What Were We Thinking? Selected Schar School Op-Eds (January 2022)


From the Hill:

Desperately Needed: 21st Century DOD Budget Process

It takes me up to 40 hours to cover the basics, and—despite best intentions (and I hope good teaching)—the complexity of the system leaves bright and intelligent DOD managers confused and frustrated. Congress is right: Something needs to be done. But what?

—Ronald Marks


From the Diplomat:

Is Taiwan’s International Space Expanding or Contracting?

Of course, Beijing was waiting to pounce on the opportunity to snatch one more formal ally away from Taiwan.

—Gerrit van der Wees


From the Washington Post:

Youngkin’s Use of Executive Orders to Appease the GOP Base Comes with Many Downsides

Manifestly political executive orders and executive directives can exist in a sort of legal limbo and create administrative quagmires, as Youngkin has already learned. 

—Mark J. Rozell


From Small Wars Journal:

ISIS or al-Qaeda: Which Looms as the Greater Threat to Global Security?

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, however, has complicated the ISIS-al-Qaeda conflict.

—Mahmut Cengiz


From RealClear Energy:

Innovation Uptake: The Final Frontier for Energy Policy

President Biden announced to the world at November’s climate summit in Glasgow that “the United States is back.” Clean energy innovation uptake policies are vital to turn that promise into a reality.

—David M. Hart


From the Tampa Bay Times:

Why Secret Searches for Florida University Presidents Are Just a Bad Idea

We have yet to identify any empirical evidence that supports the claim that “secret searches” result in hiring the best candidates—and we’ve been studying this for 10 years.

—Judith Wilde and James Finkelstein


From the Washington Post:

Can Glenn Youngkin Change the Way Republicans Run in Virginia?

The Youngkin model, however, isn’t a cure-all prescription for future success. It is of little or no use in some races, particularly in the Deep South where unfailing allegiance to Trump is sufficient to win both the GOP nomination and, perhaps, the fall election.

—Mark J. Rozell


From the National Interest:

Could a Democratic China Supplant America’s Role in the World?

Still, I can’t help but wonder: What if Garside is right and China does undergo a surprising democratic transformation? This has happened, after all, in numerous countries already. So, democratization happening in China cannot be ruled out.

—Mark N. Katz


From the Detroit Free Press:

University of Michigan May Have to Pay Fired Schlissel to Keep Him Off Campus

At least for our public universities, we believe it is time for legislatures and governing boards to put an end to what we’ve called platinum parachutes for university presidents. When presidents part ways with their university, they should not pass go and should not collect $2 million.

—Judith Wilde and James Finkelstein


From the Hill:

Republicans, COVID, and the Rise of ‘Militant Ignornance’

Sen. Moynihan became indignant. “In my office, we do not criticize ignorance,” he said. “Most people who are ignorant can’t help it. They had no opportunity to learn.”  

—Bill Schneider


From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

A Better Way to Increase Faculty Diversity

Finally, universities should award funding to their colleges and departments based on those programs’ success in recruiting, retaining, and promoting Black faculty members. 

—Tameka Porter and Mark J. Rozell


From the National Interest:

Why America Should Rejoin UN Peacekeeping Missions

In fact, neglecting such a need will lead to greater international instability, along with the likelihood of increased mass migration and ideological extremism.

—Arslan Malik


From Small Wars Journal:

Field Report: Security in Tamaulipas Today—Simulated Peace

The number of homicides and crimes has remained at extremely high levels to date and kidnappings and extortions by organized crime continue, often acting in collusion with the authorities.

—Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, et. Al


From the Atlantic Council:

Iran’s New President Just Met with Vladimir Putin in Russia. What to Make of It?

Thus, the Putin-Raisi summit seems to have been less about the expansion of Russian-Iranian cooperation and more about its resumption.

—Mark N. Katz


From the Hill:

Is Putin Calculating Correction on Ukraine?

If this is how he thinks, Putin’s calculations about America and the West being unwilling to fight over Ukraine are undoubtedly accurate. 

—Mark N. Katz


From the Center Square:

U.S. Natural Gas is Critical to Strengthening America’s National Security

The U.S. is blessed with abundant natural gas and oil. Soaring energy costs for our allies require policies that support—not hinder—the safe and responsible production, transportation, and export of American natural gas.

—Richard Kauzlarich


From the Hill:

Why Our Parties Can’t Govern

Since the 1960s, liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats have gone the way of the dodo bird. They have become nearly extinct in their native habitats (liberal Republicans in the Northeast, conservative Democrats in the South).

—Bill Schneider


From the Washington Post:

The Year in Virginia Politics and Policy

The Republican sweep of the offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general and the GOP winning a majority in the House of Delegates show that Virginia is politically in the mainstream of American politics, a state dominated by moderates who punish perceived excesses toward the left or the right.

—Mark J. Rozell


From American City and County:

How the Past Informs the Future: 12 Predictions for 2022

As an optimist I believe this is a great opportunity to continue to move towards the digital transformation of government and provide the time for strategic planning and action. This is the time to work on making government more resilient and future friendly.

—Alan R. Shark


From World Politics Review:

Yemen’s Small Islands Hold Major Strategic Value

Ravaged by over seven years of war, Yemen continues to witness escalating violence as 2022 begins. 

—Jon Hoffman



In Guatemala, Ex-Paramilitaries Face Trial for Wartime Rape of Indigenous Women

The accused—all former members of the Civil Self-Defense Patrols (PAC), paramilitaries created by the Guatemalan army—likely did not imagine that the women survivors would successfully recuse that judge.

—Jo-Marie Burt and Paulo Estrada


From the New Arab:

A Volatile Year Ahead for Energy Markets in the Middle East

Meanwhile, in energy-importing MENA economies, energy prices are expected to be consistently high and the global supply chain is likely to be disrupted, causing increasing pressures on consumer prices.

—Omid Shokri


From the Hill:

VP Dilemma: The Establishment or the Base?

Biden has promised to name a Black woman to the Court. He could name Vice President Kamala Harris.

—Bill Schneider


From the National Interest:

Has America’s Influence in the Middle East Really Declined?

Many of those who decry the loss of American influence in the Middle East point to the rise of Russian influence there. But compared to the past, Russia’s comeback is not all that impressive.

—Mark N. Katz


From American City & County:

Time for Strategic Up-Reach—Battling the Real Problem with IT Governance

It’s all too easy to ignore the need to upgrade legacy equipment and fortify cybersecurity defenses. It appears that the old mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” still exists.

—Alan R. Shark


From Responsible Statecraft:

Counter-Revolutionary? A Deeper Look at Israel’s Relationships with Arab Autocrats

Despite the rhetoric espoused by its leaders, Israel has opposed democratic transitions in the Middle East and benefits from the region’s lack of democracy. 

—Jonathan Hoffman