Mershon Center for International Security Studies
October 12 , 2015
In This Issue
In the Media
Sean Kay
Mershon Associate, Ohio Wesleyan University
"Foreign Policy on ISIS"
All Sides with Ann Fisher
October 6, 2015
About Mershon Memo
Mershon Memo is a weekly e-mail newsletter distributed by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, a unit of the Office of International Affairs at The Ohio State University.
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Mershon Events
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Edgar S. Furniss Book Award Winner
Jacob Shapiro
12:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Jacob Shapiro Jacob Shapiro is associate professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and co-directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. His active research projects study political violence, economic and political development in conflict zones, security policy, and urban conflict. He is author of The Terrorist's Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations, winner of the Edgar S. Furniss Book Award from the Mershon Center. The book is the first to systematically examine how terrorist groups are structured. Using agency theory, historical case studies, and terrorists' own documents, Shapiro discusses the managerial challenges terrorists face and shows how their political goals interact with the operational environment. Read more and register at
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sarah Snyder
Noon, 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Sarah Snyder Sarah Snyder is assistant professor of history at American University, where she specializes in the history of the Cold War, human rights activism, and U.S. human rights policy. Her first book, Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network (Cambridge, 2012), analyzes the development of a transnational network devoted to human rights advocacy and its contributions at the end of the Cold War. Her second book, Dictators, Diplomats, and Dissidents: United States Human Rights Policy in the Long 1960s (Columbia, forthcoming), explores the development of U.S. human rights policy during the 1960s. Read more and register at
Thursday, October 22, 2015

Gary King
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Gary King Gary King is the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University, one of 24 with the title of University Professor, Harvard's most distinguished faculty position. He is based in the Department of Government and serves as director of the Institute for Qualitative Social Science. King develops and applies empirical methods in many areas of social science research, focusing innovations that span the range from statistical theory to practical application. His more than 150 journal articles, 20 open source software packages, and eight books span most aspects of political methodology, many fields of political science, and several other scholarly disciplines. King's work is widely read across scholarly fields beyond academia. Read more and register at
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Raymond "Bud" Duvall
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Raymond Duvall Raymond "Bud" Duvall is Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science at University of Minnesota. Among his publications are Power in Global Governance (Cambridge, 2005, co-edited with Michael Barnett) and Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities, and the Production of Danger (Minnesota, 1999, co-edited with Jutta Weldes, Mark Laffey and Hugh Gusterson). In this talk, Duvall will address a newly emerging conceptualization of war in which humans are largely removed from direct participation on the battlefield through the use of drones, battlefield robotics, cyber warfare, and the weaponization of orbital space.  Duvall asks how this type of war affects the principle of territorial state sovereignty, which is the foundation of the nation-state system. Read more and register at
Monday, November 2, 2015

Cardinal Peter Turkson
7 p.m., Mershon Auditorium, 1871 N. High St.

Cardinal Peter Turkson Cardinal Peter Turkson, one of the primary contributors to Pope Francis's environment encyclical, Praise Be to You (Laudato Si'): On Care for our Common Home, will contribute to the worldwide dialog on the relation of humans to the natural world that has been sparked by Pope Francis's encyclical. Cardinal Turkson's talk will be followed by a fireside chat with Ohio State's President Drake. Turkson has become the face of climate change at the Vatican, having led the drafting process of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment. The purpose of encyclical is to elevate the debate on the moral dimensions of protecting the environment and to highlight the intrinsic connection between respect for the environment and respect for people. Turkson's visit to Ohio State is part of a four-day stay in Columbus. Read more and register
Mershon News
Mershon affiliates Mueller, Stewart publish 'Chasing Ghosts'
Following 9/11, Americans' fears of terrorists -- especially domestically based Islamic extremists -- reached near-hysteria levels. Government and media reports stoked fears that bad actors living in the United States had not only the desire but the means to wreak extreme havoc and destruction.
Early reports estimated about 300 al Qaeda operatives living in the United States, and it wasn't long before this number became 2,000 or 5,000 domestic terrorists. As these estimates snowballed, so did spending on federal counterterrorism organizations and measures, now totaling more than $1 trillion.
Chasing Ghosts book coverThe federal government launched more covert operations in the name of fighting terrorist adversaries than they did in the entirety of the 45-year Cold War. For each apprehension of a credible terrorist suspect, the U.S. government created or re-organized two counterterrorism organizations.
The scale of these efforts has been enormous, yet somehow Americans remain fearful of what they perceive to be a massive terrorist threat. But how well-founded is this fear? Is the threat of terrorism in the United States as vast as it seems, and are counterterrorism efforts effective and appropriately-scaled?
In Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism (Oxford University Press, 2015), Mershon affiliates John Mueller and Mark Stewart, show that it has not, statistically speaking, been efficient or successful. Only one alarm in 10,000 has proven to be a legitimate threat -- the rest are what Mueller and Stewart call as "chasing ghosts."
These ghosts are enormous drains on resources and contribute to a countrywide paranoia that has resulted in widespread support for (and minimal critical questioning of) massive expenditures and infringements on civil liberties, including regular invasions of privacy and legally questionable imprisonments.
Mueller and Stewart contend that the "ghost chase" occupying American law enforcement and fueling federal spending persists because the public has been led to believe that the terrorism threat is significant. As they show, it is not a significant threat -- certainly not large enough to justify the vast security state apparatus that has emerged to combat it. Read more about this book
Other Events
Thursday, October 22, 2015

