Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security staff and faculty
articles, commentary and media interviews.
By Thomas Cynkin, PhD
DMGS Vice President for Recruitment and Development
Japan and China Drift Toward Confrontation (The Cipher Brief, 9 Aug 2016)
In an announcement on August 9th, Japan’s Foreign Minister stated that China-Japan relations were “deteriorating” in reaction to the recent incursions by Chinese vessels into waters claimed by Japan. This is but the latest in a string of events – leading some observers to comment that relations between the two Asian powers is at its worst in years. The Cipher Brief spoke with Vice President of the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, Dr. Thomas Cynkin, to learn more on how the relationship has soured. . . .
North Korea Hangs Up the Phone (The Cipher Brief, 20 July 2016)
North Korea informed the U.S. on July 10th that it would cut off the New York channel of communication to the U.S. Government. If American policymakers lament their own lack of leverage against North Korea, this move demonstrates the limited options Pyongyang has with which to respond to the July 6 U.S. human rights sanctions against the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and other top officials. For the North, options on the table include words, harshness toward U.S. citizen detainees, or nuclear/missile tests. . . .
Finding Common Solutions (The Cipher Brief, 3 May 2016)
Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have each considered the circumstances under which they would pursue active nuclear weapons programs. While all three adhere to the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), they each have the technical capability to produce nuclear weapons. Japan could probably develop and deploy a nuclear weapon within a year; South Korea and Taiwan would take a bit longer, given the state of their fissile technology. . . .
Deterring Chinese Aggression (The Cipher Brief, 2 Mar 2016)
China’s militarization of the South China Sea includes beefing up its military facilities on Woody Island in the Paracel chain – occupied by China but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam – where the Chinese reportedly just deployed eight batteries of its advanced, long-range HQ-9 air defense system. This is the latest step by Beijing to deploy anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities designed to complicate or disrupt U.S. power projection in the Western Pacific. . . .
Only China Can Solve the North Korea Problem (The Cipher Brief, 8 Feb 2016)
North Korea’s satellite launch over the weekend, on the heels of its nuclear test last month, raises the prospects of renewed tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in East Asia. Beijing has heretofore protected Pyongyang from stricter economic sanctions. Former U.S. foreign service officer and Northeast Asia expert, Dr. Thomas Cynkin, told The Cipher Brief that China holds all the cards for imposing tough international sanctions, but it fears playing them. . .
Pyongyang Claims Hydrogen Bomb Test (The Cipher Brief, 6 Jan 2016)
North Korea tested what was initially announced by Pyongyang to be a hydrogen bomb on Wednesday, though the Obama Administration is skeptical. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters, “the initial analysis is not consistent with North Korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test.” Still, Pyongyang’s announcement has serious repercussions for regional and global stability. China, North Korea’s only semblance of a friend in the region, “firmly opposed” the nuclear test. How Beijing and the international community responds to the latest nuclear test, remains the key issue at hand. Thomas Cynkin, a former diplomat and former head of the Washington office of Fujitsu Ltd., discusses what the nuclear test means for East Asia. . . .
Implications for Western Firms (The Cipher Brief, 28 Oct 2015)
Thomas Cynkin spoke with The Cipher Brief about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent economic reforms. Dr. Cynkin discussed potential sectors of the Japanese economy that may prove lucrative for western investors as well as explained the benefits in investing in Japan over other East Asian countries. Dr. Cynkin is a former Foreign Service officer and headed Fujitsu Ltd.’s Washington office. . . .
By Michael Sharnoff, PhD
Associate Professor of Middle East Studies and Director of the Regional Studies Program
What Can You Do With A History Degree? (College of Charleston Blog, 01 Dec 2016)
As Director of the Regional Studies Program at Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, a new, independent national security graduate school in Washington, DC, I teach courses on the Middle East. I work with experienced scholar-practitioner faculty that emphasize a pragmatic subject matter approach to enhance student knowledge, skills, competencies, and learning outcomes. I love my job because it is challenging, exciting and rewarding. DMA’s unique 7:1 teacher-to-student ratio offers excellent opportunities to incorporate simulations, group projects and other innovative teaching techniques to satisfy student learning outcomes and assessment.
