Browsing Master's Program in International Affairs (MPIA) Capstones by Title
Heavin, Reagan; Hudson, Adam; Krueger, Brandon; O'Neil, Sean; Rozell, Griffin; Suma, Matt ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: This project supported the National Intelligence Council's production of its report Mapping the Global Future: 2025, forthcoming 2009. With China's great rise to power in the background, this capstone helped assess the most likely security outcomes for East Asia in 2025. The Capstone briefed the NIC and other analysts from the intelligence community and also briefed the China desk team under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs in the Department of Defense.
Files in this item: 1Layne_2008.pdf (1.048Mb)
Effective Intelligence Operations during Counterinsurgency Campaigns - Intelligence Community in Counterinsurgency: Historical Lessons and Best PracticesAlbers, Andrew C.; Binkley, Samuel G.; Chaudhry, Mariam F.; Craswell, Kimberly; Freeman, Jordan S.; Lytle, Carrie E.; Myers, Tristan L.; Naser, Rami; Sloan, Peter T. ( 2009)[more][less]
Description: The United States Army's recently published field manual detailing an improved counterinsurgency doctrine is seen by many as a crucial step towards improving military effectiveness in counterinsurgency campaigns. This capstone project laid out a framework to help the intelligence community craft its own unique doctrine for counterinsurgencies. The project looked at intelligence operations that are crucial for defeating insurgencies, the operational factors that are most effective, and the lessons learned from past counterinsurgency successes and failures. Blending historical case studies and first-person accounts from field operatives, the project outlined the kinds of intelligence operations that should be implemented and the goals they must meet in order to run a successful counterinsurgency.
Files in this item: 1Castillo_Spring2009.pdf (1.221Mb)
Environmental Impacts of China Outward Foreign Direct Investment: Case Studies in Latin America, Mongolia, Myanmar, and ZambiaAl-Aameri, Nour; Fu, Lingxiao; Garcia, Nicole; Mak, Ryan; McGill, Caitlin; Reynolds, Amanda; Vinze, Lucas ( 2012)[more][less]
Abstract: China’s rapid increase of outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) over the past decade has garnered worldwide attention for a variety of reasons. Of particular concern is the concentration of Chinese OFDI in extractive industries, especially in developing countries. Generally, developing countries have fewer and weaker regulations than developed nations, exposing them to more severe environmental degradation. As the environmental consequences of such growth and investment become more visible, governments, companies, and communities pursue better environmental management and protection policies. Increasing environmental awareness and protection measures are evident in China’s 11th and 12th five-year plans, which suggests that domestically China is pursuing a more efficient and sustainable growth than in previous decades. China plans to implement policies to increase accountability and capacity to improve environmental protection. While challenges still exist, namely China’s growing demands for energy, such policies will provide a framework to advance environmental protection. China’s growing demand for and consumption of energy drives Chinese OFDI. The concentration of China’s investment in extractive industries leads to substantial environmental degradation. The majority of investment takes place through large state-owned enterprises. Despite improving its domestic environmental policies, China lacks any environmental regulation of OFDI. Though it promotes corporate social responsibility (CSR) and recently released legal guidelines for OFDI, such practices rely on the initiative of the investing company. The domestic policy environment interacts with the regulations of the recipient countries, resulting in differing environmental impacts. 3 An examination of several countries from varying regions illustrates how investments interact with recipient countries’ regulations. The increase of Chinese investment has affected the environment of South America, Mongolia, Myanmar and Zambia. Chinese investment in South America has allowed China to secure natural resources by increasing petroleum and mining production. Investment has impacted both small and established producers throughout the continent. South America, in particular Peru, shows how political development and improved financial markets can improve the regulatory environment, allowing FDI to benefit recipient countries. Most Chinese FDI entering Mongolia is in the mining sector to meet China’s growing demand for minerals. Investors in this sector include large Chinese state-owned mining enterprises that dominate Mongolia’s largest