The Politics of NAFTA Have Been Driven More by Story Than by Fact

“The undramatic truth is that NAFTA was never truly villain or hero. … NAFTA was always far from perfect and there is a need to update it — not surprising for an agreement negotiated a quarter century ago. But just as NAFTA did not cause inequality, killing NAFTA would do nothing to address it,” writes Frederick “Fritz” Mayer.

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Would The Public Follow Trump Into War?

Political scientist Peter Feaver, who served as a senior adviser on the national security council for strategic planning under President George W. Bush, says international doubts won’t make it impossible for foreign leaders to back Trump if they support his strategy — as demonstrated by the unanimous recent United Nations vote tightening economic sanctions on North Korea. But these widespread reservations, he adds, will make other leaders more cautious about supporting his initiatives.

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Trump Can Prove His Words on White Supremacy Aren’t Hollow

“After running a highly divisive campaign that emboldened overt racists to advocate for their agenda in the political arena, the president now has an opportunity, with the Charlottesville tragedy, to demonstrate that his words against racism and bigotry are not hollow promises. He has a long way to go,” writes public policy professor David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

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Is Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Immoral?

“Americans are not naïve about the risks nuclear weapons pose, but they have long valued freedom over safety. Nuclear weapons can defend not just lives, per se, but a way of life. But it seems treaty advocates prefer to avoid the risks that nuclear weapons might pose, even at the possible cost of freedom, writes law professor Charles Dunlap, executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke Law.

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Is U.S. Diplomacy Under Friendly Fire?

After six months of the Trump administration, America’s professional diplomats are reportedly “desperate” for a foreign policy — or even for something to do. They complain that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has walled himself off from the diplomatic corps and that he’s being walled off from the White House. Political scientist Peter Feaver, a former national security adviser to Presidents Clinton and Bush, talks about the concerns.

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Bills in NC, Congress Target Companies That Boycott Israel

“The government has the power to control its own message, for example, by deciding which programs it wants to subsidize in the first place,” says law professor Joseph Blocher. “That’s what’s called government speech, and one might argue that HB 161 is just a matter of North Carolina choosing not to support certain viewpoints with which it disagrees.”

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Bringing Back the Draft

Peter Feaver, a political science professor and author of ­numerous works on national security, says the argument for the draft is a backdoor approach to ending the current types of interventionist wars we are fighting. “That is an argument about American grand strategy masquerading as being about the all-volunteer force,” he says. Feaver is skeptical that the ­American military might find itself in such a ­predicament as to need large numbers of troops from a draft, noting the “U.S. military has the wherewithal to do most of the missions needed.”

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Justices Felt Trump Travel Ban ‘Too Restrictive’

At a Duke Law School event in Washington, D.C., Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg  said the court decided that close relationships include grandparents and other relatives. The administration initially left them off its list of family members who would not be covered by President Donald Trump’s 90-day travel ban.

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President Trump Wades Into Venezuelan Row

Donald Trump has threatened to take strong and swift action against Venezuela if President Nicolas Maduro imposes constitutional changes. That “signals a change in U.S. thinking,” says Fuqua professor Patrick Duddy, a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela who now directs Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. “Today’s announcement suggests Washington is considering much broader sanctions.”

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Finding The Truth in Complex Civilian-Casualty Investigations

“I contend that while witness interviews are certainly valuable, research in recent years shows that allegedly ‘eyewitness’ accounts carry their own risks and limitations,” writes law professor Charles Dunlap. “Accordingly, I believe that human rights organizations ought to rethink the extent to which they rely (over rely?) on such testimony to – as they put it – form the “bedrock” of their investigations, particularly in contested war zone areas.”

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Amnesty Says Possible War Crimes In Mosul by U.S.-Led Coalition

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap, now a law professor at Duke, questions Amnesty’s claim that coalition forces may have committed war crimes. “The law – which even in this context carries, as Amnesty International should know, a presumption of innocence – typically demands evidence of the attacker’s beliefs and intent before ascribing criminal liability. I didn’t see much of that in the report,” he says.

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Legal Experts Say There’s Evidence of Collusion

“When alleged crimes arise from conversations, there are always fine lines to be drawn,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “But it is intent that governs which side of the legal line such a meeting falls on, not success. This is obviously not a cast of characters out of some John le Carré novel, and the meeting may have been a bumbling effort.”

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