Arab Decline and Iran’s Rising Influence (The World Post, 10 Feb 2016)
Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, leader of the largest Arab nation during the 1950s and 1960s, was one of the most popular and charismatic statesmen of the twentieth century. In his 1954 memoir, The Philosophy of the Revolution, Nasser claimed that Egypt’s unique geography and historical legacy enhanced its ability to influence Africa, the Muslim world, and the Arab world. Of these three significant regions, it was the Arab world which captivated Nasser’s attention the most: “I always imagine that in this region in which we live there is a role wandering aimlessly about in search of an actor to play it.” . . .
How the Egyptian Press Views the Yemen War (The World Post, 29 Apr 2015)
Michael Sharnoff explores recent editorials from major Egyptian newspapers that can provide a glimpse of Cairo’s attitudes toward the war in Yemen: On March 25, Saudi Arabia led a pan-Arab military campaign in Yemen known as “Decisive Storm” to expel the Iranian-backed Houthis, who seized control of the country in January after deposing President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. . . .
White House Needs to Support Egypt and Jordan With a Consistent Anti-Terrorism Strategy (The World Post, 10 Mar 2015)
Supporting Jordan’s counterterrorism strategy and not Egypt’s is short-sighted and counterproductive in the long-term struggle to defeat ISIS. . .
“Anticipate Greater Jordanian Role in the West Bank,” Your Middle East, Jul. 4, 2013.
“Palestinian Attitudes toward Israel” E-Notes: Middle East Media Monitor, Foreign Policy Research Institute, May 2012.
“Reexamining the Arab Peace Initiative,” Huffington Post, Jan. 24, 2012.
“Post-Mubarak Egyptian Attitudes toward Israel,” E-Notes: Middle East Media Monitor, Foreign Policy Research Institute,Oct. 2011.
“Revisiting Nasser and Palestine after the 1967 War,” al Arabiya, Jun. 2011.
“Can Palestinian Third Parties Make A Difference?” Palestine-Israel Journal (Vol. 18 No. 2 & 3, 2012).
“Defining the Enemy as Israel, Zionist, Neo-Nazi or Jewish: The Propaganda War under Nasser’s Egypt, 1952-1967,”Vidal Sassoon Center International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Feb. 2012.
“Nasser’s Arab Rivals: 1958-1967,” Institute for Security and Defense Analysis (Greece), Middle East Observer (Issue 4, Vol. 4, March-June 2011).
Unprotected: Palestinians in Egypt since 1948. Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, May 18, 2010.
By Steven Meyer, PhD
National Security Program Chair
Israel’s Future (Center for Public Justice, 2 Mar 2015)
On March 17th, Israel will hold what many commentators argue could be the most significant national election in a generation. Its significance depends not only on who wins (right-of-center Likud or left-of-center Labor), but what the winners do with the victory. Nothing will change unless the victor is willing to break the inertial slugging match that has hamstrung relations between Israel and most of the rest of the Middle East and has shaken support for Israel throughout the West. Current neck-and-neck polls reflect a fluid situation in which voters are unsure where they are going and what they want. . .
Torture, Ethics, and the Law (Center for Public Justice, 22 Dec 2014)
Earlier this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee published the results of a five-year long investigation of interrogation programs employed by the CIA during the years immediately after September 11, 2001. The report is more than 6,700 pages long, and while most of it is classified, the executive summary—which is itself over 500 pages–is unclassified. The report paints a detailed, grizzly, often disturbing picture of what the program’s detractors call “torture” and its supporters describe as “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EIT). . .
