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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy

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Sié Center News

August 2020 News

War by Other Means

August 7, 2020

CSIS's podcast, "Thank You For Your Service" - This episode tackles a big, important, and sensitive topic: the military and politics. How should we think about the military's role in domestic politics? What does partisan polarization mean for the U.S. military? Can military families get involved in politics without politicizing the armed forces? We talk with Mac Owens, David Burbach, Deborah Avant, and Sarah Streyder to answer these and other questions.

July 2020 News

Arms and influence? Chinese arms transfers to Africa in context

July 15, 2020

Peterson Institute for International Economics - Critics of China's global political and military ambitions sometimes assert that China has emerged as a major—and expanding—player in Africa's arms and security technology market and that, unlike the United States and its allies, China is a provider to "rogue" regimes that flout international norms on human rights and democracy. Speaking in 2019, US vice president Mike Pence castigated the Chinese regime for exporting "the very same technological tools that it uses in its own authoritarian regime," namely arms and surveillance technology.

Will the Coronavirus Fuel Conflict?

July 7, 2020

Foreign Policy - The coronavirus pandemic has led to over 500,000 deaths and strained health care systems worldwide. But it has also had damaging knock-on effects for the global economy and governance. One increasing risk is that these effects will lead to more episodes of large-scale internal violence, including civil war.

Ensuring Women's Rights during a Pandemic

July 7, 2020

Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2020

June 2020 News

The United States: Not a Failed Society, but a Failing Society

June 29, 2020

Duck of Minerva - The United States set a new single-day record for new COVID cases on June 24th through 26th, surpassing what had been hoped would the highest point of the curve on April 24. The United States is now in a two-horse race with Brazil to be the epicenter of the COVID pandemic. The economic and social sacrifices made to attempt to flatten the curve—sacrifices that include the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression and school closures that will have lifelong consequences for student outcomes—from March to May have essentially been rendered completely moot.

Military Dissent Could Curb Democratic Backsliding in the US

June 6, 2020

Political Violence at a Glance - In the wake of increasing military dissent over its use in response to the protests against police brutality, some analysts have been wringing their hands about a crisis in civil-military relations. Even those resisting the "crisis" language articulate worry. Civilian control of the military is taken to be a bedrock principle of democratic governance. Civil-military experts commonly see public expressions of disagreement with political leaders as political acts and worry that such statements, even by retired officers, violate norms, opening the way for insubordination or even intervention by active-duty personnel. Civilians, according to many, "have the right to be wrong".

Graduating Korbel Student Set to Continue Gender and Conflict Studies in PhD Program

June 5, 2020

DU Newsroom - "The ultimate plan is to do research that is socially important — that is relevant to people who are living under oppression," Sinduja Raja says.

DU Class Helps United Nations on Human Rights Abuses

June 4, 2020

DU Newsroom - More than a decade ago, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, just north of the Guatemalan border, activists rallied against a Canadian mining company. Tensions had grown between Blackfire Exploration Limited and protesters, who claimed the local barite mines harmed the environment and nearby communities. Peaceful demonstrations escalated in 2009, culminating in the murder of leading activist Mariano Abarca, allegedly at the hands of Blackfire employees.

DU class's UN white paper on corporate human rights abuses has shocking finds

June 4, 2020

Colorado Politics - More than half of worldwide human rights abuses from corporations are physical in nature — such as forced labor, trafficking and abduction — and environmental, concluded a white paper prepared in part by two University of Denver classes in business and international studies.

Virtual Panel: Enhancing Diversity and Strengthening Inclusion in Efforts to Bridge the Academia-Policy Gap

June 2, 2020

Bridging the Gap - Bridging the Gap hosted a virtual panel discussion on Enhancing Diversity and Strengthening Inclusion in Efforts to Bridge the Academia-Policy Gap, chaired by BtG co-director Naaz Barma with Debbi Avant, Debak Das, Jim Goldgeier, Carla Koppell, Erik Lin-Greenberg, Layna Mosley, Sara Plana, and Arturo Sotomayor. We are grateful to each of them for such an honest and impactful conversation on how gender, race, national origin, and sexual orientation have shaped their scholarly experience and how the academic community can come together to support students and peers on their career paths. We look forward to many more discussions like these and want to hear from you in our network as well.

