Mershon Center for International Security Studies
September 5 , 2017
In This Issue
In the Media
Paul Beck
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Mitch Lerner
Associate Professor of History
"We won't go to war with North Korea on purpose. But we might by accident."
Washington Post
August 24, 2017
Peter Mansoor
Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair in Military History
August 23, 2017

"Could we be on the brink of World War 3"
August 28, 2017

"ACLU suing Trump Administration over transgender military ban"
August 28, 2017

"Trump's Afghan strategy could take years"
August 28, 2017
Benjamin McKean
Assistant Professor of Political Science
"Free speech on campus? Not for adjunct faculty, it seems"
August 29, 2017
About Mershon Memo
Mershon Memo is a weekly e-mail newsletter distributed by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, part of the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University.
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Mershon Events
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Edgar S. Furniss Book Award Winner
Jesse Driscoll
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Jesse Driscoll Jesse Driscoll is associate professor of political science and chair of the Global Leadership Institute at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at University of California-San Diego. He is an area specialist in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Russian-speaking world. Driscoll is author of Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States (Cambridge, 2015), winner of the Edgar S. Furniss Book Award, given annually by the Mershon Center to an author whose first book makes an exceptional contribution to the study of national and international security. The book maps the processes by which well-functioning domestic hierarchies emerged after relatively short periods of anarchic violence in Georgia and Tajikistan. In this talk, Driscoll will argue that conflict in Ukraine can be best understood as a civil war. Read more and register at
Monday, September 18, 2017

Amr al-Azm, Alam Payind, Richard Herrmann
6 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.
Co-sponsored by Middle East Studies Center

Amr Al-AzmSoviets occupied Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 to prevent the country from collapsing. Currently Russia is treating Syria as a client state in similar ways. Afghanistan remains a struggling democracy, often falling into "failed state" category. The Syrian state is almost nonexistent in terms of functional central institutions. This symposium will dig deeper into the two countries' situations, answering such questions as: What are the similarities and differences with regard to the relationship with Russia? What role do regional rivalries (Iran and Saudi Arabia) or intervention (Turkey) play? The panel features Amr al-Azm (left), associate professor of Middle East history and anthropology at Shawnee State University; Alam Payind, director of the Middle East Studies Center at Ohio State University; and Richard Herrmann, professor and chair, Department of Political Science. Read more and register at
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Paul D. Miller
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Paul D. Miller Paul D. Miller is associate director of the Clements Center for National Security at University of Texas-Austin. As a practitioner, Miller served as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the National Security Council staff; worked as an intelligence analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency; and served as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, including a deployment to Afghanistan. His most recent book, American Power and Liberal Order: A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy, was published by Georgetown University Press in 2016. In this lecture, Miller argues that U.S. security depends on active sustained support of the international order. Read more and register at
Friday-Saturday, September 29-30, 2017

Culture of Military Organizations
120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Peter MansoorThis project aims to explore the impact of the culture on the development of effective military organizations and therefore its impact on security from 1861 to the present. The effectiveness of military organizations is dependent on a number of components, among them organization, doctrine, training, weapons technology, leadership, morale, discipline and cohesion, endurance, and the ability to adapt to volatile and uncertain combat environments. Underlying these factors is organizational culture, a vital wellspring of the effectiveness of armies, navies, and air forces throughout history. Yet organizational culture has been largely understudied as a component of military effectiveness. This project aims to fill that void. Organized by Peter Mansoor, Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair in Military History. Read more and register at
Mershon News
Driscoll wins Furniss Award for 'Warlords and Coalition Politics'

Driscoll Furniss bookThe breakup of the Soviet Union was unexpected and unexpectedly peaceful. Although a third of the new states fell into violent conflict, anarchy was soon brought under control. What explains this relatively quick transition to order and stability in the post-Soviet periphery?

Jesse Driscoll, assistant professor of political science at University of California-San Diego, explores this question in Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States (Cambridge University Press, 2015), winner of the Mershon Center's Edgar S. Furniss Book Award.

Driscoll will speak at the Mershon Center at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, September 14, 2017. Read more and register for this event at

In his book, Driscoll argues that the relative stability in the post-Soviet periphery cannot be explained by security guarantees from Russia or the United Nations. Rather, in the wake of a failed state, local warlords competed and colluded in a high-risk and ruthless game of forming coalitions that resulted in the emergence of well-functioning domestic hierarchies.

Drawing on a structured comparison of militia members in Georgia and Tajikistan, Driscoll combines rich comparative data with formal modeling, treating the post-Soviet space as a laboratory to observe the limits of great powers' efforts to shape domestic institutions in weak states.