deposits, as well as small and medium Chinese mining firms in the artisanal mining industry. Unlike their larger counterparts, these small and medium mining firms do not employ environmentally friendly technology to extract minerals. Hence, Chinese artisanal mining has harmed Mongolia’s environment by generating excess surface water, waste rock piles, tailings, and mercury pollution, which causes air and water pollution. Inadequate law enforcement and local government corruption, coupled with the increasing influence of China, have made it difficult for Mongolia’s central government to address these environmental issues. In Myanmar, FDI in the nation’s hydropower, oil and gas and mining sectors has resulted in water pollution, destruction of fisheries, loss of biodiversity and deforestation. Chinese investors and firms from other countries, whose investments predate those of China, caused these environmental issues. They can also be attributed to Naypyitaw’s ineffective environmental governance, resulting from underdeveloped institutions and flouting the of its own environmental 4 laws. To improve environmental governance, Myanmar’s government must develop its institutions, devote more resources to environmental protection and promote environmental education. In Zambia, Chinese investments are concentrated heavily in the country’s copper mining industry. In Zambia, the country’s reliance on the mining sector results in air and water pollution of the surrounding areas. Though Chinese companies are by no means the largest investors or polluters in Zambia’s mining sector, the rapid increase of investments has made China particularly influential. The legislative and regulatory framework exists for environmental protection in Zambia, but the country lacks capacity for enforcement and accountability mechanisms. As such, several international mining companies have no incentive to comply with environmental regulations, worsening environmental degradation. To generate recommendations for improved environmental performance through sustainable outward foreign direct investment, we analyzed several viewpoints. Using the country report, we identified existing regulations and discovered areas where regulations or environmental awareness is lacking. One major observation from the country report is that China does not impose environmental regulations on outward foreign direct investment; instead, the government expects firms to comply with the regulations of the host countries. This raises an interesting question about whether home countries have an incentive to regulate environmentally sensitive areas. We surveyed theory and the existing literature on the pollution haven hypothesis to see if host countries avoid environmental regulations to encourage investment. Although the theory remains popular, robust evidence of the hypothesis does not exist. After completing the theoretical approach, we chose to apply country case studies to see if any developed countries have taken the lead in imposing environmental regulations. After 5 studying the U.S., Canada, and Europe, we found that environmental regulations for in-country development are common. However, like China, these countries do not actively regulate OFDI. In the absence of a global regulatory environment, a collaborative effort is needed. Through the research, we discovered a multi-tiered relationship, in which the home government, the host government, NGOs, and investors can all coordinate to improve environmental outcomes. After noting that the two-way tie between governments and investors is not always sufficient for regulations, we looked into alternative third parties that can affect environmental awareness. Through a literature review, we identified NGOs as powerful actors that can affect information availability, policy, operations, assessment and monitoring, and environmental advocacy. The combination of country analysis, theoretical framework building, case studies, and player identification allows us to formulate recommendations from the macro to the micro level. Specifically, we identified several broad categories where improvements can occur: with local communities and NGOs, with regulatory bodies, and with investors. Some recommendations apply to China’s environmental regulations; some apply to our four country regions; and others apply to investors and NGOs. TNC can help local communities and NGOs develop institutions, increase awareness, and build capacity to enhance management of environmental resources. By partnering with regulatory bodies, TNC can work to improve monitoring of environmental regulations through additional training and providing access to accurate information. Where investors are concerned, TNC and government actors can help improve banking practices and provide incentives to encourage environmental protection.
Files in this item: 2Final Bush School Report_2012.pdf (1682.Kb)(more files)
Bell, Rich; Bennett, J. Ethan; Boles, Jillian R.; Goodoien, David M.; Irving, Jeff W.; Kuhlman, Phillip B.; White, Amanda K. ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: Economic espionage is a serious threat to the vitality of the U.S. economy. While this is a widely accepted fact, there is no formal way to measure the damage an incident of economic espionage has on the U.S. economy. The U.S. government would like to know how damaging economic espionage is on the economy. However, the full repercussions of an incident of economic espionage are never known. A stolen trade secret, over the course of many years, could be used in different products and in different industries. The loss of a trade secret is an immeasurable value. Instead of attempting to measure such an overarching elusive concept, the research team sought to measure the potential consequence of economic espionage. In this study, the research team constructed a model to identify the severity of an incident of economic espionage and its consequences on the U.S. economy. The model was designed for use by federal government employees with the intent that the federal government could apply publically available case information to the model. The model provides a qualitative estimate of “consequence” as it relates to economic loss. The model generates a severity score between 0 and 1, which corresponds to a „low‟, „moderate‟, and „high‟ consequence. The severity score incorporates the model‟s four main variables into two primary components: „Industry‟ and „Case Variables‟. „Industry‟ assesses the significance of where the incident of economic espionage occurred. „Industry‟ is derived from a combination of the percentage of GDP in terms of value added for each of the 14 industries and the „susceptibility‟ of each of the 14 industries. This process enables the model to be individualized to a specific industry, which allows a different potential consequence to the U.S. economy. „Case Variables‟ assess the significance of the incident of economic espionage. „Case Variables‟ include the „Characteristics of the Theft‟, „Cost‟, and „Beneficiary‟ variables. The model requires the user to first select the „Industry‟ where the incident occurred and then to identify the „Case Variables‟. Therefore, the potential consequence on the U.S. economy from an incident of economic espionage is dependent on the industry. To greater individualize the model, the research team designed a method whereby questions within the model would matter more when compared to others. As no two incidents of economic espionage are identical, the research team developed a system of weighing the variables and their respective questions. With all the variables measured, standardized, and weighed against each other, the model calculates an overall severity score, which corresponds to the level of consequence for an incident of economic espionage.
Files in this item: 1Engel_Spring2010.pdf (827.6Kb)
Armstrong, Iain; Berry, Erin; Bitter, Alexander; Colburn, Leland; Karika, Kathleen; Paulino, Jose; Redden, Rebekah; Vien, Thomas "Tex"; Williams, Lodrick (May 20, 2015)[more][less]
Abstract: Biological incidents, both man-made and naturally occurring, represent a significant threat to the national security of the United States. Identifying these crises begins with the detection and reporting of essential biological disease information, known as biosurveillance. As the first of its kind, the 2012 National Strategy for Biosurveillance targets the process essential information should take to reach decisionmakers. Although there are points of strength in the system, extensive research finds the current biosurveillance infrastructure does not adequately transmit information to decisionmakers. Therefore, this report recommends three improvements to the biosurveillance system: increase incorporation of information, improve interagency relationships, and strengthen governance in the biosurveillance community.
Files in this item: 1
Coffman-Cole, Sandra; Du, Minghua; Hattan, Justin; Powers, Shawn; Rubenstein, Sarah; Santos, Araceli; Slupski, Steve ( 2006)[more][less]
Description: Much of the world's poor has difficulty in obtaining loans, especially the small loans (termed microfinance) they require. In order to improve access, Mohammed Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which uses innovative methods so the poor can obtain loans. The lessons of the Grameen Bank have been replicated worldwide, including in India in 2004 with Grameen Capital India (GCI). GCI partners with commercial banks such as the largest Indian private bank, ICICI bank, and Citigroup in order to provide funds to microfinance institutions. It structures its financial products so that low-income producers can access capital markets through various initiatives. GCI wants to expand this effort because only 5 % of Indian microfinance demand is now being met but is concerned that expanding is difficult. They believe they can learn much from an organization that has successfully increased its scale.
A parallel organization in the U.S. is the Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF, crfusa.com). The CRF provides economic development funds and acts as a secondary market for loans for affordable housing and community facilities. Founded in 1989, with lending institutions in 22 states, the CRF has more experience than GCI in expanding operations. Students in this capstone project interacted with members from both the CRF and GCI and applied the lessons of the CRF to the GCI. They provided valuable advice to GCI on how it can enhance financial assistance for very small entrepreneurs in India, especially housing finance.
In this endeavor, students became familiar with one of the most popular of development fields. They actively engaged in current discussions on financial development in India and enhanced their own analytical skills in the fields of economics and finance.
Files in this item: 1Varghese_2006.pdf (999.2Kb)
Boggs, Jay W.; Chellinsky, Andrew; Ege, David; Hodges, Allen; Reynolds, Tripp; Williams, Andy ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: Looking ahead to 2025, what policies should future US administrations consider as appropriate responses to climate change, and what level of commitment should be devoted to addressing global climate change by the US government? To answer the key question, the project addressed the following secondary issues:
1.Based on the best scientific evidence currently available, what will the most likely manifestations of global climate change be by 2025? This includes aggregate changes (surface temperatures, rising sea levels) as well as discrete changes (drought, flooding, disease, storms, heat waves). With respect to the latter, what are the probabilities that such events will be more (or less severe) than they are today? 2.Based on the answers to the above, how politically salient will the issue of responding to global climate change be in 2025 (globally, by geographic region/location, by coalitions of similarly situated countries)? 3.What low-probability, but potentially catastrophic events, may occur and how should these be taken into account by US policy? 4.Responding to global climate change could be costly financially. However, there also could be positive spin-offs from addressing the consequences of global climate change. What may these positive spin-offs be (new technologies, energy independence, health, multilateral leadership, reputation gains)?
Files in this item: 2Layne_2007.pdf (2.543Mb)(more files)
Abraham, Phebey; Cantrell, Catherine; Carman, Tara; Gruenwald, Emily; Rowley, Thomas A. ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: This 2008 Capstone research continues the work of a 2007 project titled "The Interagency Process in Support & Stability Operations: Integrating and Aligning the Roles and Missions of Military and Civilian Agencies in Conflict and Post-Conflict Environments." The 2007 Capstone study included analyses of interagency efforts in the conduct of US and NATO operations in counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. This 2008 study analyzed how US national security policies, strategies, and objectives have changed since 2001. It also estimated the effectiveness of the contemporary national security system, including institutions, organizations, and leadership in addressing what international security experts call "human security," or threats to the survival of societies, groups, and individuals.
Files in this item: 1Cerami_2008.pdf (21.13Mb)
Barnes, Riley; Davis, Stephen; Enderle, Dori; Jacobs, Matt; Joost, Laura; Perkins, Mike; Snodgrass, Steven; Stone, Nathanael; Woolfolk, Melisa ( 2011)[more][less]
Abstract: Angry about the results of the 2009 elections, the Iranian opposition took to the streets, coordinating widespread protests to challenge the authority of the regime in Tehran. The protests hampered, but did not stop, the regime's effort to impose its favorite candidate for president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The strength of this opposition appears to have caught both the government and the international community by surprise. Our sponsor asked this Capstone group to address the following questions: How strong are Iranian opposition groups? Under what conditions could they pose a threat to the regime? To answer these questions, the project develops a framework comparing opposition groups and regimes across different historical cases. We argue the Iranian regime retains a strong grip on power, using both the threat of US intervention and domestic support for its nuclear program to rally support for the government. Unlike recent revolutions in the Arab world, the opposition stands little chance of toppling the government. Opposition movements lack the resources to seriously challenge the government. The project's framework also identified the conditions under which the Iranian opposition might gain enough strength to overthrow the regime. We summarize our findings in both a briefing and a paper. Our findings aim to help intelligence analysts decide which indicators to use when assessing the strength of Iranian opposition groups, and opposition groups in general. The project team briefed the sponsor in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2011.
