“More Arms Than an Octopus”: William C. Banks Discusses Mueller Investigation Latest with Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law: William Banks on Robert Mueller Investigation

William Banks, Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism for Syracuse University College of Law, will discuss how Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether or not Michael Flynn was involved in an attempt to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers. He speaks with Michael Best and Greg Stohr on “Bloomberg Law.”

Designing Coercive Institutions in Postconflict Settings, with Erica de Bruin

Date: Oct. 24, 2017
Time: Noon
Location: Global Collaboratory (Eggers 060)
David F. Everett Postconflict Reconstruction Speaker Series

 

“Designing Coercive Institutions in Post-Conflict Settings” will explore the trade-offs policymakers face in designing coercive institutions in the aftermath of conflict. In particular, it will show how aspects of security sector reform thought to reduce the likelihood that war resumes can inadvertently increase the risk of coups d’état, and identify concrete strategies to mitigate this risk. 

Erica De Bruin is an Assistant Professor of Government at Hamilton College, where she studies international security and civil-military relations. Her research focuses on the dynamics of military coups, design of coercive institutions, and sources of civilian support for armed groups. It has been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and Foreign Affairs online. She worked previously as a Research Associate in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and the New America Foundation in Washington, DC.

 

Trump & North Korea: Beware the Boogeyman

By David M. Crane

(Re-published from The Jurist | Aug. 11, 2017) Tyrants need a war. Looking back over the past hundred years one finds that tyrants come to power in conflict and remains in power largely due to conflict. It centers the populace, distracting them from other societal challenges to include their civil liberties.

Historically these conflicts created by a tyrant, dictator or insecure leader rarely succeed. The immediate result may be a distraction, but in the long term that nation, and its leader, end up weakened and in some cases worse off than they were before the conflict.

Politically weak or insecure leaders also need a distraction. I call those distractions boogeymen–nations, a peoples, or culture that the leader perceives to be a threat to the national security. This boogeyman also distracts from the political challenges both real and imagined that leader faces. Hitler had the Jews; Stalin capitalism; the Ayatollah the “Great Satin,” and Assad “terrorists” by way of a few examples.

Dictators and other leaders need a populace that is afraid. Fear is a powerful psychological tool to govern with and leaders use it for various reasons. A populace that is afraid of “something” looks to its leader for security and a solution. This is where the shadow of a boogeyman is useful. Fear can bring a society together in common cause.

Historically these conflicts created by a tyrant, dictator or insecure leader rarely succeed. The immediate result may be a distraction, but in the long term that nation, and its leader, end up weakened and in some cases worse off than they were before the conflict. Various circumstances intervene that were unintended consequences. History shows that these unintended consequences rarely benefit a leader.

Only the citizens of that country suffer those consequences. Simply put some of their loved ones do not come home. Tens of thousands perish their nation weakened politically and economically by the conflict. The nation itself loses stature internationally. Weakened trade through sanctions and other action only bring more unrest and insecurity.

The result is a country in worse shape than before the conflict. It all blows up in the tyrant’s face, with more unrest and division a result. In this information age, conflict is bad for global trade and business, unlike the industrial age where conflict was good for business. The world suffers from this type of threat and conflict as well.

As our President, politically weak, deeply insecure and challenged on all fronts looks for a distraction and a boogeyman, he conveniently has been handed one in the guise of Kim Jong-un and North Korea. From the President’s point of view, he has a “twofer,” a threat worthy of a conflict and a boogeyman. To maintain his political relevancy (and to silence whatever demons whisper to him) a looming crisis with nuclear implications is just what the doctor ordered. Words such as “fire and fury” ring true to him.

Suddenly the Russia scandal is off the front page. No one is talking about collusion, conspiracy, perjury or obstruction of justice. Attention is diverted across the Pacific Ocean to a hermit kingdom led by a crafty leader who uses just this type of tension to maintain his own power.

Kim Jong-un is a dictator, he needs a looming conflict, and he needs that boogeyman, as well, to distract his citizenry away from daily famine towards an impending attack by their boogeyman, the United States. The President has handed him politically a reason to lead his nation and consolidate power on a silver platter.

We have an insecure and an unstable leader in our President now in a possible “dance of death” with a brutal tyrant who is “crazy like a fox” …

To read the full article, click here.

 

Members of INSCT Offer Thoughts on North Korean Threat

(SU News | Aug. 11, 2017) Syracuse University faculty members William Banks, a professor in both the College of Law and Maxwell School, and Robert Murrett, who also is a professor at both the Maxwell School and the  College of Law, offer their thoughts on the possible threat of North Korea to U.S. interests at home and abroad. Both are also members of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT).

“The US is forbidden from using military force against North Korea absent a Security Council Resolution or action by North Korea against us that would trigger self-defense.”

When it comes to declaring war on North Korea, according to Banks, the founding director of INSCT, “Under United States law, the president cannot lawfully strike militarily at North Korea without authorization from Congress. Under international law, the U.S. is forbidden from using military force against North Korea absent a Security Council Resolution or action by North Korea against us that would trigger self-defense.”

When asked if the armistice still in place from 1953 between the U.S. and DPRK gives the U.S. president international law options he might not have when dealing militarily with another country, Banks says “the fact that the Korean War ended in the stalemate of an armistice has little or no bearing on the current military situation and the legality of a strike against North Korea.”