The Furniss Book Award commemorates the founding director of the Mershon Center, Edgar S. Furniss, and is given annually to an author whose first book makes an exceptional contribution to the study of national and international security. Previous winners include John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Stephen Walt. 
Other Events
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Tom Karako and Mitchell Lerner
"Nuclear North Korea: America's Options"
6 p.m., 014 University Hall, 230 N. Oval Mall
Sponsored by Alexander Hamilton Society at Ohio State

Tom Karako The Alexander Hamilton Society is proud to present our first event of the fall semester! Two experts in foreign policy and national defense will discuss what options America has to address the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea. This can't-miss event will feature Tom Karako (left), senior fellow with the International Security Program and director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Mitchell Lerner, associate professor of history at The Ohio State University and director of the Institute for Korean Studies. Read more
Friday, September 8, 2017

COMPAS Conference: Religious Freedom
11th Floor, Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave.
Sponsored by Center for Ethics and Human Values

Religious FreedomWhat makes a belief, practice, or community "religious"? Should religious freedoms be given more protection under the law than secular ones? What should we do when the exercise of religious freedom collides with the public interest?

8:45-9 a.m. - Welcoming Remarks
Don Hubin, Director of the Center for Ethics and Human Values


9-10:30 a.m. - Session 1: What (if anything) is special about religious freedom?
Speakers: Jason Josephson-Storm (Religion, Williams College)
Winnifred F. Sullivan (Religious Studies, Indiana)
Moderator: Sarah Iles Johnston (Classics and Comparative Studies, Ohio State)


11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Session 2: What are the proper limits of religious freedom?
Speakers: Andrew Koppelman (Law, Northwestern)
Steven D. Smith (Law, San Diego)
Moderator: Isaac Weiner (Center for the Study of Religion and Comparative Studies, Ohio State)

Friday, September 8, 2017

John Horack
"The Role of Space Exploration in China's Rise"
4 p.m., 110 Orton Hall, 155 S. Oval Mall
Sponsored by Columbus Council on World Affairs

John Horack Nations engage in spaceflight for many reasons - prestige at home and abroad, scientific inquiry, as a means to fortify and maintain a high-technology economy, and for national security. On all of these fronts, China has demonstrated global leadership. China has its own human-tended space station, and has launched significant scientific research satellites, including most recently the establishment of a research satellite for quantum-encrypted communications in space. In this lecture, John Horack, Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy at Ohio State, will highlight Chinese accomplishments in spaceflight, address China's future plans in space, and explore how an integrated and thriving space program is a key part of China's global strategy. Read more
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ben Wizner
"New Technology, the Fourth Amendment, and the Future of Privacy"
12:15 p.m., Barrister Club, 25 W. 11th Ave.
Sponsored by Moritz College of Law

Ben Wizner Join Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, for his talk, "New Technology, the Fourth Amendment, and the Future of Privacy." This program is part of the "Data Points: Ideas on Data, Law and Society" lecture series, presented by the Program on Data and Governance of The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law. Ben has spent nearly 15 years working at the intersection of civil liberties and national security, litigating numerous cases involving airport security policies, government watch lists, surveillance practices, targeted killing, and torture. Since 2013, he has been the principal legal advisor to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The lecture is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the South Campus Gateway garage. Boxed lunches will be served to those who register in advance. Read more and register
Friday, September 15, 2017

Jack Goldstone
"Why Revolutions Persist - The Struggle for Freedom and Fragile Regimes"
3 p.m., 165 Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave.
Sponsored by Center for Historical Research

Jack Goldstone Jack A. Goldstone (Ph.D., Harvard) is the Virginia E. and John T. Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World, awarded the 1993 Distinguished Scholarly Research Award of the American Sociological Association; Why Europe? The Rise of the West in World History; and nine other books as well as over 100 research articles on topics in politics, social movements, democratization, and long-term social change. He has appeared on NPR, CNN, Al-Jazeera, Fox News, and written for Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Al-Hayat and the International Herald Tribune. Read more
Other News
Education Abroad Expo to take place September 14

Education Abroad 2017 Will it be you who explores the world? Join us for the 2017 Education Abroad Expo, which will be held on Thursday, September 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Archie Griffin East Ballroom at the Ohio Union. The Expo gives students the opportunity to talk one-on-one with education abroad experts and learn more about the myriad of ways to study abroad at Ohio State. Students will be able to explore programs for all majors and learn more about how to fund their prospective education abroad experience.

Faculty and staff from 19 Ohio State departments and 14 university partners will be on hand to share their insight about specific programs in every major. Students will also have the opportunity to talk with their peers who have studied abroad and can share the ins and outs of their international experiences. And, if students are looking for ways to fund their education abroad experience, there will be information on the wide variety of scholarships available.

At Ohio State, students have the opportunity to study abroad with other Ohio State students and professors, take classes through a foreign university or an exchange program, complete an independent study or service learning project, conduct research or participate in an internship program. Of the more than 200 programs in 50 different countries, there's one especially designed to meet the needs of every student. Read more
2018 Community Engagement Conference Call for Proposals

Proposals are now being accepted for Ohio State's inaugural Community Engagement Conference, taking place January 24-25, 2018 in the Ohio Union. Building on the success of the Extension Annual Conference and the university's Engagement Forum, the conference will bring together faculty, staff, students and community partners to focus on professional development and networking, while exploring new potential engagement partnerships. The theme of this year's conference is Partnering to Advance Health and Wellness. Proposals are due October 30, 2017. Submit a proposal and learn more at
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