Human Rights

May 2020 News

Directions for Research on Climate and Conflict

May 25, 2020

Earth's Future - The potential links between climate and conflict are well studied, yet disagreement about the specific mechanisms and their significance for societies persists. Here, we build on assessment of the relationship between climate and organized armed conflict to define crosscutting priorities for future directions of research. They include (1) deepening insight into climate–conflict linkages and conditions under which they manifest, (2) ambitiously integrating research designs, (3) systematically exploring future risks and response options, responsive to ongoing decision‐making, and (4) evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to manage climate–conflict links. The implications of this expanding scientific domain unfold in real time.

Korbel Professor Reimagines Genocide Course for COVID Times

May 14, 2020

DU Newsroom - "How do you teach in a moment when the way the world was, and the way you expect the world to be, are in flux?"

No Sure Victory: The Marines New Force Design Plan and the Politics of Implementation

May 14, 2020

War on the Rocks - Last year, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger outlined a transformative vision for the service. The move stunned national security experts. As a former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee tweeted at the time, "The blood of sacred cows is all over this thing." An intensive planning effort followed, the fruits of which the Marines recently revealed in its Force Design Plan 2030. The goal over the next decade is to field a notably smaller force that is better at working with the U.S. Navy, capable of operating in littoral environments, and less vulnerable to long-range precision-guided weapons.

Imagining a distanced future: centring a politics of love in resistance and mobilisation

May 1, 2020

LSE Blog - Globally we are witnessing and experiencing the many social implications of COVID-19, but less attention has been given to the loss of social spaces and the political and societal ramifications of this as we begin to navigate our reimagining of the 'public space'. Marie E. Berry and Milli Lake remind us why it is important for us to remember the importance of physical touch, intimacy and connection to build community, practice resistance, heal from trauma and escape oppression.

Covid-19's Third Shock Wave: The Global Food Crisis

May 1, 2020

The Nation - In San Antonio, 10,000 families began arriving before dawn on April 9 to receive free boxes of food at a shuttered mall; in a normal week, 200–400 families might show up. In Nairobi, Kenya, thousands of desperately poor people seeking government food aid on April 10 were beaten back by the police, causing multiple injuries. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, thousands of unpaid garment workers defied stay-at-home orders on April 13 to block roads and demand their wages, saying they'd rather risk contagion than go without food. "We are starving," said one protester. "If we don't have food in our stomach, what's the use of observing this lockdown?"

April 2020 News

COVID-19 and Armed Conflict: What We Know, and Why We Should Worry

April 23, 2020

Political Violence at a Glance - It is time to face up to the worrying implications of COVID-19 for armed conflict, even though there is little guidance from history or scholarship on such an extraordinary pandemic. Will COVID-19, as a common, existential enemy to all, lead to peace as the world collectively reflects on its shared humanity? Or will the devastating economic and social consequences of the crisis lead to conflict—a "pandemic" of violent extremism, riots, terror, jihad, attacks on minorities, or civil wars?

Global Leaders Vow To Resist Food Export Barriers

April 23, 2020

Law 360 - Having already committed to resist unnecessary trade restrictions on medical and safety equipment during the novel coronavirus outbreak, G-20 leaders on Tuesday made a similar vow to keep agricultural trade flows as open as possible during the crisis.

Coronavirus has hit American farmers from all sides

April 22, 2020

Axios - U.S. farmers are fighting for their livelihoods as the coronavirus pandemic slashes commodity values, cuts off supply chains and closes markets around the globe to their products.

Seizing Symbolic Targets is Crucial to Coup Success

April 15, 2020

Medium - To pull off a successful coup, conspirators must displace the incumbent leader by capturing or incapacitating him or her in some way. Once a leader is under their control, conspirators can force the leader to cede power or simply announce they are now in charge. To achieve this, all that coup makers need to do is capture the leader — taking control of the presidential palace, where the incumbent likely spends most of his or her time, should suffice.

