What Were We Thinking? Selected Schar School Op-Eds (February 2021)


Originally published on March 1, 2021

From USA Today:

Is Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ Democrats’ Big Chance to Entire Republican Voters?

Despite all the focus on how many Republicans continue to believe Trump’s big lie, the answer to this critical question and upcoming American elections could pivot on those who don’t.

—Justin Gest

From the Cipher Brief:

The Next World Order Is a Gray One

Washington will no longer have the capacity to act as unilaterally as it once did. Illiberal governments could take advantage of a waning international liberal order to impose their own agenda. The United States must tread carefully as the liberal international order inevitably transitions into the gray order.

—Master’s in International Security Student Alan Maubouche

From the Gainesville Sun (Fla.):

No Reason to Hide Names in Higher Ed Searches

To say now that it is “impossible” to attract a broad pool of highly qualified applicants without a secret search is not only misleading, but it denigrates the skills, knowledge and humanity of those past presidents.

—Judith Wilde

From the Washington Post:

Battle Over $1.9 Trillion Covid Relief Package Is as Much About Political Optics as Economic Necessity

This is a transparently partisan gambit to placate the populist left and make good on a campaign promise made by Biden and the two new Democratic senators from Georgia. But it’s never been clear how Democrats came up with these must-have numbers.

—Steven Pearlstein

From the Hill:

The Death of Political Self-Awareness

Voters remember outrages like these. They are low-hanging fruit for future attack ads that opponents will use as constant reminders, poisoning any re-election claim that the officeholder is empathetic to constituents’ plight — a sine qua non for any candidate trying to build a winning brand. 

—Mark J. Rozell

From Asia Times:

Can Biden Get Us Out of Afghanistan?

At the State Department, he pledged to “begin restoring American engagement internationally and earn back our leadership position, to catalyze global action on shared challenges.” A slower exit from Afghanistan might serve that larger goal.

—Ellen Laipson

From Power Magazine:

The Biden Administration Can Help Set American Energy on a Winning Course

With the right moves, including embracing natural gas for the electric grid, re-examining a federal leasing ban, and encouraging LNG exports, this administration can ensure the U.S. continues to make significant progress toward its climate objectives. It can thereby be a global energy environmental leader.

—Richard Kauzlarich

From Bloomberg Tax:

401(k) Autoenrollment—Does One Size Really Fit All?

Unfortunately, putting money into a retirement plan may be the exact wrong choice for many young, college-educated workers who anticipate higher earnings in the future. More generally, one-size-fits-all policies that incentivize workers—regardless of age or circumstances—to save the same fraction of their earnings for retirement should be reconsidered.

—Sita Slavov, John G. Watson, John B. Shoven

From the Hill:

The Four Horsemen of the U.S. Green Energy Development

A more positive approach would involve systematic inclusion of industry in planning, as is standard policy in Germany and Sweden. At the least, the administration would be fully informed of industry positions and concerns. The latter would not be left with only an oppositional role or support to the political party out of power.

—Frank Manheim

From the Cipher Brief:

Why the Intelligence Community Needs a Climate Change Task Force

Fully maximizing the effectiveness of the 18 IC agencies’ individual responses to the EO will require a coordinated strategy. While the EO calls for a National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, representing coordinated analysis among all agencies is only one piece of the puzzle.

—Erin Sikorsky and Kristin Wood

From Cyber Security Intelligence:

A Successful Solar Winds Investigation

But, this incident is beyond the norm—in my opinion close to cyber war—and needs major, directed action. Not swift action necessarily, but well thought out actions. Actions that hurt and remind future perpetrators that we will search you out and we will punish you.

—Ronald Marks

From the Washington Post:

Virginia Democrats May Be Overlooking a Valuable Asset: Donald Trump

With the abrasive Manhattanite in the White House, Democrats in Virginia made gains every November, whether it was gubernatorial elections, state legislative seats in 2019 or U.S. House and Senate seats in 2018 and again last fall, Virginia Democrats have found an easy boogeyman to help them win with unbeatable margins in Virginia’s suburbs and cities, particularly in D.C.’s vast bedroom communities.

—Mark J. Rozell

From Politico Magazine:

How Biden Can Unify America

Right now though, Biden has the moral foundation, the institutions and the biography to channel the United States toward a future of coexistence. But it will take more than passionate rhetoric; it will require devoted action to secure and create institutions of equal status and belonging. 

—Justin Gest

From the Washington Post:

GameStop Mania Exposes SEC’s Failure as Regulator

What you need to know about this unfolding morality play is that it is the inevitable outcome of decades of lax regulation, cheap money and misguided notions about the efficiency of financial markets. The result is an oversize and overcompensated financial market that has long since abandoned its role to channel savings to the highest and best use, becoming nothing more than a high-tech casino.

—Steven Pearlstein

From the Hill:

We need a Constitutional Amendment Defining ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’

Congress should consider putting the definitions of high crime and misdemeanors into a new constitutional amendment and send the proposal for ratification to the states. We believe there will be sufficient bipartisan support, if done correctly.    

—Mark J. Rozell and Paul Goldman

From the Diplomat:

The US Rescinded Its Taiwan Guidelines. What Does That Actually Mean?

It is thus likely that the Biden-Harris administration will be happy to do without the old restrictions and move towards a new pragmatic approach based, as Congress put it, on the fact that “Taiwan is a free and open society that respects universal human rights and democratic values.”

—Gerrit van der Wees


Schar School Fact: Schar School experts are quoted in, cited by, and contribute to nearly 300 media appearances a month.