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In the eighth year of Barack Obama’s presidency the struggle over assessing the correctness of his foreign policy is understandably under way. Unfortunately, too often the struggle is waged in extreme, ill-founded terms. Many Republican leaders and pundits accuse Obama of being naïve, weak, indecisive, and even at times of pursuing non-American interests and goals. Obama himself, in his unflappable manner, ignores the wildest charges and tries to explain the rationale for the foreign policy choices that he makes. His team defends and explains the grounds for choosing the least bad option in difficult circumstances. They agree on the importance of not doing “stupid stuff.” Continue Reading »

By Kirk Emerson (University of Arizona) and Tina Nabatchi (Syracuse University), co-authors of Collaborative Governance Regimes, Georgetown University Press, 2015

You wouldn’t think it from the tenor of our current presidential electioneering, but not everyone in this country is as at each other’s throats, failing to listen to each other, or disrespecting differing views. News coverage and social media posts may be disheartening, suggesting polarized politics, incivility, and failure to address problems; however, evidence of our ability to collaborate – to work together across boundaries to solve problems and strive for the common good – is bountiful. Continue Reading »

Despite some claims that Barack Obama will be seen as a failed president in the future, the current primary election campaigns make it clear that he is likely to be viewed historically as a highly successful president. It is becoming evident that those Republicans and others who worked hard to oppose and defeat Obama’s policies have gravely damaged themselves. Their efforts to destroy his presidency have harmed the country and their own standing. This can be seen in many arenas. Continue Reading »

President Barack Obama’s foreign policies have had important successes that demonstrate creative applications of the increasingly recognized constructive conflict approach. However, Obama is widely attacked as if he were responsible for the many ongoing terribly destructive foreign conflicts. Criticisms of Obama’s administration have usually come from the political right in the United States and others committed to opposing Obama. They attack him for being naïve and insufficiently tough. Even analysts sympathetic to Obama’s foreign policies are sometimes critical of his failure to rely more on coercion and military force. Continue Reading »

By Steve Parks, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, Syracuse University

This past summer I was fortunate enough to receive a PARCC Faculty Research Mini-Grant to interview the founders of the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP). The FWWCP began in the 1970’s, a period when the mimeograph machine had created the possibility of local writers publishing their own books. Using this new technology, working class writers began to record the history of their lives, their occupations, and their communities during a period of rapid social and political change in the United Kingdom. If fact, over a forty-year period (1970’s to 2010s), the publications of the FWWCP created a self- authorized and intimate history of the changing nature of the British working class as a result of the transition from industrial to service jobs and the shift from a predominantly Anglo-European ethnic background to one that, due to global immigration patterns, is more ethically diverse. In the process, the FWWCP also provided one of the first articulations in the UK of identity politics focused on issues of race, gender, post-coloniality, and sexuality. As such, their publications provide a unique insight into how the working class used writing to advocate for an expansive vision of collective rights during an intense period of transition. Indeed, during their history, the FWWCP circulated close to one million publications. Continue Reading »

The evidence favoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in July 2015, is before our eyes. It was negotiated between the Iranian government and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China and one other: Germany (P5+1). For much of the time prior to the negotiated interim agreement, the U.S. pursued a highly bellicose policy toward Iran and Iran speeded its development of a nuclear program that could be preparatory to having nuclear weapons capability. That history also makes evident why the rejection of the signed agreement is likely to have extremely grave consequences for the United States. Continue Reading »

Hatem SharrubHatem Shurrab is the head of communications with the Islamic Relief Fund in Gaza. He submitted a video report depicting the aftermath of the current conflict in Gaza. Mr. Shurrab was part of the Maxwell School’s Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF), a U.S. State Department program that hosts reformers from the Middle East and North Africa for months of academic training and professional affiliations. See the video here.

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