Files in this item: 2Castillo_Spring2011.pdf (441.3Kb)(more files)
Acuña, Sarah; Akujuobi, Chris; Brigance, Nicholas; Kasper, Brian; Nearburg, Trevor ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: With the current public outrage at the environmental consequences of the oil spill in the Gulf, the president is likely to gain much needed support for his promotion of climate change legislation. A market driven switch to alternative and renewable energy will require a bill that puts a price on carbon and gives producers incentives to switch to and invest in cleaner, more efficient inputs and processes. Such a bill must meet two criteria. First, it must not harm the competitiveness of domestic producers relative to their foreign counterparts; and second, it must minimize emission leakage, thereby reducing global emissions levels. In this project for the US Department of Energy, we model the impacts of future US climate legislation. Policy scenarios are drawn from the precedence set by the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), which the US Senate did not pass in 2010 but which serves as a blueprint for the future. The goal of the ACESA is to motivate US producers to reduce emissions in five manufacturing industries: Iron and Steel, Non-ferrous Metals, Non-metallic Minerals, Pulp and Paper, and Chemicals. Collectively, these sectors make up the most energy-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) sectors in the world. While the bill did not pass in its current form, future legislation will incorporate its three main policies: instituting a cap and trade system in the US, output-based rebates on allowance purchases, and an import tax on embodied emissions.
Files in this item: 2Gawande_Spring2010.pdf (739.2Kb)(more files)
Burk, Judah; Ericson, Paige; Fillman, Kara; Graber, Jon; Jones, Elizabeth; Mitchell, Cheryl; Rodgers, Randy; Wilson, Naomi ( 2012)[more][less]
Abstract: This report assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the Joint Duty (JD) program as it is currently implemented at the CIA. Over the course of approximately six weeks, the Bush School 2012 Capstone interviewed - in-person and by phone - 160 CIA employees who completed a JD assignment. In assessing the qualitative and quantitative responses reported by personnel, we conclude that employees find value in the program, are well-integrated within their host agency, and achieve the program's mission of increasing employees' knowledge of other Intelligence Community agencies. Weaknesses hindering the program include: a disproportionately high number of employees choosing assignments at the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the National Reconnaissance Agency (NRO); insufficient manager guidance in selecting career-relevant assignments; failure to comply with regulations tasking agencies to maintain contact with their JD employees; employees experiencing significant difficulty returning to the CIA upon completion of their assignment; and inconsistent views regarding whether the program aids promotion potential.
Files in this item: 1Sievert_Spring2012.pdf (318.8Kb)
The Interagency Process in Support & Stability Operations: Integrating and Aligning the Roles and Missions of Military and Civilian Agencies in Conflict and Post-Conflict EnvironmentsBaetjer, Patrick; Cline, Chris; Hernandorena, Carlos; Polley, Brian; Rogers, Kate; Smith, Amanda; Voelkel, Tyson ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: This study addressed the support, stability, and reconstruction missions and tasks for the U.S. government in counterinsurgency warfare and suggests that interagency processes between civilian and military elements are in need of reform as a prerequisite for improving U.S. performance in complex counterinsurgencies. The project examined, assessed, and defined the nature of these problems in the context of historical case studies, policymaking, and current operations, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting several ways to improve agency and interagency structures, as well as the education and training of core interagency civilian and military professionals. The findings were presented at a conference on the topic, hosted by the Bush School and the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army.
