Upcoming Publications

Sustained Effects of Germany's Reunification and their Contribution to the Rise of Far-Right Ideology in Former East Germany - Kat Lee

Anticipated Publication Date: Spring 2021

Over the last few years, the world has seen an increase in visible support for far-right ideologies, particularly in Europe and the United States. The views of far-right groups tend to center around nationalism, the idea that their country, culture, and the white race is superior to others. They believe their identity is threatened by other cultures and therefore staunchly oppose diversity. In addition to racism, far-right supporters espouse xenophobic, homophobic, and transphobic views. The events of January 6th, 2021 have brought this ideology to the forefront of international conversation. To understand the increase in support for the far-right, my piece analyzes a region that presented early indications of this phenomena: former Soviet-occupied eastern Germany.

The German Democratic Republic (GDR) was created in 1949 as a Soviet Union satellite state. It existed until Germany’s reunification in 1990. The aftermath of the GDR has given rise to far-right ideology, and there are a number of factors that contributed to its ascent. Since reunification, the former GDR’s economy continues to lag behind the West; unemployment continues to be higher, and average wages continue to be lower. Despite the economic gaps shrinking, the disparities of an aging population and an imbalanced ratio of women to men continue to shape the political views of eastern Germany’s citizens to this day.

This economic decline after reunification fueled the development of anti-leftist views in the former East. There is a larger population of Nazi sympathizers and those in the eastern states are twice as likely to support the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), a far-right political party that has gained prominence. “Today, AfD is the strongest political party among men in the eastern states and is currently the third-largest party in Germany (Schmitz). The growth of Nazi sympathizers, AfD, and other far-right groups threaten the stability of democracy, the safety of minorities, and the peaceful co-existence of different cultures that exist in Germany today. But the appeal of these groups to their supporters comes from historical factors as well as ideological ones, including the East’s economic downfall after reunification.

Immigration is a viable solution to the economic inequality of the East versus the West. However, immigration is strongly opposed by many East German residents. My piece argues that solutions for diffusing opposition to immigration must be explored and the economic disparities between East and West must be addressed to reduce support for far-right ideology.


Politicization, Leadership, and Communication: Analyzing Terror Organizations Through a Grand Strategic Framework - Kathryn Urban

Anticipated Publication Date: Spring 2021

In Fall 2020, I was part of Professor Audrey Kurth Cronin’s foundational course on grand strategy. One of the most compelling parts of the class for me was the richness of the grand strategic framework, and how political structure, industrial capability, geography, national history, and dozens of other factors feed into a strategy that “looks beyond the war to the subsequent peace.”[1] Grand strategy is the enumeration of an actor’s political and military goals. It is what drives foreign policy formulation, diplomatic encounters, and warfare – vital functions of any nation-state. But the scholarly literature on grand strategy focuses overwhelmingly on how the United States, Russia, and China employ this framework.

In this article, I take grand strategic analysis from some of the largest actors in the international system to some of the smallest. While rising powers, middle-income countries, and small island nations would all make interesting subjects for this type of study, I chose to focus my analysis on non-state actors, particularly terror organizations. Not only are terrorists juxtaposed against countries like the U.S. in terms of conventional military and economic power, but they also represent a tactic that is anathema to the modern international order. My argument that terror organizations can, under certain circumstances, be said to operate on a grand strategy suggests that this field of study should be broadened far beyond great power actors.

My paper is divided into two main, broad sections. In the first, I engage with the scholarly literature on grand strategy and pull out the essential structures that must be present for an actor – either state or non-state – to reasonably develop and employ a grand strategy. Then, I use case studies of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and al-Qaeda to test my theory.

The case study section was particularly interesting to work on. Terrorism studies has made up a big party of my professional and academic background, including a one-year internship with the Department of Homeland Security on multilateral training and response to terror threats. Given this experience, I was used to thinking of terrorism from a governmental mindset, how the U.S. and its partners can counter and contain threats. It was interesting to flip the script, putting myself in the mind of the terrorist to think through the far-reaching goals of groups like PIRA and al-Qaeda and scouring primary and secondary sources to separate rhetoric from reality.


[1] B.H. Liddell Hart, Strategy (London: Faber and Faber, 1954; reprinted by Penguin Books, 1991), 322. Quoted in Audrey Kurth Cronin, How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), 197.


Bridge Over Troubled Water: A Comprehensive Approach to Reduce Child Trafficking in Ghana’s Fishing Industry - Madeline Olden

Anticipated Publication Date: Spring 2021

Located in Ghana, Lake Volta is the largest man-made body of water in the world and is a notorious hotspot for child trafficking. Lake Volta’s fishing industry, an economic bedrock for the region, has created a high demand for trafficked children as low-cost, easily controllable sources of labor. The industry demand, coupled with crushing poverty rates, has created a vicious cycle of human trafficking in Ghana. Even worse, this unfortunate cycle perpetuates through generations. When trafficked children grow into adulthood and manage to escape the fishing industry in Lake Volta, economic circumstances often force them into the heartbreaking choice to sell their own children into the same trafficking cycle that they had once experienced.