Indian Ocean By-catch Claims Millions of Dolphins

April 9, 2020

Hakai Magazine - In fisheries management, "dolphin-safe tuna" is an oft-repeated success story. Signed into US law in 1990, the certification program imposed strict regulations on purse seine tuna fisheries in the eastern tropical Pacific, bringing to an end a string of deaths that saw millions of dolphins accidentally caught and killed in just a few decades.

As borders harden during pandemic, some countries look to hold on to their own food

April 8, 2020

Washington Post - In Kazakhstan, they are holding on to their flour and wheat. In Vietnam and India, it's rice. In Cambodia, it's fish and rice With grain-export giants Russia and Ukraine, the world is watching their next moves. A steady rise in countries limiting or banning food exports has triggered warnings from U.N. food agency leaders about possible disruptions to the global food supply as the world retrenches amid the covid-19 pandemic — potentially making critical staples such as wheat and rice more costly and harder to find.

Ensuring global food security in the time of COVID-19

April 6, 2020

Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) - The self-defeating drive by countries to impose export controls on medical gear in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has spread like an infection to foodstuffs. Major cereal exporters like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam are implementing or flirting with export restrictions that threaten to roil global food markets and—as we learned during the 2007–08 and 2010–11 food price spikes—augur poorly for global hunger and political stability.

There's No Good Reason to Hoard Anything, Especially Food

April 1, 2020

Bloomberg - There is no good reason for the Covid-19 pandemic to cause food shortages, at least of wheat, rice, or other staples. The virus isn't foodborne. Plenty of food continues to be produced, processed, and delivered despite illnesses and lockdowns, and the world's appetite hasn't abruptly increased.

March 2020 News

Public Health Research in Mainstream International Relations Outlets

March 30, 2020

Duck of Minerva - Steve Saideman's recent Duck piece on international relations scholars' relative silence on issues of pandemics, and public health more generally, has ruffled feathers and generated a lot of discussion: about marginalization of certain research outlets and methodologies, about the value of interdisciplinary work in a self-identifying-as-such-but-still-not-all-that-interdisciplinary discipline, and about what it means to say "IR as a field has little to say" vs. "individual IR scholars having said quite a bit."

Wrong Tools, Wrong Time: Food Export Bans in the Time of COVID-19

March 30, 2020

Peterson Institute for International Economics - In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, export controls on medical supplies like face shields and surgical gowns are slowing the global response to the growing threat. But now, major cereal exporters like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam are flirting with export restrictions that threaten to roil global food markets and—as we learned during the 2007–08 and 2010–11 food price spikes—augur poorly for global hunger and political stability. These are the wrong tools for addressing concerns about domestic food supplies. If major exporters are concerned about domestic food security, there are better and potentially more politically palatable ways of achieving it.

What U.S. Strategy Gets Wrong about China in Africa

March 2020

Peterson Institute for International Economics - The Trump administration's Africa strategy is rooted in three misconceptions about China's African footprint—and a fourth about US-Africa economic relations—that are either factually incorrect or overstated in terms of the broader strategic challenges they pose to US interests: (1) Chinese engagement in Africa crowds out opportunities for trade and investment with and from the United States; (2) Chinese engagement in Africa is resource-seeking—to the detriment of US interests; (3) Chinese engagement in Africa is designed to foster debt-based coercive diplomacy; and (4) US-Africa economic linkages are all one-way and concessionary (i.e., aid-based).

This is the biggest oil price crash in decades. That may not be great for the U.S. economy.

March 9, 2020

Monkey Cage (Washington Post) - Oil prices crashed Sunday by 30 percent, falling from the already low price of $45 a barrel for Brent crude to $31.52. The reason is that Saudi Arabia has effectively declared a price war in the global oil market, retaliating with steep discounts against Russia's refusal to work with OPEC. Oil prices were already down in 2020 because of the coronavirus, which is depressing demand for transportation fuels worldwide and especially in China.

The Ancient Art of Modern Warfare

March 4, 2020 

Poddtoppen - Answers to questions from podcast listeners from Dr. Deborah Avant, University of Denver and author of "The Market for Force" and Mr. Doug Brooks, President Emeritus of the International Stability Operations Association. They respond to questions about PMSCs, their status in international law, and interaction with military forces. In short, they answer, "Why follow the rules?"