Files in this item: 1Cerami_2007.pdf (2.302Mb)
Investigating the Current Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland - Determining al-Qa'ida's Targeting Strategy: Who's in the Crosshairs?Bacon-Ward, Ashley; Bell, Kevin; Brandt, Gretchen; Brown, Nathan; Figuerola, Andy; Foix, Marissa; Formanek, Mary; Holden, David; Vrdoljak, Denis ( 2009)[more][less]
Description: This project analyzed the current terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland both from homegrown terrorists and those who represent foreign terrorist organizations or who come to the United States to carry out an act of terrorism. Although there has been no terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11, the assumption that there is little support for al-Qaeda or the jihadi worldview from U.S. citizens or others is challenged by recent cases that reveal there are still individuals in the country who may become involved in terrorist activity. The study examined recent cases of thwarted attacks and failed plots to determine current capabilities and tactics possessed by terrorist groups and individuals. The students also looked at how successful al-Qaeda and those who share its views have been at finding new recruits for U.S. operations.
Files in this item: 2Daly_Spring2009.pdf (786.3Kb)(more files)
Childress, Kristin R.; Copley, Bethany M.; Davis, Drew B.C.; Hopp, Timothy D.; Miller, Melissa A.; Prendergast, Natalie J.; Potter, Amy J.; Rivera, Pablo J. ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: At the request of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence, a team from the Bush School conducted an inquiry to determine how the CIA responded to the investigations of the 9/11 and WMD Commissions. The goal of the project, which involved interviews with several commissioners and numerous key staff members, was to identify what actions the D/CIA must take when confronted with future commissions to ensure that the most accurate picture of the Agency is presented, while preventing the formation of inaccurate negative impressions created by the manner in which Agency personnel interact with investigators. At the conclusion of the Capstone, the students prepared a report and orally briefed Agency supervisors on their findings and recommendations.
Files in this item: 1Sievert_Spring2010.pdf (4.626Mb)
Princeton University Press ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: Students researched the diary of George Bush, 41st President of the United States, written during the time that he served as the Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing (1974-1975). Searching through archives and preparing text and footnotes, the students contributed work for an upcoming publication from Princeton University Press, expected in 2008. Students also presented their work to interested parties within the Bush School and Library.
Files in this item: 0
Landrum, William W.; Llewellyn, Benjamin B.; Limesand, Craig M.; Miller, Dante J.; Morris, James P.; Nowell, Kathleen S.; Sherman, Charlotte L. ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: Eurasia is a major source of oil and natural gas, and events in the region have a great potential to destabilize global security patterns. Supplies of natural gas and oil from Eurasia are vital for the functioning of European economies, and also important to US efforts to reduce its reliance on Middle Eastern energy resources. Presently, pipelines in Eurasia stretch across thousands of miles throughout unstable political regions. Disruptions in gas and oil supplies negatively affect the economies and politics of the region. Future pipeline projects – such as the Nabucco pipeline – are highly controversial, and Russia’s efforts to control oil and gas supplies in the region have recently intensified. Russia has gained increased influence in its neighborhood by consolidating control of regional energy production and infrastructure. This project claims that Russia is using its energy monopoly to further its geostrategic aims: ensuring political influence in nearby countries, obtaining a rise in commodity prices, and returning to multi-polarity in which Russia maintains clear regional hegemony. On the other hand, the US has four key interests in Eurasia. These include averting tensions with Russia, stabilizing the flow of oil and natural gas to Western Europe, maintaining US regional access for counterterrorism operations, and promoting democratic regimes to reduce Russian influence. In this light, the report argues that the US must promote development of pipelines that bypass Russian control and advance alternative domestic sources. These actions will ease European dependence on Russian energy, shield Europe from disruptions in supply, and decrease Russia’s ability to exert influence through energy policy. Other options include promoting a common European Union energy policy to increase influence in energy markets, push for increased gas storage across Europe to provide temporary relief against gas disruptions, and explore increased US and European cooperation with Russia on energy market access.
Files in this item: 1Thornton_Fall2009.pdf (12.24Mb)
Napper, Ambassador Larry; Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Ft. Polk, Louisiana ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: Two separate but parallel capstones combined intensive classroom study and civilian support field exercises to US military counterinsurgency operations, focused on the model of interagency Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Students visited JRTC in Louisiana March 2008 to play a PRT role during the training of a US Army Combat brigade en route to Iraq. Upon return from Louisiana, students prepared a written After Action Report and Lessons Learned that included recommendations for future PRT role players and trainers for the JRTC.
