategically on how economic development and business affects peace, and how peace building and end of conflicts impact regional development, rule of law, and economic growth.
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    Future of America's All-Volunteer Force
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-03-24) Laich, Dennis; Mansoor, Peter; Mueller, John
    "The United States has maintained an All-Volunteer Force (AVF) for its armed services for nearly 41 years. However, changes in demographics, military costs, and the national security environment raise the issue of whether the AVF can adapt to and overcome its current challenges. The goal of this event is to create dialogue on the subject of AVF, a topic critical to our nation’s future. This panel will highlight key aspects of the current discussion about the United States’ All-Volunteer Force in the context of fairness, efficacy, and sustainability by addressing differing points of view regarding this topic. This event will feature speakers from The Ohio State University who specialize in topics of national security and the U.S. military. In the discussion, Col. Peter Mansoor will advocate for the retention of the current all-volunteer military force, John Mueller will propose reducing the Armed Forces, and Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich will propose an alternative to the AVF concept."
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    Global Crisis: War, Climate Change, and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-03-19) Parker, Geoffrey
    Global Crisis examines how a fatal synergy between climate change and human inflexibility eradicated one-third of the planet's human population and unleashed an unparalleled spate of wars, invasions, and revolutions. Personal accounts and scientific data alike show how extreme weather disrupted growing seasons and destroyed harvests, bringing hunger, malnutrition, forced migration, and disease, and then, as material conditions worsened, economic chaos, political anarchy, and social collapse. The Global Crisis of the 17th century killed tens of millions of people. A natural catastrophe of similar proportions today – whether or not humans are to blame – will kill billions, produce dislocation and violence, and compromise international security and cooperation. Unlike our ancestors who faced the challenges of climate change 350 years ago, today we possess both the resources and the technology to mitigate the consequences through good policy and legislation. The consequences of inaction, in the 21st as in the 17th century, are intolerable: We can either pay to prepare now – or pay much more to repair later.
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    Lost Causes: Agenda Setting and Agenda-Vetting in the Global Issues Networks
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-03-07) Carpenter, Charli
    Carpenter will speak on human security networks and the role of agenda-setting.  Her research centers on the role of network structure in norm development, and contributes to the growing engagement by International Relations scholars with network theory as a theory, rather than as a metaphor for alternate forms of governance. She is particularly interested in how changes in information technology are both enhancing and also constituting networked forms of governance in the human security area. 
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    Vietnam, Walter Cronkite, and Today's Foreign Policy Lessons
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-02-28) Brinkley, Douglas
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    Free French Africa in World War II
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-02-24) Jennings, Eric
    This presentation focuses upon the contribution of African colonies to the Free French war effort of General Charles de Gaulle. Jennings contends that in its early years, between 1940 and 1942, the heart of Free France was not located in London, as standard accounts would have us believe, but rather in what was then known as French Equatorial Africa and French Cameroon. Britain did not provide the movement with the majority of its soldiers, raw materials, national territory, nor even its legitimacy and sovereignty. Territorially, Free France spanned from the Libyan border down to the Congo River, and to the scattered tiny French territories of the South Pacific and India. In 1943, the vast federation of French West Africa rallied what was then being called "Fighting France." The latter now harnessed an immense territory ranging from the Mediterranean to the Congo. The harnessing was often coercive, and much of the continent saw a marked increase in forced labor and coerced recruitment under Free French rule. While Free France was African, Africa was anything but free. Jennings shows how Gaullist jurist René Cassin and Equatorial French African governor Félix Eboué clashed over the latter’s efforts to codify and centralize forced labor. The former feared that the move would give the Free French movement a black eye. The Free French administration also encouraged a return to modes of rubber extraction (the collection of wild rubber in the tropical forests) that had long been decried by the likes of André Gide and Albert Londres, and that had once earned the Belgian Congo its murderous reputation. The mad rush for rubber, which saw a quadrupling of output in Free French Africa began in 1942, after the fall of British Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies, which together had hitherto produced 77 percent of the world’s latex. In other words, this story of extraction is directly tied to Allied demands. As important as Free French Africa was to allied transport routes, and for raising troops, its rubber supplies would prove absolutely essential to the war effort. This paper will thus focus on long-neglected African military and resource contributions to the Free French cause.
