In 2010, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs received an endowment gift to fund faculty and graduate student research relating to issues of national security. The Andrew Berlin Family National Security Research Fund, established in honor of Professor David H. Bennett, operates through INSCT, a collaboration between SU Maxwell School and the SU College of Law.
By Whitney Baillie, Ph.D. Candidate, Maxwell School
The purpose of this study was to draw some preliminary conclusions about the factors that influence the credibility of U.S. nuclear security guarantees and consequently their effectiveness as a nonproliferation tool. It is not just a matter of whether nuclear security guarantees prevent U.S. allies from proliferating. Rather, I investigated the policy choices surrounding these guarantees that affect U.S. allies’ perceptions of the credibility of the guarantee. This is imperative because only a credible nuclear security guarantee can serve as a viable substitute for a country’s own nuclear arsenal, especially when they face a grave security threat.
By Jason Blessing and Elise Roberts, Ph.D. candidates, Maxwell School
In the post-9/11 world, fears of terrorism have led to growing anti-immigration sentiments among the public and calls for stricter national security measures. While recent studies have successfully discredited the general theory that immigration increases the risk of terrorist infiltration (Bove & Bohmelt, 2016), authors have largely ignored the terrorists next door. Domestic terrorism remains widely understudied (Simi, 2010); however, the threat is just as potent and pervasive as the danger posed by international actors. In recent decades, the greatest threat of domestic terrorism in the United States has come from right-wing extremists like White Supremacist groups (Piazza, 2015). Despite this, White Supremacist terrorism has been largely overlooked by scholars and has generally been characterized as an infrequent phenomenon. Moreover, White Supremacists are not seen as “authentic” terrorists by scholars, law enforcement, or the media (Jenkins, 2003). The neglect of White Supremacist terrorism in the academic community carries three important implications: it inhibits a comprehensive understanding of terrorism; it encourages the biased discourse that terrorism is a “foreign” problem; and it reinforces the conventional wisdom that White Supremacist terror is infrequent and does not merit serious investigation (Simi, 2010, p. 252). We seek to avoid these pitfalls by exploring how these terror groups portray different populations as threats to white supremacy.
Women are present on the frontlines of conflict as combatants, peacebuilders, victims, and more. Yet, when it comes to negotiating the peace they are conspicuously absent, meaning their needs often go ignored.
By Drew Holland Kinney, Ph.D. Candidate, Maxwell School
Why would politicians recruit soldiers for military coups d’état? The civil–military relations literature assumes politicians aspire to supremacy over the military; enabling praetorianism would risk their future rule. While civil–military relations widely recognizes the empirical fact of civilian participation in military takeovers, no study specifies or theorizes the topic.
This essay examines the conditions in which politicians recruit soldiers to seize power by investigating the understudied processes of military takeovers. Using British Foreign Office documents, Arabic language memoirs, and Polity data, I find that civilian statesmen in Iraq (1936) and Syria (1951) could not tolerate their civilian rivals’ incumbency but were unable to challenge them peacefully, so they recruited like-minded officers for coups. This suggests that while politicians do not necessarily want the army in the chambers, they sometimes favor praetorianism to the continued rule of their civilian opponents.
The Andrew Berlin Family National Security Research Fund Workshop
SU College of Law | March 31, 2017
Moderators: Professor Brian Taylor and Professor Colin Elman, Maxwell School
- The Curious Case of South Korea: Testing Competing Models of Nuclear Reversal
Whitney Baillie, Ph.D. student, Department of Political Science, Maxwell School
- Civilian Coups: Militarized Parties and Politicized Militaries in Post-Colonial Iraq and Syria
Drew H. Kinney, Ph.D. student, Department of Political Science, Maxwell School
- Recrafting the Peace Table? Gender and UN Mediation Discourse
Catriona Standfield, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, Maxwell School
- Networks of Meaning and Domestic Right-Wing Violence: White Supremacist Responses to Immigration Reform in the US
Jason Blessing and Elise Roberts, Ph.D. students, Department of Political Science, Maxwell School
“Countering Violent Extremism: An Introduction to the Challenges, Opportunities, and Future of Counterterrorism.”
Cora True-Frost, Associate Professor, SU College of Law
American Exceptionalism & the Construction of the War on Terror: An Analysis of Counterterrorism Policies Under Clinton, Bush, & Obama
Marc Barnett, MAIR and MPP Candidate, SU Maxwell School & Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany
This paper seeks to explain both the origins and the continuity of dominant counterterrorism (CT) policies that emerged under the George W. Bush Administration in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (9/11). The paper, firstly, examines the notion of American Exceptionalism as a defining political myth that affects foreign policy. Next, the post-Cold War security environment under President William J. Clinton is examined as a foundation and precursor to the Bush Administration policies. The paper then details the Bush Administration’s response both in policy and rhetoric to 9/11, a moment in which actors were less constrained due to the rising crisis.
