December 4, 2006
SAIS Outside-In BY AMY BORN know a lot of SAIS students. “Hi. Are you SAIS?” “Am I what? S-I-C-E? No. I don’t think so. Wait, what?”
This question greeted me during my first SAIS social event in the fall of 2005. I left feeling particularly clueless about the state of the world, intending to mapquest obscure countries and to wikipedia world leaders. That night I resolved to create cheat sheets before attending future SAIS barbeques, happy hours or house parties. Allow myself to introduce…myself. I have cohabitated with a SAISer (see, I’m learning the lingo) for over a year. During that time I have attended numerous SAIS functions, official and unofficial, and have interacted with dozens of SAISers. On the whole I have found them to be interesting, diverse, intelligent, well-traveled people who are occasionally socially awkward with members of the apolitical Washington community. In this time I have collected a few observations about SAIS: The library is not your home. You pay rent to live in a home. Go to your home. Why don’t you love your home? The SAT is long gone and the GRE is over. Stringing long words together while the rest of us stare blankly into space does not earn you cool points or extra credit. Sometimes I wonder if SAISers are in it for the education, which is impressive, or the abundant free food, which I hear is phenomenal. If it’s the latter, bring some cookies home on Tuesday afternoons to your poor work-a-day roommates. Talking about huge quantities of homework is neither interesting nor productive. If SAISers spent half as much time doing work as complain-
SAIS from the outside. Literally.
ing about it, perhaps they would have time to hone their social skills. Speaking of social skills, here’s a little tip to help pick up the ladies or gentlemen at Lucky Bar and Front Page. A basic analysis of Grey’s Anatomy or last weekend’s NFL games (if you don’t know that acronym, please drop a class or two) will get Continued on page 4
Volume 6 No. 3
The Newspaper of the Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Schoolhouse I-Rock BY NIKOS TSAFOS speakers come M any through SAIS; all are accomplished, some are even famous. Lieutenant General David Petraeus was even more as he spoke to a packed Kenney Auditorium on November 16th. He delivered his remarks with spark, alternating between funny and somber, and broke whatever tension could separate a speaker from his audience. It was an unusually rainy night as Lt. Gen. Petraeus delivered the Third Annual Alvin H. Bernstein Lecture, and the mood called for a cozy talk. The speaker did not fail; he conveyed insight through humor, was lively without being trivial, and he displayed the charisma that has propelled him to high offices in the U.S. army. The topic was “Soldiering and the Schoolhouse,” but Petraeus began by paying special tribute to Professors Eliot Cohen and Fouad Ajami, acknowledging their contributions to the country, and thanking them for their friendship and companionship. No person besides Eliot Cohen, said Petraeus, could
General Petraeus commanded the 101st Airborne during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
allude to Athenians and Spartans, swords and books during an introduction. And for Fouad Ajami, he had a special treat: a photo of Prof. Ajami in a camouflage outfit and headgear, taken during their joint adventure in Iraq. From a grateful audience came a loud laugh. For the formal part of his speech, Lt. Gen. Petraeus shared why it is a good idea
for members of the military to spend time in civilian educational institutions. Drawing on his own experience as a student at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, he outlined the lessons he learned while in graduate school. There were seven: an education in a civilian graduate school takes military officers away from their intellectual comfort zones; it teaches them to live in other cultures;
it helps them accumulate intellectual capital; it imparts them with communication skills; it sharpens their critical thinking; it makes them intellectually humble; and it helps bridge the gap in civilmilitary relations. The speech retained the audience’s attention not through the originality of its conception, but through the mastery Continued on page 2
The tie that binds: BY SAUL GARLICK id you know D that you are a student of Johns
resources of an institution affiliated with 32 Nobel Prize winners, they are hardly reminded of their own connection. Joke with a SAIS student, “Don’t you love Johns Hopkins?” and they will almost certainly look at you crookedly.
