by Gabrielle Jorgensen
Following Secretary of State John Kerry’s hearing on December 9, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee authorized the administration to use military force against the Islamic State. The move comes as a shock to no one and represented a symbolic check on executive war powers before the Republican-dominated legislative session began in January. The bill expired and the 114th Congress must now reconsider the issue.
Congress last passed an Authorization for Use of Military Force following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and military intervention in Afghanistan. The proposed new AUMF for the Islamic State puts a considerable constraint on President Obama’s abilities as Commander-in-Chief. In a stipulation supported primarily by Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., and his fellow Democrats, as well as the noninterventionist Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., the new AUMF prohibits the administration from deploying ground troops to combat the Islamic State. Despite President Barack Obama’s repeated assurances that the conflict will not escalate to involve “boots on the ground,” even the historically pacifist State Department expressed reservations about the restriction. The administration is likely to appeal this decision to next session’s Republican Senate, hoping that the new crop of hawkish legislators will understand its need to entertain a wider range of defense options.
by Caitlin Cummings
While many disagree on the answer to Russia’s aggressive occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean territory, many in the West seem to agree on why it happened in the first place. WSJ’s Bret Stephens argues that Putin acted out of a lack of fear of retribution: “[t]he West could win a sanctions war with Russia, but it would take an iron political stomach. Mr. Putin knows Mr. Obama. He knows that the U.S. president has the digestive fortitude of a tourist in Tijuana.”
It’s a harsh statement, but it has proven a true enough explanation for Putin’s demeanor so far. Nothing the US and NATO-centered Europe has done has seemed to change his stance in Crimea, which is the only thing that would allow for the coalition in the West to back down.
We propose a two-part solution, which would create an opportunity for both sides of the conflict to leave feeling as if they had won. The US should take the steps necessary to sweeten a “100-year lease offer” of Crimea’s port, in order to maintain Ukraine’s sovereignty while giving Putin the win at home. By allowing Putin to “save face” while still backing down from his position, this would create a “golden bridge” by which a deal could be brokered. In order to get Putin’s attention for long enough to make a serious offer, Finland and Sweden should publicly seek entrance into NATO. This threat historically has gotten Putin in a considering, if not conciliatory, mood. While the above solution is risky, we believe it can alleviate much of the bias that has been barring any progress from being made.
by Michael Bock
This generation — known as the Millennials — is incredibly different than previous generations. As its spending and voting powers grow, this generation will demand a very different world. We need young people at the table to save our institutions.
Initiatives meant to bring the youth voice into local government and private industry often center on two motives Some suggest engagement is necessary to provide youth with leadership experience for when they take their turn at the helm, while others propose that youth leadership will help organizations engage young customers and constituents in the present. Yet these rationales underestimates the impact of the Millennials, failing to grasp just how integral youth participation will be to ensuring the survival of existing institutions over the next 30 years.
This generation is the largest ever. Estimates hover around 80 million — outnumbering even the Baby Boomers by a few million. With that size comes incredible influence through spending power, votes, and other civic engagement. Based on both quantitative as well as anecdotal research, it is clear that Millenials’ priorities and values are very different from those of their parents and grandparents. For better or worse, we are frustrated with “business as usual.”
In their 2010 report “Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next,” the Pew Research Center asked each generations to define what gives them their unique character. Baby Boomers identified their distinguishing characteristics to be work ethic, respectfulness, and values/morals while the Gen Xers identify their use of technology, their work ethic, and their tradition and conservativeness as the top three sources of distinctiveness.
Millennials, however, viewed themselves very differently. They identified their top defining characteristics as their use of technology, their music and popular culture, and their liberalness and tolerance. Millennials’ self-concept does not just differ, but fundamentally contradicts, how Gen Xers and Baby Boomers define themselves.