Files in this item: 1Napper_2008.pdf (1.421Mb)
Napper, Ambassador Larry; Nuclear Nonproliferation Office of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) ( 2009)[more][less]
Description: This capstone project conducted a focused examination of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and identified options for U.S. policy makers by designing a simulated interdiction operation. The simulation involved a cargo aircraft carrying sensitive nuclear components bound for Iran that stops for refueling in a Central Asian country, thus creating the opportunity for cooperative action. Capstone students joined students from Texas A&M's Department of Nuclear Engineering to construct and execute a mini-move simulation. In addition to a literature review and interviews with PSI experts, the students conducted an initial play of the simulation for the client along with an after action report.
Files in this item: 2Napper_Spring2009.pdf (744.8Kb)(more files)
Napper, Ambassador Larry; Department of State ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: Students worked to develop an extensive database on contemporary Uzbekistan through library and online research and interviews with leading American and foreign experts on Uzbekistan and the region. In order to explore the challenges, opportunities, and policy options that will confront U.S. policy-makers, Bush School students constructed and executed a multi-move simulation. The simulation did not provide definitive answers, as different players in the simulation and future U.S. policy-makers may reach different conclusions on the most effective and constructive policy options.
Files in this item: 1Napper_2007.ppt (254.4Kb)
U.S. Strategic Options towards Iran: Understanding the U.S.–Iranian Relations through Iranian Domestic PoliticsAbernathy, Jacob; Blanco, David; Kingsley, Marlee; Kramer, Michael; Lopacka, Karolina; Mauel, Heather; Peacock, Mike; Stotts, Katherine; Varela, Marques; Young, Krysten ( 2014)[more][less]
Abstract: The ongoing nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran have made greater progress on more substantial issues than any previous talks. This report argues that Iran’s unprecedented willingness to negotiate is strongly influenced by two factors: a united P5+1 and more importantly, a convergence of interests among Iran’s domestic factions. While there has long been knowledge of the challenges posed by Iran’s often-competing factions, no other study pinpoints them as a primary variable in the nuclear negotiations. Based on 50 interviews with high-level Iran experts and government officials and independent research, our study provides a unique framework for understanding the dynamics of Iranian domestic politics and its impact on the efficacy of U.S. policies. This study considers three scenarios the U.S. could encounter on July 20, 2014, when the current Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) expires: the P5+1 and Iran could sign a comprehensive deal; another interim deal could be reached; or negotiations could break down. The common thread throughout these recommendations is that the U.S. must find a way to capitalize on the factional convergence and avoid undermining it. The U.S. should always negotiate with Iran as a unitary actor, rather than favor certain factions; avoid measures that prompt one faction to undercut another faction; and understand that while not unique in having domestic competition, Iran’s political factions have a stronger effect on the success of negotiations than many have realized. If a comprehensive agreement is reached, we recommend pursuing limited engagement that seeks to broaden cooperation with Iran by working on issues that interest all Iranian factions, while also having deterrent threats in place should Iran renege. In the case of another interim deal, we recommend that the U.S. embrace balanced diplomacy, which increases the level of positive and negative inducements meant to persuade Iran to reach a comprehensive agreement. This recommendation, which mimics current U.S. policy, should focus solely on nuclear issues, unlike the first scenario. If nuclear negotiations break down, we recommend coercive diplomacy that involves gradual pressure, ranging from increased sanctions to authorizing the use of force. The challenge here is credibly threatening Iran without alienating the other P5+1 members or pushing Iran’s factions to unite against the United States. In all future negotiations, the U.S. should capitalize on Iranian domestic convergences and engage Iran as a whole.
Files in this item: 123 April Capstone Paper FINAL.pdf (309.5Kb)