Mershon Center for International Security Studies
November 14, 2017
In This Issue
In the Media
Paul Beck
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Social and Behavioral Sciences
"What do Virginia election results portend for Ohio?"
Columbus Dispatch
November 9, 2017

"Votes on Ohio ballot issues among the most lopsided ever"
Columbus Dispatch
November 9, 2017

"Issue 2 turns into prescription for confusion"
Columbus Dispatch
November 5, 2017
John Mueller
Woody Hayes Senior Research Scientist
"Homeland insecurities: Lost guns, backlogged asylum-seekers among DHS vulnerabilities"
USA Today
November 7, 2017
Inés Valdez
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Mathew Coleman
Associate Professor of Geography
Washington Post
November 7, 2017
Peter Shane
Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law
"What Robert Mueller's indictments of former Trump campaign officials mean for the president"
Deutsche Welle
October 31, 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
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Manon Pignot
4:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Manon Pignot Manon Pignot is a French historian specializing in the experience of children during war. She is a senior lecturer at the Jules Verne University of Picardy and a junior member of the Institut Universitaire de France. In this event, she will discuss the growing subfield of "teen combatants"  in the history of children at war, the history of war violence in general, and World War I in particular. Too young to be legally enlisted as conscripts in 1914-1918, teen combatants also felt that they were too old to remain on the home front. This lecture will explore the cross-European phenomenon of "teen combatants" both as a rite of passage into male adulthood and as a transgression of wartime norms. Read more and register at
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Monica Toft
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Monica Toft Monica Toft is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University. Her areas of research include international security, ethnic and religious violence, civil wars and demography. Her most recent books include Securing the Peace (Princeton, 2011); Political Demography (Oxford, 2012); and God's Century (Norton, 2012). In this presentation, Toft will discuss her research on the political dimensions of demographic dynamics in key states during critical historical periods, which aims to facilitate a better understanding of demographic politics - one that is both theoretically informed and policy relevant. Read more and register at
Mershon News
Mueller, Stewart publish new book on airline security

John Mueller
John Mueller
Since 9/11, airline passengers have learned to put liquids in 3-ounce containers, take off their shoes, and go through full-body scanners, all in the name of protecting themselves from terrorism. But are these extra measures making us any safer?

About $10 billion is spent each year to deter terrorist attacks to aviation, yet these expenditures are rarely subjected to cost-benefit or risk analysis. Are We Safe Enough? Measuring and Assessing Aviation Security, by Mershon affiliates Mark Stewart and John Mueller, seeks to fill that void.

The book explains how standard risk and cost-benefit analysis can be applied to aviation security in a systematic, straightforward, and fully transparent manner. It constructs a full model of the security system, describing the effectiveness, risk reduction, and cost of each layer, from policing and intelligence, to checkpoint passenger screening, to armed pilots on the flight deck.

Mark Stewart
Mark Stewart
Stewart and Mueller conclude that it is entirely possible to attain the same degree of safety at far lower cost by shifting expenditures from measures that provide little security at high cost to ones that provide more security at lower cost.

For example, the air marshal program in the United States costs more than $1 billion per year, but reduces risk of a terrorist attack by only 0.2 percent. Installing secondary barriers to cockpits would see a greater reduction of risk while saving hundreds of millions of dollars to both taxpayers and airlines.

In addition, the book shows how the system can be made more efficient, providing great benefits to passengers, the airlines, and the taxpayer. It also finds that aviation security costs proportionately much more in the United States than in Australia, Canada, and elsewhere.

John Mueller is Woody Hayes senior research scientist at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and professor of political science at Ohio State University, as well as a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Mark Stewart is professor of civil engineering and director of the Centre for Infrastructure Performance and Reliability at University of Newcastle in Australia.

Stewart has been a visiting scholar at the Mershon Center several times, collaborating with Mueller on Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risk, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security (Oxford, 2011) and Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism (Oxford, 2016).

Read the rest of the story at
Other Events
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ambassador Yafei He
11 a.m., 2nd Floor Rotunda, Mason Hall, 250 W. Woodruff Ave.
Sponsored by Office of Global Business/CIBER

Ambassador Yafei He Ambassador Yafei He is an experienced Chinese diplomat who was Deputy Director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council. Moreover, he was vice minister of foreign affairs, representing the People's Republic of China during the negotiations of the Copenhagen Accord in December 2009. His responsibilities also included: North America and Oceania; international organizations and conferences; arms control; protocol; Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan-related foreign affairs. The keynote presentation will be followed by a moderated panel discussion and open dialogue.  Read more and register
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Karen O'Brien
3:30 p.m., 1080 Derby Hall, 154 N. Oval Mall
Sponsored by Department of Geography

Karen O'Brien Carbon roadmaps and pathways are important for describing, planning and tracking the technical, managerial and behavioral changes that are consistent with the Paris Agreement. Nevertheless, roadmaps and pathways for decarbonization often gloss over a fundamental question: How do deliberate social transformations happen? In particular, the social complexity of transformation processes tends to be downplayed or ignored in favor of technical solutions and behavioral approaches. In this talk, Karen O'Brien, professor of sociology and human geography at the University of Oslo, Norway, explains why these roadmaps are dangerously incomplete hence unlikely to "bend the curves" in alignment with the Paris Agreement, and explores leverage points for transformation in the practical, political and personal spheres. Read more
Thursday, November 30 - Friday, December 1, 2017

The New American Electorate Beyond the Voting Booth
"Building an Inclusive Democracy"
Thursday, 3:30 p.m., Saxbe Auditorium, Moritz College of Law
Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., 120 Mershon Center
Sponsored by Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Voting symposium logoThis two-day symposium will foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on the growing diversity of the American electorate, and what is necessary to protect and extend democratic inclusion for women, men of color, millennials and new immigrants, those underrepresented groups comprising the new American electorate. On Day 1, a public forum will feature a highly interactive, moderated discussion on the unique features of the new American electorate, including tracing the historical developments that paved the way for these voters to play such pivotal roles in recent presidential elections and recent attempts to curtail the expanding electorate. Day 2 will feature three panels of invited scholars and Ohio State researchers on Mobilizing in the Interim, Moving from Voters to Candidates, and Lessons from the Field. Read more and register
Other News
Apply for Polish Studies Initiative grants and scholarships

The Polish Studies Initiative of the Center for Slavic and East European Studies is seeking applications for faculty and graduate student research grants, as well as undergraduate and graduate student scholarships for education abroad and internships. Faculty and post-candidacy Ph.D. students can apply for up to $1,500 in funding to support research on Polish society and culture, including Polish-American culture, from any disciplinary perspective. Funds can be used for travel, conference attendance or other research related expenses. Pre-candidacy Ph.D., graduate, professional and undergraduate students can apply for up to $1,000 in scholarship funds to support participation in an education abroad program for Polish language or Polish area studies, a domestic intensive Polish language program or an internship in Poland. The annual Polish Studies Initiative grant and scholarship applications are open until February 1, 2018. For more information, visit the grants page on the Center for Slavic and East European Studies website or contact
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