As for Murrett, the former director of naval intelligence, “When it comes to the intelligence assessments of North Korea, we look at three tiers: their nuclear capability, the weaponization of their nuclear capability and the types of delivery vehicle they have, be they missiles, submarines or aircraft. When it comes to degrees of certainty in regard to North Korea’s current nuclear capability, I have very high confidence in the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community, and these intelligence assessments will influence U.S. policy and planning.

“The U.S. military is a planning machine and U.S. Forces Korea, part of the U.S. Pacific Command, has detailed contingency plans for the Korean Peninsula—drawn up in collaboration with South Korea and Japan—which offer a range of different options. Although I am concerned about the North Korean threat to Guam—that territory is an essential part of the U.S. presence in the Pacific—we can’t forget our Pacific allies, not just South Korea and Japan but Australia, New Zealand and others. We must keep them informed of the planning we perform and the diplomacy we execute.”

Members of INSCT Offer Thoughts on North Korean Threat

War Games: Robert B. Murrett Discusses North Korea Tensions with CNBC

US-South Korean war games provide trigger that could further inflame Pyongyang

(CNBC | Aug. 10, 2017) Annual war games exercises with tens of thousands of U.S. and South Korean forces are expected to start later this month and could further inflame tensions with North Korea.

Defense experts see little or no chance Washington will call off the two-week drills. They believe doing so would jeopardize readiness and be the wrong signal to nuclear-armed North Korea and U.S. allies in the region. The North has previously indicated it might sit down for talks but first wanted joint military exercises to be halted.

The North Korean regime led by 33-year-old Kim Jong Un sees the drills as a provocation and sometimes responds with threats and a show of power. For example, last year the hermit regime conducted its fifth nuclear test exactly a week after the joint military exercises had formally concluded …

… In June, a North Korean diplomat raised the possibility that Pyongyang might be “willing to talk” with the U.S. about freezing its nuclear and missile tests but first asked for the U.S. to “completely stop” large-scale joint military exercises with South Korea, temporarily or permanently.

“I would be reluctant to trade on those terms because of a signal it may be sending to others around the world and specifically to others that rely upon us heavily in the region,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Murrett, deputy director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University.

Murrett, a former director of Naval Intelligence who also ran the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, added that it still maybe a good idea to “do a day in, day out” assessment because of the situation on the Korean peninsula …

To read the full article, click here.

 

No Fishing Expedition: William C. Banks Talks Russia Probe with Bloomberg Law

Rosenstein Says Probe is not a “Fishing Expedition”

(Bloomberg Law | Aug. 7, 2017) William C. Banks, Director for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University College of Law, discusses the ongoing investigation surrounding Russian involvement in the 2016 election. He speaks with Greg Stohr.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2017-08-07/rosenstein-says-probe-is-not-a-fishing-expedition-audio

Journalism & International Justice: David M. Crane Chautauqua Lecture Now Online

(July 18, 2017) “Journalism and International Justice” with David M. Crane, Syracuse University College of Law and former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court of Sierra Leone, and Brian Rooney, journalist and winner of four Emmy Awards and two Edward R. Murrow Awards.

This recording is part of the Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History & Nature (C-SAAHN) and Chautauqua Archives Heritage Lecture Series 2017.

Lady Liberty’s Promise Matters to Immigration Law

By Ryan J. Suto 

(Re-published from The Hill | Aug. 4, 2017) President Trump and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue’s (R-Ga.) White House announcement of the new version of the RAISE Act, a bill that aims to lower legal immigration to the U.S. by more than 40 percentby turning away non-English speakers and low-skilled or unskilled immigrants, flies in the face of American ideals and is simply bad policy.

Miller’s dismissal of the reference to the Statue of Liberty in a policy discussion shows a narrow understanding of the framing of ‘American tradition.’” 

The bill itself is problematic first because it awards points for “English-language ability,” which will discriminate against millions of hard-working and well-meaning individuals from non-English speaking countries. This preference reflects the broader demographic goals implicit in the Trump administration’s other policies, such as the wall on the Mexican border and Muslim ban.

Second, the bill makes no economic sense. The Bipartisan Policy Center stated, “The RAISE Act’s goal of reducing legal immigration is a threat to the U.S. economy and would place additional strains on the Social Security system by reducing the size of the labor force.”

Later that day, White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller answered questions about the new RAISE Act from the Brady briefing room. At the start of a heated exchange, CNN’s Jim Acosta, a first-generation Cuban American, invoked “American tradition” in challenging the law, referencing the Emma Lazarus poem, “The New Colossus,” that appears on the monument: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

In response, Miller stated, “The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of Liberty enlightening the world, it’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to was added later is not part of the actual Statue of Liberty.” During the exchange with Acosta, Miller rhetorically asked what number of immigrants would meet the “Statue of Liberty poem’s law of the land.”

Miller’s dismissal of the reference to the Statue of Liberty in a policy discussion shows a narrow understanding of the framing of “American tradition.” That tradition includes more than just what is found in dusty law books, but also what is called meta-doctrine. Meta-doctrine is composed of the concepts and prescriptions that provide structure and limitations to specific legal doctrines. They form the spirit of the country and define our goals and how we see ourselves …

To read the full article, click here.

INSCT CAS in Postconflict Reconstruction alumnus Ryan J. Suto (JD/MS/MAIR ’13) is Government Relations Manager for the Arab American Institute, an organization that encourages the direct participation of Arab Americans in political and civic life.