Hopkins University? Johns Hopkins, usually know as Hopkins or even, “The Hop” was established in 1876 with funding from the largest gift ever given for higher education by a man whose full name was, shockingly, Johns Hopkins. He made his fortune in railroads. The institution that bears his name is best known for its path-breaking work in medicine, and is home to the world’s greatest hospital. The hospital is located in downtown Baltimore, while the Homewood cam- A view of Homewood Campus’ lower quad. pus, where the main building esting history. After WWII, once SAIS is named Gilman Hall after Daniel Coit had been founded, the leaders of the Gilman – the University’s first president young institution realized the value of – is actually a good 15 minutes from the being affiliated with an internationally Medical School. renowned and respected research University. Johns Hopkins became the You may not have known all of that. lucky school to adopt SAIS. Maybe you did. Either way, you are still shocked that you are a student at Johns Interestingly, few SAIS students feel Hopkins. Don’t lie. much connection with the umbrella institution. This is both tragic and obviJohns Hopkins and SAIS have an inter- ous. While SAIS students enjoy the
Indeed, Associate Dean John Harrington confesses that “There is little glue that holds the university together as a whole. The way the university is structured, you almost have to look for connections.” So I began the search. It appears that connections do exist, though not primarily financial or even educational. Academics all report to the same individual, the provost – Dr. Steven Knapp. He holds monthly meetings to review the school’s status on this score. Additionally, there exists an assortment of ‘interdivisional’ committees. There is one for Student Affairs; Dean Wilson attends it on our behalf. There are some for part-time students. There is Continued on page 4
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS New(s) modes and orders After running the Observer for the past year, your editors have learned a lot about the “news” business at SAIS. For one, we learned to gather news from multiple sources. News Channel 8, broadcast in blessed perpetuity on the Nitze Big Screen, would tell us no less than 15 times per hour that the victims of an armed robbery in NW last night escaped shaken — dramatic pause — but uninjured. We also often relied on absorbing life lessons from truth-tellers like Stephen Colbert, whose teachings, in a nod to our school’s conservative contingent, we choose to interpret literally. You, our fellow SAIS students, never made this process easy. To be sure, the cynics among us provided no shortage of hateration (we’ve learned it’s okay to make up words). “But there’s a lack of major news at SAIS,” you whispered in our ears, your message partially obscured by a mouthful of food shamelessly pilfered from a lecture you did not attend. “That’s not very helpful,” we replied, signaling to our staff photographer to take an embarrassing photo of your bloated rear end. Indeed, the dearth of news — and by news we mean salacious and sensational rumor and hearsay — at SAIS undeniable. The closest approximation of Branjelina is Dean Einhorn and her husband, both important in public policy but uninvited to the Oscars (as far as we know). Where’s the Fight Club or Tomb Raider? We even lost Paul Wolfowitz, whose claims to fame include appearing as high as the Ace of Clubs in Saddam Hussein’s personal Iraq War deck of trading cards. So, despite the newspaper’s lack of Us Weekly-esque features and our unorthodox journalstic methods, we hope you have enjoyed reading the Observer over the past year. Please look out for the web version of the SAIS Observer, which will debut along with our new blog, SAISGeist, in January. And please congratulate the outstanding new editorial team – Alex Selim, Jess Stahl, and Neil Shenai – who will take over in January.
The SAIS Observer Editors-in-Chief Eric Jaffe Jon Raviv Soledad Birnbaum Contributors Michael Anderson Alex Selim Neil Shenai Amy Born Michael Cognato Nikos Tsafos Saul Garlick Joanna Yu Ricard Gonzalez Aviva Kutnick Photos: Arthur Lord Jay Lurie Aliya Ladhani Kaveh Sardari Joshua Marks David Michaels Kaitlin Bonenberger Andrew Plieninger Brice Richard The SAIS Observer is a news monthly written, edited, and produced by the students of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University. SAIS students, faculty and members of the administration at the Washington, D.C. campus, Bologna campus, and the Hopkins-Nanjing Center are encouraged to submit articles, letters to the editor, photographs, cartoons, and other items for consideration. Material for consideration or inquiries may be submitted to : email@example.com. The SAIS Observer is an approved SAIS student organization. Opinions expressed in the SAIS Observer are not necessarily the views of the editors, SAIS, or the University.
The Observer welcomes accolades, denials, comments, critiques, and hate mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In defense of a g o o d o f f en s e BY ALEX SELIM November 8, O nafterWednesday, his party lost both Houses of Congress to the Democrats in the midterm elections, President Bush announced the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the nomination of Robert Gates, in order to see the war in Iraq through “fresh eyes.” During this time of transition between Secretaries of Defense, I would like to recommend that President Bush has an historic opportunity to radically reorganize the civilian military leadership in a way that will send a strong message to the world about the state of the United States. I would propose that while Congress is confirming Mr. Gates as the Secretary of Defense, President Bush create another position; a complementary position to the Secretary of Defense: The Secretary of Offense. The truth is that the Defense Department has served us well for the past fifty years. But good defenses don’t win wars. Sure, the Chicago Bears have had one of the best defenses in the NFL for the last two decades, but have you seen any Super Bowl rings on their fingers lately? It isn’t coincidental that our record has deteriorated since Truman (that pansy) changed the cabinet member’s title from Secretary of War to Secretary of Defense in 1947.
Secretary of Offense will have free hand to concentrate on “Wars of Choice,” “Watchu Lookin’ At?” wars, and “Hell, it’s Tuesday, let’s kick some ass!” wars. Prosecuting arbitrary conflicts will no longer be deemed hypocritical of the United States since there will be a cabinet position devoted to them. The new position will send an important message to our citizens and to the nations of the world that although the United States may appear to be on the retreat in Iraq, we still reserve the right to bomb the hell out of whomever the hell we feel like. Watch if North Korea or Iran is so keen on trying to building a nuclear weapons program while our Secretary of Offense is begging, just begging, for an excuse to see what our nukes can do. Or if Belgium will think twice about building that dam on the Scheldt River (yeah, from now on our wars won’t necessarily require logical sense).
The term “offense” will not only refer to military attacks but also verbal insults that the Secretary will hurl at rogue nations, nations that show indifference to the United States. And yeah, now and then a key ally will get the treatment, too. At weekly press conferences the Secretary will be surrounded by his deputies and assistants—broadly referred to as his “crew”—who will occasionally make taunting noises and say stuff like, “Ooooh, he just dissed your military-industrial complex! Watchu gonna do about it, bitch?” By following these policy prescriptions and establishing a newly offensive cabinet position, the President will be preparing our country for the new challenges that will face us in the next century.
The views expressed by Alex Selim are not necessarily the views of the SAIS Observer, nor are they necessarily the views of Alex Seli either.
Think about our records in Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq. What we need now is a strong offense. What we need is an Offense Secretary who, as Royal Tenenbaum once said, will put a brick through the other guy’s windshield. I’m talking about taking it out and chopping it up. Someone who will let the world know that we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore, without too much thought as to what it actually is. While responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense will remain largely the same - defending the United States against immediate threats against the country - the
Zell Miller: Former Democractic Senator from Georgia, and front-runner to become the President Bush’s first Secretary of Offense.
Petr a eu s co n tin u ed Continued from page 1 of its delivery. The points were interesting, but the anecdotes which supported them provided real flavor and were the ultimate takeaway. SAIS students were obviously amused, especially when the general’s experiences resonated with them. For example, as Lt. Gen. Petraeus explained the virtues of intellectual humility by telling the audience about his “D” in an Advanced Microeconomics exam, the audience’s laughs hinted at both amusement and sym-
pathy; the latter expressed, no doubt, by SAISers who wish their own misadventures with economics will one day make for such an entertaining story. The other anecdote on intellectual humility was perhaps more telling, as Lt. Gen. Petraeus got the following comment on an early paper: “Though this paper is reasonably well written and has some merit, it is relatively simplistic, and I am left feeling that the whole is less than the sum of the parts.” Wrongly,
he assumed that the comment was harsher than Prof. Cohen’s own feedback, though this assertion was contested by Prof. Cohen who sat in the audience. Sadly, as Prof. Cohen’s students will attest, the intellectual humility bestowed by Prof. Cohen’s feedback probably exceeds that felt by Lt. Gen. Petraeus. Even as he deployed his panoply of jokes, however, Lt. Gen. Petraeus was somber, speaking with the seriousness required of the times, especially on questions relating to Iraq.
Entertained and enlightened, the audience’s feeling was best summed up by Prof. Cohen as he closed the evening: “we live in pretty grim times and we need people like you in positions of even higher responsibility.” Everyone in the audience understood why this was so; and some may have even been comforted by the thought. Such was the charisma of Lt. Gen. David Petraeus. Nikos Tsafos is a 2nd year M.A. student concentrating in International Energy Policy.
