Mershon Center for International Security Studies
November 27, 2017
In This Issue
In the Media
Peter Shane
Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law
"Trump may not like Ohio's federal judge choices"
Columbus Dispatch
November 20, 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, November 30, 2017

Monica Toft
"Death by Demography: How Population Changes Impact National Security"
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
Students confront calamity in national security simulation

It's 9:53 on Saturday morning and Dakota Rudesill is about to cause an earthquake in San Francisco. That's bad. The North Korean nuclear missile test coming next might be worse.

Dakota Rudesill
Dakota Rudesill
Welcome to the Ohio State National Security Simulation. The event is a two-day exercise at The Ohio State University that immerses students from law, policy, intelligence and media in real-world roles as they confront a seemingly never-ending series of crises.

Rudesill, a law professor at the Moritz College of Law, is the simulation's architect, instructor and puppet master. He and a control team operated behind closed doors, injecting chaos at every turn to challenge the students to work through problems.

And the problems are legion. Over the course of the simulation last week, the crises included terror attacks, natural disasters and cyber warfare. The examples are often drawn from real life.

"If while we're working through the issues we are coming up with today, we come up with a brilliant policy response or legal response to something, that's wonderful," Rudesill said. "But what this is really about is professional skills development."

A roster of real-world experts advise the students throughout the simulation. Senate President Larry Obhof, former Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy and Washington Post journalist Philip Bump were some of the professionals guiding the students from crisis to crisis.

Peter Mansoor simulation 2017
Mato Vunak (left) and Philip Bump (right) of the Washington Post chase down Mershon affiliate Peter Mansoor, who was playing the part of the president.
At one point, the students charged with role-playing the legislative branch failed to get a bill out of committee. Rudesill, who in his career has advised senior leaders in all three branches of the federal government, compared it to a prizefighter who is knocked out in training.

"It really exposes all of us to how complicated the national security decision-making process is," said Jeff Rogg, a graduate student who helps Rudesill manage the planning and implementation of the simulation.

Students and participants immersed themselves in their roles and often executed very challenging assignments. By the end of the second day, students averted nuclear war, passed a congressional spending bill and halted an armed insurrection. And learned some valuable lessons.
Other Events
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
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jim Dickmeyer and Daniel Ujczo
"North American Trade: Canada, Mexico, and the Future of NAFTA"
11:30 a.m., Hyatt Regency, Fairfield Room, 350 N. High St.
Sponsored by Columbus Council on World Affairs

Jim Dickmeyer What is at stake in the NAFTA renegotiation talks under way? What issues will prove the most challenging? What are the consequences if the three countries cannot come to agreement on these? What is the impact of elections in both the United States and Mexico in 2018 on the renegotiation talks? The Columbus Council on World Affairs invites you to join us for a dialogue on these and related issues with Jim Dickmeyer (left), senior foreign service officer at the U.S. Department of State and North American Competitiveness Fellow at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Dan Ujczo, cross-border development director at Dickinson Wright PLLC in Columbus. Read more and register
Other News
Mershon affiliates examine legacy of WWI in 'Origins'

Origins has published a new Milestones piece: " The Long Legacy of World War I" by Mershon affiliates Bruno Cabanes and Jennifer Siegel, with Aaron Retish.

To mark the 100th anniversary of American military involvement in World War I, Origins asked three distinguished historians to address the question: What do you think is the most important legacy of the First World War? Bruno Cabanes describes how the sheer scale of death and destruction changed our way of mourning and remembering. Jennifer Siegel follows the money to examine how the war re-arranged the balance of financial power in the world. And Aaron Retish explores how the war not only made possible the Bolshevik Revolution but defined the characteristics of the Soviet State. 

Also available is "From Romanovs to Reds: Russia's Revolutions at 100," a podcast interview with Mershon affiliates Angela Brintlinger and Nicholas Breyfogle, as well as Stephen Norris. They will explore the causes of the Russian Revolutions, their profound consequences, and how the world is remembering their centennial anniversary today.

About Origins: Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective is a monthly ad-free magazine that features top scholars on today's most pressing topics. Published by The Ohio State History Department, its authors include National Book Award winners and world-renowned scholars. You can also explore reviews of popular history books on the Origins website as well as the new monthly feature Milestones.
Register for the 2018 Community Engagement Conference

Registration is now open for Ohio State's inaugural Community Engagement Conference, featuring keynote speaker Donna Shalala. The conference, taking place January 24-25, 2018, 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 the conference is Partnering to Advance Health and Wellness. Register and learn more at For more information, contact or
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