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    Explaining Political Violence Against Citizens in Northern Ireland: A Contention-Oriented Approach
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-02-20) Maney, Gregory
    In contrast to prevalent theories of "terrorism," Maney will present a contention-oriented approach to understanding political violence against civilians. To illustrate and to support this approach, the speaker will present findings from quantitative analyses of a multi-source database of civilian deaths taking place in Northern Ireland between 1966 and 2006. The talk will conclude with a discussion of the study’s implications for scholars and conflict transformation practitioners.
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    Who Cooperates?: Strategy Types and Reciprocal Behavior in Mass Populations
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-02-13) Scheve, Kenneth
    Cooperation in public goods problems shapes the functioning and long-term fate of political and economic systems. We investigate the determinants of cooperative behavior and individuals' strategy types in mass populations. We fielded large-scale representative surveys in four industrially advanced countries (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and included a public goods game that provides us with behavioral measures of cooperation. We find that socio-demographic factors, such as age, income, or education, largely fail to predict individual contributions but that expectations about the contributions of others are strong predictors of one's own contribution. We provide experimental evidence that the relationship between the expected contribution of others and own contributions is causal. We also show that the effect of expectations crucially depends on the strategies individuals employ and that these strategy types are not uniformly distributed across socio-demographic groups. These results help explain the varying success of groups within and across societies in realizing collective action and improve our ability to design institutions for solving domestic and global cooperation problems.
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    Spies, Allies, and Murder?: The Ominous Origins of the Tet Offensive
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-02-06) Nguyen, Lien Hang
    Although the Tet Offensive represented a major turning point in the Vietnam War, much of North Vietnam’s decision making surrounding the offensive remains unclear. Based on recently declassified materials from Vietnam, this paper reveals how North Vietnamese domestic politics and foreign relations influenced Hanoi’s strategy deliberation for the 1968 offensive.
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    Student Peace Conference and Peace Awards
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-01-24) Smith, Jocelyn; Carlarne, John
    The Student Peace Awards were initiated in 2013 by the Peace Studies Society student organization at The Ohio State University as a means of recognizing significant contributions by students to peace and justice. The 2014 Student Peace Awards is part of a half-day long celebratory conference that will include workshops on compassionate communication, peace through service, and a panel discussion on bridging the gap between theory and practice in the nonviolent defense of human rights.
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    The CIA: Its Origins, Its Transformation, and Its Militarization
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-01-16) Immerman, Richard
    The contemporary CIA more closely resembles Hollywood's fictional portrayal than the institution envisioned by the Truman administration and Congress in 1947. During the initial Cold War years, a confluence of bureaucratic politics, individual initiatives, and strategic preferences rapidly and radically transformed the CIA's identity from an agency established to collect and analyze intelligence to one preoccupied with covert and paramilitary operations. This legacy of distorted purpose continues to plague the CIA today. With the onset of the Global War on Terror it has evolved into what journalists describe as a "Killing Machine."  This talk by Richard H. Immerman traces this history and argues that the intelligence challenges of the 21st century demand that the CIA recommit itself to the "original intent" of its designers by rededicating itself to its core mission of analysis.
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    Chasing Ghosts: The FBI and Counter-Terrorism
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-01-13) Mueller, John
    After September 11, 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation greatly increased its efforts at, and changed its approach to, counter-terrorism. This talk explores the abrupt rise and continuing persistence of official fears of terrorism. Important in this is the effect of the "threat matrix" that coordinates and drives the quest to follow up 5000 almost entirely fruitless "threats" each day, a process some in the FBI call "ghost-chasing." In the process, an estimate is made about how many terrorist acts would have had to have been committed in the United States but for the intelligence and policing efforts of the Bureau to justify its counter-terrorism expenditures. Included is an examination of a set of case studies of all the apparent Islamist extremist plots since 9/11 to inflict damage in the United States. Also explored: the potential efficacy of policing efforts using simple, if forceful, warnings to putative terrorists rather implanting informants among them.