What Were We Thinking? Selected Schar School Op-Eds (October 2021)


From the Hill:

Moscow Won’t Side with Washington Against Beijing Just Because We Think It Should

If Putin—or his successor—ever decides that it is in Moscow’s interests to ally with the U.S. against China, it will not be because Washington convinces him to do so. It will occur, instead, because Putin becomes so fearful of China that he himself seeks cooperation with Washington against it. 

—Mark N. Katz


From the Washington Post:

In Nationalizing Virginia’s Tight Governor’s Race, Candidates and Parties Escalate a Trend

Trump, for his part, seems oblivious.

—Mark J. Rozell


From the Hill:

The Root of Joe Biden’s Troubles

A professional politician is expected to have the skills to reconcile competing interests, make deals and get things done. His job is to deliver results. Biden is under enormous pressure right now to do just that.

—Bill Schneider


From the Hill:

America’s Politics May Not Be as Hopeless as We Think

But in democratic countries like the U.S., politicians remain fundamentally dependent on public support. Recent and historical events reveal that shifts in public opinion can rapidly change national politics.

—Frank Manheim


From the Conversation:

A Century After Partition, Ireland’s Churches Are Cooperating More Closely Than Ever

Rather, the recent increase in ecumenical activities is driven by a new generation of church leaders who grew up during the “Troubles,” a three-decade era of political violence in Northern Ireland, and share concerns over current issues.

—Ger Fitzgerald


From Responsible Statecraft:

How Arab Autocrats Benefit from Newfound Friendship with Israel

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, have begun cultivating relationships with high-profile Jewish leaders and Christian Evangelicals within the United States. Such efforts are part of a broader project pursued by these governments to promote so-called “moderate Islam” (i.e. state-controlled Islam) to appeal to the West and demonize domestic opposition. 

—PhD student Jonathan Hoffman


From the Washington Post:

Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Nominees Couldn’t Be More Opposite on Key Issues

The undercard contest between Ayala and Sears, overshadowed by the gubernatorial race, is among the most remarkable in Virginia history.

—Mark J. Rozell


From Al Jazeera:

Imran Khan’s Talks with the Pakistan Taliban Will Not Bring Peace

Khan was the avatar for a deeply sympathetic position towards the Taliban. Not for nothing did he earn the moniker “Taliban Khan.”

—Ahsan Butt


From the Washington Post:

Virginia’s Election May Show the Potency of Vaccine Mandates as Public Policy

On a follow-up question about whether he felt vaccinations for diseases such as mumps, measles and rubella, currently required for public school attendance, should also be optional, Youngkin said that there has been sufficient data collected over many years on those vaccines to justify making them mandatory but claimed there is insufficient information to require coronavirus vaccinations. Really?

—Mark J. Rozell


From Brookings Tech Stream:

Applying Arms-Control Frameworks to Autonomous Weapons

The global community must now resolve the tension of fear between arms-control and military advocates. That means serious debate on which types of autonomous weapon offer the most military value and which present the most risk to civilians and noncombatants. Weapons with high risk to civilians and low military value should form the basis of conversations around risk reduction.

—Zak Kallenborn


From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

Do-It-Yourself Vaccines in a Pandemic: Democratized Science or Home-Brewed Pipe Dream?

Whatever their motivation, it is highly likely that amateurs and untrained citizens will not have the proper biosafety and wet lab skills and knowledge necessary to safely or responsibly home-brew and inoculate themselves with either DIY vaccine.

—Yong Bee Lim (BA, MA, PhD)


From Waste Today Magazine:

A Need for Solid Waste Planners

Despite the need for these professionals, there is a notable absence of undergraduate programs in the U.S. that offer solid waste management planning as a major, minor, or concentration.

—Ashlea Smith (Schar ’10)


From Bearing Drift:

The Case for Terry

You should also know that although Terry McAuliffe invited me often to the governor’s mansion to work on common issues like jobs, education, and support of military families. I was a conservative thorn in his side . . . because I was a lifelong Republican who believes in smaller government, and less taxes.

—David Ramandan


From the Hill:

As Washington Becomes Even More Partisan, All Factions Take ‘Hostages’

Division in the Democratic Party is not exactly new—but it’s having embarrassing consequences, and it’s all because the president’s party did not win a solid majority in Congress. In an unusual situation for a newly elected president, Biden had no coattails. 

—Bill Schneider