Are We Radically Underestimating the Effects of Climate on Armed Conflict?

March 2, 2020

New Security Beat - Climate change is widely recognized as a "threat multiplier." From the United Nations to the G7 to the US Department of Defense, there is an emerging consensus that climate change poses risks to both human and natural security through a variety of complex and interrelated channels. The extent of those risks, and how they connect to armed conflict, however, remain widely debated.

Hackers could shut down satellites and turn them into weapons

March 1, 2020

Radio New Zealand - Satellites have the potential to revolutionize many aspects of everyday life, but there is also a very real risk that these same satellites could be shut down by hackers, who could then turn them into weapons. Dr. William Akoto is a cyber conflict commentator with the University of Denver. He says all it takes is a highly motivated and skilled hacker to shut down a satellite.

February 2020 News

If the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, will its military contractors stay? That's not clear

February 28, 2020

Monkey Cage (Washington Post) - Here's what we know about this invisible army. 

This Kenyan Marine Biologist Grew Up 17 Hours Away From The Ocean

February 27, 2020

Forbes - Kenyan marine biologist Nelly Isigi Kadagi grew up a rough, 17-hour drive away from the sea, but now she is one of the key figures in the conservation of some of the biggest, most mysterious fish in the sea: Billfish like marlin, swordfish and their close relatives.

Kadagi says that despite these big game fish being associated with sport fishing all over the world, very little is known in the western Indian Ocean about their numbers, range and reproductive habits – let alone what impacts climate change will have on all of those factors.

Hackers Could Shut Down Satellites - or Turn Them Into Weapons

February 12, 2020

The Conversation - Last month, SpaceX became the operator of the world's largest active satellite constellation. As of the end of January, the company had 242 satellites orbiting the planet with plans to launch 42,000 over the next decade. This is part of its ambitious project to provide internet access across the globe. The race to put satellites in space is on, with Amazon, U.K.-based OneWeb and other companies chomping at the bit to place thousands of satellites in orbit in the coming months.

Fisheries Management: A Possible Venue for Navigating Fisheries Conflicts in the Indian Ocean

February 10, 2020 

New Security Beat - A significant increase in fisheries-related conflicts in the Indian Ocean since 2000 is heightening regional tensions. These conflicts have ranged from purely verbal and diplomatic disputes to armed attacks on fishing vessels by coast guards and navies. These disputes are most often low-intensity, but constitute true "wild card" scenarios in which competing powers' navies reach the brink of engagement due to the actions of third parties that they neither command nor control. 

Hong Kong Women Upend Gender Roles in Democracy Fight

February 6, 2020 

Bloomberg - During Hong Kong's Occupy protests in 2014, Aria listened to Lady Gaga, put on makeup and wore cute outfits, embracing the ubiquitous "Goddess of Democracy" moniker at a time when online polls asked whether the city's few female leaders were wife or girlfriend material.

January 2020 News

Melis Ibisevic Left the Chaos of Bosnia for a Career in Law and Order

January 28, 2020

Westword - Denver Deputy Sheriff Melis Ibisevic was busing tables at the Chili's on the 16th Street Mall for a Special Olympics charity event this summer when someone ran into the restaurant and said that a man had just jumped off a nearby roof.

The Women's March: Reigniting Resistance

January 21, 2020

DU News - Four years after the first Women's March drew the largest protest crowd in U.S. history, women are still turning to civil resistance to protect their rights. But the protest has drawn its fair share of criticism too, with many asking, "What's the point?" Marie Berry, a self-described scholar-activist studying movements around the globe, shares her take on the march's successes, its place among a broader push for women's rights and what it means from a global perspective.

The War Machine Is Run on Contracts

January 17, 2020

The Atlantic - Mike Jabbar never met his replacement. But when Nawres Hamid died in a rocket attack on a military base in Iraq after Christmas, Jabbar saw photos of the wreckage and recognized the American flag he himself had helped paint on the door of a room now mangled. That was his old room, on his old base. It could have been him.

Bridging the Data Gap: Exploring Pillar III and Victims' Access to Remedy

January 13, 2020

White Paper prepared for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights