“Countering Violent Extremism: The Challenges and Opportunities the Initiatives Present”
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
ABSTRACT: 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.
Michael Newell, Ph.D. Candidate, SU Maxwell School, Syracuse University
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.
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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