The Fall of the Wall (Center for Public Justice, 17 Nov 2014)
The Berlin Wall fell twenty-five years ago this month. In November 1989, I was the chief of the East German branch at the CIA and was privileged to be in Berlin when the wall came down. Like thousands of others, I took a hammer and pounded on the wall much of the night. I still use a piece of the wall as a paper weight today. . .
The Past and Future of War (Center for Public Justice, 15 Sept 2014)
This year has been awash in publications, conferences, and memorabilia commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War– a war that changed the world more profoundly than any other major conflict in modern history. . .
Intelligence: A Noble Profession? (Center for Public Justice, 4 Aug 2014)
When Edward Snowden went public last year, revealing that the National Security Agency (NSA) had access to virtually every phone call made by almost anyone in the world, including the leaders of some of America’s closest allies, the role of intelligence has again become the focus of intense debate. Earlier, the “wiki leaks” operation revealed reams of classified intelligence information, and most recently the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Station Chief in Berlin was ordered to leave Germany. This is a highly unusual move, especially among allies, and signals deep anger on the part of the German government about U.S. intelligence activities. . .
The Collapse of Iraq (Center for Public Justice, 30 Jun 2014)
Iraq is on the verge of collapse as a unified state, and the United States has no good options to reverse the situation. The forces of the Sunni-dominated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ultimately may not be able to —or want to— conquer the entire country, but Iraq’s problems are so deep seated that it will be virtually impossible now to stitch the country back together. . .
A Telling Election (Center for Public Justice, 2 Jun 2014)
Last week, European voters went to the polls to elect all 751 members of the European Parliament. As expected, voters handed “mainstream” parties a resounding defeat by boosting the membership of left and right wing “fringe” parties. While far from having a majority, these parties may bring up their seat total from the twelve percent they had in the last Parliament to twenty-five percent now. The success of the fringe parties—many of whom oppose the European Union—has sent a shock through the entire system and raises their prospects in the elections for national parliaments over the next two years. . .
The Lessons and Challenges of Syria (Center for Public Justice, 23 May 2014)
The bloody conflagration in Syria is now in its third year with over 150,000 dead, more than two million refugees, an estimated nine million internally displaced people, and catastrophic destruction of the physical environment. The city of Homs, the rebel “capital,” is now in government hands, and the Assad regime seems to be winning the war. The international community remains at a loss as to what to do. The effort to negotiate an end to the conflict collapsed almost as soon as it started and Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, has resigned after two years of failed efforts at resolution. . .
The Continuing Saga (Center for Public Justice, 25 Apr 2014)
More than two months into the Ukrainian crisis, the West—mostly the United States—has not been able to “solve” the issue. From Washington’s perspective, it has only gotten worse. Not only is Crimea in Russian hands, but much of eastern and southern Ukraine is now bedeviled by insurrection. This crisis resists resolution for three interrelated reasons. . .
Ukraine: The Plot Thickens (Center for Public Justice, 21 Mar 2016)
On Sunday, March 16, an overwhelming majority of voters in Crimea passed a referendum to secede from Ukraine and join with Russia. On Tuesday, Crimean and Russian leaders signed a treaty to formally join Crimea with the Russian Federation. The crisis that has enveloped Ukraine for more than a month has provided an opportunity for Russia to press its interests in Ukraine, which dovetail with the interests of Russians living in Crimea who have chafed under Ukrainian rule. . .
Ukraine: In the Balance Again (Center for Public Justice, 28 Feb 2014)
Last weekend, Ukraine pulled back from almost certain disintegration and possible civil war. The current crisis is far from over and could deepen further, impacting not only Ukraine itself, but the future of relations between a resurgent Russia and a defensive West, both of which are heavily involved there. . .
Failure in Bosnia (Transconflict, 20 Feb 2014)
Bosnia’s future as a single, unified state has never been promising, but without effective leadership the future will be bleak indeed. The recent riots need to be seen as a “wake up” call — not for political recrimination and scapegoating, but for intelligence, creative solutions, and cooperation. . .