Trump Signs Away TPP, But Will Better Deals Result?

President Donald Trump is expected to focus more on trade deals with individual countries now that he has ended U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. Could the bilateral deals be better for the US than the 12-nation TPP? Law professor Rachel Brewster says an advantage of big trade agreements like TPP is they can put pressure on companies because they do not want to be left out of the partnership.

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Trump Takes Office Under Appearances Of Unpredictability

Political scientist Peter Feaver, a former national security aide in the Clinton and Bush White Houses,  says the jury is still out on Trump’s approach to the world. Maybe, says Feaver, Trump just wants a reset with Russia, not a wholesale realignment, much like other presidents — a difference in degree not in kind.”It’s impossible to say with certainty because he hasn’t made a single presidential decision yet,” Feaver says.

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Video: Making Sense of Trump’s Views on Putin

Donald Trump’s continued soft stance toward Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, has prompted many questions about how the new administration will relate to its fellow world power. Trump has also questioned NATO’s importance to the United States. In this video, political science professor Peter Feaver reflects on Trump’s views on these and other foreign policy issues.

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Video: Is NATO Pulling Its Fair Share?

Duke political science professor Edmund Malesky discusses whether NATO is pulling its fair share of the defense burden. Malesky shares additional thoughts on the issue in a Washington Post opinion piece. To read it, click here.

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Apart, Atop, Amidst: America in the World

“With its insulation stripped away amidst globalization and its dominance disrupted as other countries assert themselves, the United States finds itself neither apart nor atop but rather amidst the world, both shaping and being shaped by global events and forces. As formidable as the policy challenges this poses are, the shock Americans feel to their sense of themselves and their nation is even more fundamental,” writes Sanford School professor Bruce Jentleson.

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Forget a Wall. There’s a Better Way to Secure the Border.

“As Gen. Kelly, who will oversee our borders if confirmed, seems to believe, walling off the entire southern boundary at great cost sends a hostile message that could snuff out the very cooperation needed to make our borders truly secure. Innovative and road-tested alternatives clearly exist. The Trump administration should give them a hard look before laying its first brick,” writes Sanford School professor Stephen Kelly.

Read More in The New York Times

The Disturbing Legal Legacy Obama is Leaving for Trump

Many Americans just don’t seem to mind if the president kills people, even U.S. citizens, as long as they’re told the people being killed are terrorists. “Americans are very pragmatic as to how a president exercises his War Powers,” writes Charles Dunlap, executive director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security. “(T)hey are less concerned about the technical legal basis as they are about success against authentic threats.”

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Flaws in The New Intelligence Report on Russia

The country’s leading expert on Russian media, Duke professor emeritus Ellen Mickiewicz, asks why the Office of the Director of National Intelligence takes at face value the Russian state media channel RT’s own estimate of its viewership at “550 million people worldwide and 85 million in the US.” That estimate, says Mickiewicz, “is wholly imaginary. It refers to potential audience: Households that can receive a signal—if and only if—they bother to turn it on.”

Read More in The Nation

Global Health Advice for Trump Administration

Nationalism and isolationism that marked the president-elect’s campaign are a concern if they continue, says one faculty member, Gavin Yamey, professor of the practice of global health. “Those of us working in global health will need to pay very close attention to whether the U.S. starts retreating from its impressive record on global health research and development,” Yamey says.

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Don’t Change the ‘No-Ransom’ Policy

“Until it can be persuasively demonstrated that the interests of the American people as a whole are served, we shouldn’t be expecting any initiative to cut a deal with terrorists to end well,” writes law professor Charlie Dunlap, in response to a “60 Minutes” story on U.S. policies when Americans are held hostage by terrorists.

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U.S. Sidelined as Putin Calls Shots on Syria Cease-Fire

President Obama’s aides say what’s important is that the violence stops. But the president’s critics say his hesitation to use force has led others to fill a power vacuum in the Middle East. Bruce Jentleson, a Sanford School professor and former State Department official, says Obama “over-learned the lessons of Iraq.”

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Now, America, You Know How Chileans Felt

“The United States cannot in good faith decry what has been done to its decent citizens until it is ready to face what it did so often to the equally decent citizens of other nations. And it must firmly resolve never to engage in such imperious activities again,” writes Ariel Dorfman, professor emeritus of literature, on reports that Russia interfered in the U.S. election. “If ever there was a time for America to look at itself in the mirror, if ever there was a time of reckoning and accountability, it is now.”

Read More in The New York Times