This paper aims to educate readers on how children are trafficked to work in Ghana's fishing industry, the problems that compel families to sell their children, and risks that children face in these situations. Current laws in Ghana and throughout Africa designed to stop trafficking are discussed as well as the obstacles to legislation. The human rights issues in Lake Volta are not unique to Ghana: the same trends are replicated throughout many parts of the world. The analysis portion of this paper identifies steps that the Government of Ghana and international partners can take to combat child trafficking. These same policies can, with some modification, be adopted in the global fight against human trafficking and forced labor.

While there is no one answer to solving the vicious cycle of child trafficking to Lake Volta, addressing endemic problems in Ghana is part of the solution. These steps fall into four main categories: 1.) Taking steps to alleviate extreme poverty levels to remove incentives to family-initiated trafficking; 2.) Diverting greater resources to government agencies charged with enforcing anti-trafficking efforts; 3.) Stimulating a more profound dialogue between the Ghanaian government and the international community to support families and empower communities to address the causes and impacts of human trafficking, and; 4.) Increasing data collection and analysis on the true picture of the human trafficking problem in Lake Volta.


Thailand-Cambodia Border Conflict: Sacred Sites and Political Fights - Ihechiluru Ezuruonye

Anticipated Publication Date: Spring 2021

 As a part of the International Affairs and Comparative and Regional Studies program at SIS, I have studied Asian foreign policy and security, focusing on how historical conflicts influence the political pursuits of politicians today. These research interests were part of what drove me to study abroad in Japan last year, a period of time in which I also travel to other parts of Asia. The week I spent in Thailand touring the grounds of the royal palace, eating delicious food at the night markets, and visiting the various temples is one of my favorite vacation memories. My visits to the ancient ruins in the old Thai capital of Ayutthaya and seeing the Great Buddha statue gave some insight into Thai history and the religious and historical meanings certain temples have in the country. In my desire to learn more about Thailand’s famous temples and sites, I traveled to the Preah Vihear Temple. Its special location on a cliff in the Dangrek Mountains along the border between Cambodia and Thailand has made the temple a site of a dispute between the governments of both countries. In addition to close geographic proximity, historical events complicate arguments over which country can claim Preah Vihear. Though the Hindu temple’s origins date back to the period of the Khmer Empire of Cambodia, the arrival of French colonial powers in Cambodia would signal a change in perspective regarding the Preah Vihear Temples ownership.

In my article, I dig deeper into the debates surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple. First, I examine the historical roots of the dispute over the temple, beginning with the demarcation of the Thai-Cambodia border in 2021. A mistakenly drawn map led to the Thai and Cambodian governments fighting over who could rightly claim the temple as part of its territory. Next, I study how the dispute evolved after Cambodia made a 2008  request for the temple to be recognized as a World Heritage Site as part of Cambodia’s territory. These two aspects of the Preah Vihear Temple fight, the initial geographic dispute, and the subsequent cultural debate sparked conflict within Thailand and Cambodia and the broader international community. The issue would ignite a case in the International Court of Justice, street protests in both countries, and political candidates using the temple to promote nationalist rhetoric.

The Thai-Cambodia border conflict is one rooted in historical disagreements and has been used by both sides to gain political favor domestically and cultural capital internationally. I came to the issue of the Preah Vihear Temple dispute as part of history I was totally unfamiliar with. Having that objective lens gave me insight into the continued impact of the dispute on Thai and Cambodian politics. However, this issue is not unique to Southeast Asia.  I hope that my article helps readers understand the power of sacred sites such as the Preah Vihear Temple and how the politicization of those sacred sites anywhere in the world can Insight powerfully emotional responses from the public.



Circle of Poison: Resolution or Evolution? - Jenn Brown 

Anticipated Publication Date: Spring 2021

Throughout my master’s program at SIS, I have worked on a number of research projects. One of these projects was for my master’s capstone, where I conducted research on pineapple monocropping systems. While there, my team and I analyzed how the associated pesticide usage was affecting the surrounding communities. This project had a deep impact on me, and served as the inspiration for this article, which was originally written the Fall semester following my return from Costa Rica the previous summer. I was attending SciencesPo Paris School of International Affairs on exchange, and a version of this article served as the final paper for a class titled “Food and Agriculture in the Global Agenda.” A large part of the content for that class focused on the financialization of the global food system, and predominantly looked at the issue through a European perspective. The class further inspired me to delve into this issue.

This paper seeks to inform readers of the complex and nuanced system of the dangerous pesticides manufactured in the U.S. These pesticides are exported to the Global South to be used on crops that are then exported back to the U.S. and other parts of the Global North. This analysis seeks to explore how this issue has evolved over recent decades as well as the complexities behind that evolution.

My passion is truly embedded in analyzing and educating people on industrialized global food systems. Living in the U.S., these systems are essentially impossible to avoid and are entrenched in the food that we nourish ourselves with on a daily basis. Despite this fact, the majority of Americans rarely give much thought to the journey our food takes in order to make its way onto our plates. Although this paper explores just one small aspect of a larger globalized industrial food system, my hope is that this article will encourage people to take a deeper look into how the U.S. is a part of that system and better understand where their food comes from.

I currently serve as the Project Coordinator for the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at SIS.