2014-15 Mershon Center Speakers and Conferences

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    Military Frontiers: a Graduate Student Symposium, International Security in Three Parts: Poniard, Pen and Politician
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-05-01) Curzon, Daniel; Watson, Mason
    This iteration of the Military Frontiers series of graduate student symposiums focuses on expanding the boundaries from previous conferences. This symposium will feature interdisciplinary panels whose wide array of thematic topics meet through their analysis of change in power structures. The graduate student presenters cover a breadth of history. The topics range from secret interwar period treaties between Germany and the Soviet Union to state formation during civil wars to the efficacy of drone strikes. Parties interested in military or diplomatic history, or political science are encouraged to attend and help our presenters achieve a wider perspective on their project.
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    Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-04-30) Brands, Hal
    Hal Brands is assistant professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. He is a historian whose research focuses on U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, Cold War history, Latin American security and diplomacy, and other strategic and military issues. He previously worked at the Institute for Defense Analyses outside of Washington, D.C., and has served as a member of the RAND Corporation Grand Strategy Advisory Board. At Duke, he is an affiliate of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy and serves on the Executive Board of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies.
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    The Political Economy of International Security
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-04-22) Brooks, Stephan
    The premium on thinking carefully about how economic factors can influence security affairs has arguably never been greater. This presentation will delineate why our underlying understanding of the role of economics in international relations is inadequate and how this can be rectified.
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    The Democratic Legitimacy of Border Coercion: Freedom of Association, Territorial Dominion, and Self-Defense
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-04-20) Abizadeh, Arash
    According to the democratic borders thesis, a state's regime of border control is democratically legitimate only if the laws governing it result from political processes in which both citizens and foreigners can participate. This is because, to be democratically legitimate, the (coercive) exercise of political power must be democratically justified to all subject to it; and both citizens and foreigners are subject to a polity's regime of border control. Abizadeh defends this thesis against three objections. First, it might be argued that legitimate states have the right to close their borders thanks to a collective right of freedom of association, grounded in self-determination. He argues that such an argument, while grounding a negative claim-right against coercively imposed association, fails to establish a liberty-right to coerce others to prevent unwelcome association. Moreover, it misconstrues the proper collective subject of a right of self-determination: not only the persons whom state agents recognize as members, but all persons subject to the coercive exercise of political power. Second, one might object that citizens enjoy rights of dominion over the territory of their state, and may thus unilaterally refuse entry to foreigners. Abizadeh responds that just as property laws, to be democratically legitimate, require democratic justification to those subject to them, so too must democratically legitimate border laws. Finally, one may object that the coercive exercise of political power may sometimes be legitimate even if not democratically legitimate. He concedes this, but argues that the lack of democratic legitimacy imposes dynamic duties to enable democratic legitimization in the future.
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    Mechanisms of Morality: Why the U.S. Public Supports Humanitarian Interventions
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-04-15) Kreps, Sarah
    This research investigates public attitudes towards humanitarian intervention, first whether support is higher than alternative uses of force, and second how much the humanitarian aspect of these interventions matter relative to other characteristics such as multilateralism and strategic interests. It answers these questions with a survey experiment that compares support for humanitarian intervention with baseline intervention scenarios and also probes the mechanisms through which humanitarian interventions generate support.We develop and test three categories of mechanisms: 1) internalized humanitarian norms, 2) instrumental signals about risk and cost, and 3) strategic interests. Our findings suggest that the public is more favorably disposed toward humanitarian intervention, with most of that increase in support resulting from the view that there is a moral obligation to intervene to defend women and children, which offers support for the internalization of norms mechanism. Perceptions that humanitarian intervention will be either less costly or have important strategic consequences were far less consequential.The findings have important implications for theories about post-Cold War intervention norms as well as for the circumstances under which states use military force.
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    The Adaptive Challenge of Climate Change: How Do We Make a Quantum Leap to Sustainability?
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2014-04-08) Leichenko, Robin; O'Brien, Karen
    Robin Leichenko and Karen O'Brien will discuss climate change in the context of globalization and its implications for equity and human security, including the types of responses that can lead to an equitable and sustainable future. Drawing on recent IPCC reports, they argue that "bending the curves" calls for more than technical solutions -- it calls for challenging some key assumptions about social change. The adaptive challenge of climate change may, in fact, call for the transformation of science itself, including the role that the social sciences play in integrated global change research.
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    A New Cold War? Politics, Policies, and Consequences
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-04-07) Rudesil, Dakota; Hudson, Gerry; Herrmann, Richard
    Following the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in early 2014, the crisis in Ukraine persists as fighting between the army and pro-Russian separatist rebels continues. The European Union and United States have responded by announcing new sanctions against Russia and negotiating a ceasefire, which was violated just five days after its inception. The outcome of the conflict remains to be seen, though the issues at hand, including economic trade and arms control difficulties, are reminiscent of former conflicts between Russia and the West. This calls to question, should this recent collapse in relations be considered "a New Cold War"?