After looking at the Bush Administration, the paper analyzes the endurance of certain CT policies under President Barack Obama and his administration. Next, the paper turns to the notion of American Exceptionalism to explain both the emergence and the endurance of the CT policies. The paper then turns to the next administration—that of Donald J. Trump—assessing the security environment and offering several recommendations. Finally, a brief conclusion is offered.
Funding allowed for archival research at the US Library of Congress.
While much attention has been paid to the American state’s reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the origins of institutions and ideas deployed in the War on Terror in historical conceptions of terrorism and political violence have been overlooked.
I analyze these historical origins through the American state’s response to Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Irish-American Fenian, and anarchist political violence from the end of the Civil War in 1865 until the 1920 bombing of Wall Street, the last alleged significant act of anarchist violence. I argue that this history is demonstrative of a process of threat construction and changes in institutions, laws and policies.
These changes came about through a mixture of complex social and political factors, but the perception of threat significantly influenced their content and the populations they were directed against. This was particularly the case in the state’s response to European anarchists, where the response could be described as against an ‘inflated’ perception of threat, while the response to the KKK and Irish-American Fenians was more constrained.
Funding allowed for archival research in Washington, DC, specifically at the US National Archives, the New York Public Library, and the American Catholic History Research Center, in order to read correspondence about American responses to anarchism and domestic terrorism by the departments of Justice and State, the White House, and Congress.
See also: Newell, M. “The Strategy of Exclusion in American Counterterrorism.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (February 2018)
Consent & Conquest: How the Western Way of Warfare Spread to the Indo-Pacific
Evan A. Laksmana, Ph.D. Candidate, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
My dissertation examines the spread of Western war fighting systems to the Indo-Pacific. Despite the growing interest among scholars and policymakers in Asian security affairs, few studies account for the variation in how different states effectively adopt and emulate Western military systems—and whether that variation affects their combat effectiveness.
The project argues that the different types of transmission pathways through which military systems travel from one state to another—whether it is coercive, cooperative, or commercial—plays a critical role in shaping the process of organizational emulation.
The project systematically integrates a comparative historical analysis of Meiji Japan, British India, and Cold War Indonesia, with statistical analyses of an original panel data of inter-state Asian warfare involving 15 states since the 1800s. The findings will elucidate key challenges and inform contemporary policymaking in the fields of regional security, defense modernization, local security force development, military assistance and training, as well as security sector reform.
Funding enabled the purchase of research materials, including statistical software (Stata), and archival research at MIT’s Center for International Studies and Harvard University’s Yenching Library (Boston, MA) and the US Library of Congress and National Defense University (Washington, DC).
The Historical Origins of Terror, Threat, & the Constitution of Security Practices
Michael Newell, Ph.D. Candidate, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Where do contemporary responses to terrorism come from? Mike Newell explores the history and relationship between the political meaning of “terrorism” and the choice of particular counterterrorism responses. He intends to use his analysis as a lens through which to view modern counterterrorism practices and to argue that the global “post-9/11” world is not necessarily distinct from any other historical periods.
Funding facilitated travel to national archives in Richmond, Surrey, UK.
INSCT (Keli Perrin) and the Moynihan Institute, Maxwell School (Ines Mergel, Randall Griffin)
SoTechEM examines the use of social media by emergency management and response organizations; collects and analyze data on their uses in order to identify best practices; and offers training to EM organizations on lessons learned.
Funding facilitated research and a training session for local EM practitioners.
Explaining Nuclear Behavior
David Arceneaux, Ph.D. Candidate, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
David Arceneaux’s research fills a gap in political science nuclear studies scholarship, which often examines how and why states pursue and achieve nuclear weapons but not how they behave once they acquire them. Specifically, Arceneaux is interested in how new nuclear states posture in an effort to achieve deterrence, coercion, or other perceived nuclear benefits.
Funding facilitated visits to archives at Texas A&M University and George Washington University and research panels at Texas A&M and Syracuse University.
Unsettling: Displacement During Civil Wars
Abbey Steele, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
Forty million people have fled their homes during contemporary wars. Yet in spite of its scale, displacement is poorly understood. Abbey Steele’s research argues that displacement depends on the form of violence, not the level, and shows how armed groups employ different forms depending on their goals and constraints.
Funding facilitated travel to Colombia to collect qualitative data to test the hypothesis, including interviews with key informants in order to gather more details related to armed groups’ strategies of displacing civilians.
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