Klaas van der Tempel and Martijn Steger 
U.S.-Europe Relations: Trade and the Refugee Crisis
11:30 a.m., WOSU@COSI, 333 W. Broad St.
Sponsored by Columbus Council on World Affairs

The United States and European Union together represent 50 percent of the world's gross domestic product, yet no trade deal exists between them. Why? Diplomats from both sides of the Atlantic remain in negotiation on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The main goal of TTIP is to cut tariff and regulatory barriers to trade, the implications of which will affect business in America's heartland. However, more than 2 million people in Europe have signed a petition opposing the agreement. Additionally, the United States and European Union are currently facing the most significant refugee crisis of our generation stemming from Syria but with roots in Ukraine last year. Klaas van der Tempel, consul general of the Netherlands, will discuss these unprecedented challenges with Martijn Steger, chair of Kegler Brown's Global Business practice. Read more and register
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tania Murray Li
3:30 p.m., 1080 Derby Hall154 N. Oval Mall

Tania Murray Li is professor of anthropology at University of Toronto, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy and Culture of Asia. Her publications include Land's End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier (Duke, 2014), Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia (with Derek Hall and Philip Hirsch, NUS Press, 2011), T he Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics (Duke, 2007) and many articles on land, development, resource struggles, community, class, and indigeneity with a focus on Indonesia. In this talk, Li will draw on two decades of ethnographic research in Sulawesi, Indonesia, to offer an intimate account of the emergence of capitalist relations among indigenous highlanders who privatized their common land to plant a global market crop, cacao. Some prospered; others lost their land. The story has potent messages for social movement activists, who expect indigenous people to be guardians of community, tradition, and food production. It also interrupts transition narratives in which people who lose their land march off to find jobs. When jobs are scarce, land's end is a dead end, from which a different politics must emerge.
Other News
2015 International Photography Competition

All students, faculty, staff, visiting scholars and alumni at The Ohio State University are invited to submit their photos to the 2015 International Photography Competition. Entries will be accepted through Sunday, October 18. This is a wonderful opportunity to share your original photographs from around the world. In addition to honoring the Best in Show, first, second and third place winners will be selected in the following categories: People, Places and Buckeye Pride Worldwide. There will also be People's Choice awards for the photos that receive the highest votes via the Facebook voting phase. Read more:
Environmental film series: October 20 - November 24


The Office of Energy and Environment and the Environmental Professionals Network are hosting a film series designed to raise student awareness of climate change and the economic, health, political and environmental impacts resulting from climate change, on six Tuesday evenings this semester. Three evenings will screen episodes from the PBS series "Earth, A New Wild," and three evenings will screen episodes of the Showtime series "Years of Living Dangerously."


Each film is one hour in length, and a discussion session will follow hosted by a member of the Ohio State faculty. The film series is being offered as an independent credit course for students (ENR 4193 Section 35418) as well as open to anyone who would like to attend.


The film series takes place every Tuesday at 7 p.m. from October 20 through November 24 at U.S. Bank Theater in the Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St.  See the schedule here 

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