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    Legitimating Alien Rule
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-04-02) Hechter, Michael
    In his talk, Hechter suggests that alien rule can become legitimate to the extent that it provides governance that is both effective and fair. Governance is effective to the degree that citizens have access to an expanding economy and an ample supply of culturally appropriate collective goods. Governance is fair to the degree that rulers act according to the strictures of procedural justice. These twin conditions help account for the legitimization of alien rulers in organizations of markedly different scales. These principles to the legitimization of alien rulers in states (the Republic of Genoa, 19th and 20th century China, and modern Iraq), colonies (Taiwan and Korea under Japanese rule), and occupation regimes, as well as in less encompassing organizations such as universities (academic receivership), corporations (mergers and acquisitions), and stepfamilies. Finally, Hechter will speculate about the possibility of an international market in governance services.
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    The Cold War's Killing Fields
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-03-27) Chamberlin, Paul
    Chamberlin will examine the darker side of the superpower struggle: a vast, bloody conflict fought to prevent nuclear war, mark out the boundaries of the American and Soviet empires, and decide the fate of societies throughout the developing world. The Cold War tore through the Third World as a series of military interventions, proxy wars, and violent revolutions – a nearly unbroken chain of violence between 1945 and 1990 that left some 15 million dead.
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    The Continent of International Law: (Im)precision and Reservations
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-03-12) Koremenos, Barbara
    Barbara Koremenos is an associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Koremenos focuses on how international law can be structured to make international cooperation most successful. Theoretically, she develops hypotheses about how details of international law help countries confront harsh international political realities, and thereby increase the incidence and robustness of international cooperation. Empirically, she introduces systematic testing of hypotheses, featuring the only dataset that employs a random sample of agreements across the issue areas of economics, environment, human rights, and security.
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    The Wisdom of Crowds and the Stupidity of Herds
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-03-11) Zeckhauser, Richard
    Richard Zeckhauser is the Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University. He pioneered the field of policy analysis and currently addresses an array of policy areas where uncertainty plays a major role. His seminal contributions to decision theory and behavioral economics include the concepts of status quo bias, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and the analytics of ignorance. He came in first (Mixed Pairs, 2007), second (Mixed Teams, 2003 and 2012), and third (Open Pairs, 2004) in recent national contract bridge championships.
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    Central Intelligence before the CIA
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-03-02) Cullather, Nick
    "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free," reads the inscription in the lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley. But how does one produce truth, what constitutes knowing, and who, exactly, is Ye? These questions preoccupied early theorists of "central intelligence," an idea that gave rise to an agency. This talk will examine the mid-century modernist ambition for a streamlined, rationalized flow of information that would remove the guesswork from foreign policy. The CIA is often seen as culminating an espionage tradition going back to Nathan Hale, but its intellectual origins have a closer kinship to Esperanto, IR theory, University Microfilms International, and other utopian schemes for comprehending a complex and violent world.
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    The Iran-Iraq War: The War No One Knows About
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-02-26) Murray, Williamson
    Murray will provide a brief discussion about the Iran-Iraq War in which nearly 1 million Arabs, Kurds, and Iranians perished. The talk will examine the course and consequences of the most costly war in the past 35 years.
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    Climate Change: A Threat to the Waning of War
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-02-16) Gleditsch, Nils Petter
    War remains a major threat to human security. However, despite many recent dramatic events, war is on the wane as a tool in human affairs. The number of ongoing armed conflicts, the lethality of war as measured by annual battle-deaths, and the incidence of genocide and politicide and other forms of one-sided violence are all declining.Scholars have outlined various possible challenges to the continued waning of war. A leading candidate is climate change, which is widely believed to wreak havoc not just to the economy but also to the security of the planet. However, the evidence base for such beliefs is precarious. Scholars have failed to agree on any robust relationship between climate change and conflict. And the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the consequences of climate change does not provide a clear basis for alarmist predictions.Armed violence continues to present an urgent problem, as is seen notably in several ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. But research indicates that economic and political factors trump climatic ones in generating violence, and this is where countermeasures to violence should be focused. With regard to the social effects of climate change, other problems are probably more important than war. The main concern is simply uncertainty.
