CAPSTONE REPORTS

GRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN DIPLOMATIC STUDIES

2017 - 2018

A VISION FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE: BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE FUTURE FOR SOUTH SUDAN

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a_vision_for_sustainable_peaceSouth Sudan, the world’s youngest state, is still struggling to establish a stable government that works for its people. Corruption, violence, greed, distrust, and human rights abuses are pervasive and inhibit the country from achieving peace, stability, and prosperity. The government of South Sudan, including President Salva Kiir, is responsible for perpetuating a deadly and destructive civil war, blocking progress by breaking past peace agreements, and starving its people of safety and access to education, water, health, and economic growth.

This report puts forth a new approach to ending the war in South Sudan and setting it up for success. This vision of the future is built on inclusivity, sustainability, and a fresh start with new leadership. The authors propose ten recommendations under the three goals of establishing a vision, expanding the table, and ensuring sustainable peace. Due to the complex nature of the crisis and the number of stakeholders involved in the conflict and peace negotiations, these recommendations are aimed at a wide variety of actors: the government of South Sudan, the European Union (EU), the United States, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN).

THE UNITED STATES AND IRAN: COOPERATION WHERE POSSIBLE, CONFRONTATION WHEN NECESSARY

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The US and IranNearly every issue in the Middle East is affected by U.S. policy towards Iran. These issues include:

1) Middle East stability; 2) the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan; 3) the eradication of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and Hezbollah; 4) the security of the state of Israel; 5) countering regional proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; 6) the free flow of energy; and 7) the organic evolution of the Iranian government to one more friendly to the United States. Iran has the potential to be either a helpful partner or a serious opponent to U.S. regional interests, making the bilateral relationship critical.

The United States must carefully consider where to cooperate with Iran, as well as where to adapt to or counter Iran’s growing regional influence. Failure to plan for Iran’s regional ambitions will reduce Washington’s strategic options in a region critically vital to U.S. national interests. However, there is major disagreement about Iran’s strategic and foreign policy goals, hinging on two contending perspectives. The first views Iran as a revisionist power with regional hegemonic ambitions, while the second argues Iran’s actions abroad are primarily defensive in nature. Reality is always more complex, and the truth lies in between these differing interpretations, as will be demonstrated in this report.

A ROADMAP FOR YEMEN

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Yemen paperThe situation in Yemen - today, right now, to the population of the country - looks like the apocalypse," said the UN OCHA's head of office in January. At present, Yemen faces a humanitarian crisis as a result of intersecting civil wars and a geopolitical chess match waged by the Saudi coalition and Houthi fighters in Yemen's northern regions. While Yemen is deeply fractured, it is not beyond repair.

To move toward a future beyond war will require a long-term vision; policymakers must focus not simply on securing a ceasefire. They need to develop medium and long-term strategies to rebuild. Yemen's mission objective is to become a stable, viable, and unified state that is accountable to its citizens and operates as a good regional neighbor.

This vision for Yemen will require: inclusive peace negotiations, good governance, an effective transitional justice system, critical infrastructure, and attention to macroeconomic stability and job opportunities. The central question for policy makers is: How do we get there?

2016 - 2017

Emerging from the Rubble: Rebuilding a Unified Yemen

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Emerging from the Rubble

With an emphasis on inclusivity, accountability, and sustainability during the reconstruction process, the Yemeni government and international partners can ensure that new institutions and processes forge a lasting peace and durable bond between the Yemeni state and its people. Through these values, Yemenis can create a new government that lives up to the promise of the original National Dialogue Conference (NDC). The conference has maintained widespread legitimacy, even after the collapse of the transitional government and the outbreak of war, because it showcased the best of Yemeni society: its great diversity, strong social cohesion, and fundamentally democratic and communal approach to decision-making. Conflict appears likely to continue in the short-term, but Yemenis and their international partners must begin planning how to translate the inclusive spirit of the NDC into stable governance.

 

Leading a New World Order: Meeting the Challenges to U.S. Power in the 21st Century

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leading a new world orderToday’s world is one of threats and challenges to the United States and the liberal international order. Some of these challenges, including the increasing power of non-state actors and a rising China poised to overtake the United States, will require creativity and flexibility. On the other hand, some of the present threats are more familiar: a belligerent Russia, anti-Americanism, and instability in the Middle East. In the face of a myriad of challenges to U.S. power in a new world order, this report provides recommendations to U.S. policymakers to maintain U.S. leadership for the benefit of the United States and the world.

 

 

 

Sustaining U.S. Engagement in Southeast Asia: Advancing American Interests under a New Framework

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sustaining us engagement in southeast asiaSoutheast Asia is home to vital American interests—from the shipping lanes of the South China Sea to ASEAN’s remarkable advancements. Properly applied, U.S. policy in the region can help strengthen governance and rule of law, sharpen economic growth, and encourage environmental sustainability.
Absent careful policy choices, however, challenges in Southeast Asia have the potential to exacerbate tensions and conflict.

This report presents an integrated strategy for sustained U.S. engagement in Southeast Asia. The strategy, termed Sustainment, builds upon the gains of the Pivot and launches new initiatives.