Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

The Geopolitics of Energy: The 1970s Oil Crisis

The Russian oil boycott has not only shaken the global economy, but also exposes how overdue the world is for a transition to cleaner energy. Three scholars report on impacts of the boycott and emphasize the need for multilateral solutions that don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

Back of a man in the 1970s standing to cars and holding a gas can

By Michelle Nicholasen

First in a series of interviews on the impact of the Russian oil boycott on countries around the world.... Read more about The Geopolitics of Energy: The 1970s Oil Crisis

Lebanon in Free Fall

PODCAST | ep9 | with Melani Cammett, Carmen Geha, Nate George, and Lana Salman
 

Lebanon has been called many different things: a gem of the Middle East, a failed state, a geopolitical Gordian knot (or nightmare). Its financial system has recently collapsed, people cannot find basic services, and residents are still recovering from the massive Beirut explosion of 2020. It may be a complex country to wrap your mind around, but our four scholars tell you everything you need to know about daily life in Lebanon: how are people getting by, who is in control, the geopolitics of the region, and the history behind it.

Collage of headshots of podcast speakers Melani Cammett, Carmen Geha, Nate George, and Lana Salman

Listen to episode #9 (34:35) by clicking the play button below:

... Read more about Lebanon in Free Fall

Negotiating with Terrorists (Part 2)

PODCAST | ep8 | with Annette Idler, Jytte Klausen, and Fredrik Logevall
 

Pulling out of Afghanistan was the top foreign policy event of 2021. Perhaps overlooked in the collective relief to be done with this twenty-year war is the fact that the US had to negotiate with terrorists to get there. In fact, it ceded an entire country to a violent, extremist group. Throughout history, leaders—including those from the US—have vowed never to negotiate with terrorists, but then reverse course. In this two-part episode, three scholars of history, international relations, and foreign policy discuss historic examples and the complexities of negotiating with violent—even murderous—groups. 

Collage of the three guest speakers: Annette Idler, Fredrik Logevall, and Jytte Klausen

Listen to episode #8 (28:49) by clicking the play button below:

... Read more about Negotiating with Terrorists (Part 2)

Negotiating with Terrorists (Part 1)

PODCAST | ep7 | with Annette Idler, Jytte Klausen, and Fredrik Logevall
 

Pulling out of Afghanistan was the top foreign policy event of 2021. Perhaps overlooked in the collective relief to be done with this twenty-year war is the fact that the US had to negotiate with terrorists to get there. In fact, it ceded an entire country to a violent, extremist group. Throughout history, leaders—including those from the US—have vowed never to negotiate with terrorists, but then reverse course. In this two-part episode, three scholars of history, international relations, and foreign policy discuss historic examples and the complexities of negotiating with violent—even murderous—groups.

Collage of the three guest speakers: Annette Idler, Fredrik Logevall, and Jytte Klausen

Listen to episode #7 (24:56) by clicking the play button below:

... Read more about Negotiating with Terrorists (Part 1)

Trump’s Impact on the World: Melani Cammett on the Middle East

Harvard Professor of International Affairs Melani Cammett reviews the range of US policy stances in the Middle East and asks us to examine the difference between concrete policy shifts and skillful rhetoric.

Image of Melani Cammett and Michele Lamont

This is the second blog post in a series of edited transcripts from a panel on Trump's presidency held during our orientation in August 28, 2018. Our three panelists were Christina L. Davis, Melani Cammett, and Timothy Colton

Since the panel took place, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey. President Trump’s failure to condemn Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman or to hold Saudi Arabia responsible has been widely viewed as a moral failing and an extreme act of favoritism. Some believe the incident has upset the dynamics of US relations with its Gulf allies, underscoring US permissiveness and bias toward Saudi Arabia.

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Talk delivered by Melani Cammett:

Trump's impact on the Middle East is both radical and minimal. There are elements of it that I would say could be interpreted as really radical and new, and a lot of it is really not that new, but just dressed up in a lot of rhetoric and incendiary language and so forth. 

I'll start with the radical side. And maybe radical is too strong of a word, but I'll just use it to be provocative. 

There are several pillars of American foreign policy toward this region that I'll address. And I think in each one, you could interpret some of his [Trump’s] moves as new and destabilizing and radical. So I'll focus on the relationship with Israel, the relationship with the conservative Gulf Arab monarchies, and the war on terrorism. And there's always oil percolating in there in one way or another.... Read more about Trump’s Impact on the World: Melani Cammett on the Middle East