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    Rebooting the Cold War: Cultural Narratives of Triumphalism and Nostalgia
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-02-05) von Eschen, Penny
    The lecture will examine the stakes of U.S. policy makers and cultural producers' national and global discourses about the Cold War. Von Eschen argues that a conservative narrative about the Cold War was consolidated in the 1999-2000 George W. Bush campaign, and that this account of the Cold War fundamentally shaped American responses to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. This narrative enabled the simultaneous exponential extension and privatization of government security and surveillance under the fears of terrorism and of an extended siege by an enemy.Triumphalist and nostalgic views of the Cold War were not simply top down inventions of politicians, academics, and pundits. To understand the development and deployment of Cold War stories, we must exit the realm of formal politics and ask how and why conservative stories about the Cold War gained traction within a broader public. The lecture investigates the stakes involved in Cold War memory and nostalgia through readings of multiple media representations of the past within intersecting sites of politics, journalism, and popular culture.
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    Transitions in Vernacular Religiosity: The Post-Soviet Case
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-02-02) Povedak, Istvan; Povedak, Kinga
    This workshop aims to introduce the changes and transformations of vernacular religiosity of Central and Eastern Europe in the past half-century. The first part of the lecture will focus on the religious circumstances of the Socialist era, the survival strategies of vernacular religiosity, the role of religious music as a countercultural practice. The second thematic part analyzes the transformations after 1989, the influx of transnational religious movements in the region such as the Pentecostal awakening among Romani groups and the “Neopagan-Christian war.” The aspects of religious transformations will be demonstrated through Hungarian case studies.
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    The Sacralization of Nation: How Neonationalism Affects Vernacular Culture in Post-Socialist Hungary
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-02-12) Povedak, Istvan
    During the past decade, there has been a significant transformation in the way that certain Hungarian subcultures relate to their national consciousness. Beginning with the spread of some alternative historians' ideas on the mysterious origin of Hungarian people, numerous concepts connecting to neonationalism have appeared and gained increasing popularity. These concepts can be found not only in politics but in almost all segments of culture, from vernacular religion to festivals, from popular arts and music to the reinterpretation of historical heroes.
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    Vernacular Religious Wars: The Battle of Sükösd
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-01-29) Povedak, Istvan
    This workshop will feature István Povedák, who will speak on vernacular religious wars. Conflicts between believers and the clergy arose in a small Hungarian village in 1993 when a woman claimed that Jesus appeared to her and asked her to serve as his messenger. Since then Marika, the visionary of Sükösd, has received messages from Jesus on every first Friday of the month. During these long rituals, the woman experiences the Stations of the Cross and relives the sufferings of Christ until she finally "dies" and falls unconscious. In the past two decades her "Golgotha" induced a remarkable pilgrimage from different parts of Hungary. Despite prohibition by Hungarian bishops, the chapel – built by Marika and her followers – is filled with pilgrims waiting for the message of Jesus mediated by the visionary.This lecture will examine the contrarily interpreted phenomena that generated significant tensions in the vernacular religiosity of Hungarian Roman Catholic believers. A central question of the lecture is how this movement has been incorporated in the "playground of pseudo-historians." Though the practice has taken on a neonationalist overtone, it has had little to no international attention.
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    The Politics of the International Rule of Law
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-01-28) Hurd, Ian
    The international rule of law is often seen as a centerpiece of the contemporary international order. It is routinely reaffirmed by governments, scholars, and activists as the modern alternative to brute force. It is said to reduce violence, generate stability, and provide accountability, and that these benefits follow naturally when governments comply with rather than violate their legal obligations.Despite this popularity, however, the concept itself is rarely defined and its politics rarely explored. In this project Hurd considers the political implications of the turn to law in global politics. He examines the international rule of law as a political system, one which distributes power, authority, and obligation among actors. It defines the authority that constitutes states; it endows a language of political legitimation in the categories of lawful and unlawful state behavior; and it defines the parameters of responsibility and irresponsibility for the harms that arise from international acts. Hurd explores these effects across a series of recent disputes that show the distinction between legality and illegality is being constructed through judicial processes, legal interpretation, or power politics.
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    The Right to Exclude Immigrants and its Limits
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2015-01-26) Watkins, David
    This talk critically examines the normative foundations of the right to exclude prospective immigrants. On what grounds can such exclusion be justified? Watkins first argues that a new argument for the permissibility of such exclusions, the "associative ownership" (AO) account advanced by Ryan Pevnick in Immigration and the Constraints of Justice: Between Open Borders and Absolute Sovereignty, holds more promise than previous nationalist and freedom of association-based accounts. Advocates of AO note two clear exceptions to the right to exclude under this theory — refugees and the children of unauthorized migrants.Drawing on recent work by Rogers Smith, Watkins argues that AO must admit to a third category of exception: Those who are currently outsiders but whose identities have been shaped and constituted by past coercive political and economic decisions of the political community in question also have a legitimate demand for inclusion. AO should recognize this sort of exception, and recognize that national identity may be an inadequate sorting mechanism to determine who merits such an exception. Watkins concludes with some reflections on the problems generated by methodological nationalism for the evaluation of demands for exceptions to the right to exclude would-be immigrants.