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
P r ofes s o r L o v e Dear SAIS Students, As the semester’s end approaches, I’ve noticed some changes among SAIS students. Some of the first-years have coupled, while others have ended their long-distance relationships even if their respective partners have yet to be informed. Faced with unemployment in six months (since roughly half of the graduating class will be unemployed on Commencement Day), some second-years have broken their vows to avoid seeing SAISers, using the happy hours or the Halloween Party as an excuse to hook up with their classmates. All these changes are part of a larger pattern that develops around this time of year at SAIS. You notice it when a studious SAISer bites her lip as she steals a glance at the a guy walking past her study carrel; in the gaze that lingers a few
seconds longer on a girl’s cleavage or another guy’s butt; or in the men walking around with bookbags, notebooks, a jacket, anything to cover their crotch as they stand up during the seminar break. Yes, SAISers are getting more excited - not at the levels we’ll witness in April - but, still, noticeably titillated. Those imminent finals and insurmountable term papers have left many with a slight sense of desperation. And what better way to avoid those papers and that cramming than in the arms of someone else? Below, you will find three letters that reflect this change. We hope you enjoy. Yours in Love, Professor Lovei
Dear Prof. Love,
Dear Prof. Love,
Dear Prof. Love,
I think about her everyday; I feel her presence whenever we are in the same room; I have written countless odes to her every movement, her every body part, so smitten am I with her beauty. I have not dated a woman in several years and there’s a homely first-year who seems interested in me. But I feel a primordial connection with this other angel. I feel it every time we pass each other in Nitze lobby and she blatantly averts her gaze from me, which I know she only does to conceal her passion. So yesterday I asked that heavenly creature to meet me in the library. I told her it was to compare our problem set answers, but I will profess my all-consuming, eternal, everlasting, unflagging love for her.
There’s a man at SAIS that has a great asset, minus the “e” and the “t.” Whenever I see him heading for the library, I follow him so I can ogle his asset as it trails the rest of his body up the library stairwell. By the time he hits the 8th floor, I’ve nearly hit my climax just watching his muscular asset push the rest of his body up those stairs. The problem, Professor Love, is I don’t like the rest of him. His face is okay but he acts like a conceited prick most of the time. Besides, I’m also seeing another guy at SAIS.
I never thought of dating her. We met at the Halloween Party at Dragonfly, talked for a few minutes. Then, I spirited her to the back of the club, where we made out until closing and she invited me to her place. She told me she likes me for my soul as well as for my body. She also said she’s a romantic at heart and an idealist yet, lately, I notice all she cares to do is sleep with me and nothing else. When we go out for dinner, she hardly pays attention to what I say yet we still finish dinner arguing.
Oh Professor Love, you who wisely weighs the worth of love and lust, do I invest in trying to date this guy only for his asset and expose myself to the risk of losing the other guy and my good reputation?
Oh, Professor Love, you who know what stuff our hearts are made of, how much does she really care for me as a person?
Oh Professor Love, you who is intimately familiar with the ways of a woman’s heart, is there even the remotest possibility that she might think to spurn me, her future husband?
--Lonely Lover --Booty Huntress Dear Booty Huntress,
Dear Lonely Lover,
“…Risk is priced by investors who are all basically holding that risk long, while each of the currency risk dimensions is priced by investors some of whom structurally hold it long while others short it. Because of this structural difference, the equilibrium pricing of currency risk cannot be subsumed in the pricing of world stock market risk. It cannot be a redundant dimension of risk. To price it, we need a separate risk premium, with a price of risk that is determined separately from the price of world stock market risk. The result is the International ASSet Pricing Model (IAPM).”iii
“The most common answer is - not very much. For there is a very widespread belief among many observers of international relations that underneath the skin of ideology is a hard core of great power national interest that guarantees a fairly high level of competition and conflict between nations. Indeed, according to one academically popular school of international relations theory, conflict inheres in the international system as such, and to understand the prospects for conflict one must look at the shape of the system - for example, whether it is bipolar or multipolar - rather than at the specific character of the nations and regimes that constitute it. This school in effect applies a Hobbesian view of politics to international relations, and assumes that aggression and insecurity are universal characteristics of human societies rather than the product of specific historical circumstances.”iv
--Desperately Seeking SAIS-er Dear Desperately Seeking SAIS-er, “What explains this extravagant optimism in the face of harsh experience and dire reality? The bank embraces an unachievable vision instead of an operational mission because it is under pressure from many different constituencies. More important, this vision drowns out a discussion of realistic objectives and thus undercuts a much-needed drive to enhance internal management. It also weakens the bank’s perceived ‘professional impartiality’ as an adviser and partner to developing-country governments. And because of the politics within the institution—where developing countries are both shareholders and clients—the bank will rarely admit that working within a particular country at a particular time is unlikely to achieve much lasting benefit unless a more reform-minded government takes over. Yet to address all these issues, the bank must acknowledge a series of dilemmas.”ii
Intl. Economics Director Prof. Gordon Bodnar: Such a sweet man. Shame about the problem sets.
SAIS Dean Dr. Jessica Einhorn: “Mother knows best.”
I-Dev Director Prof. Francis Fukuyama: Ever the radical rebel, the only SAIS professor to unbotton two -- count ‘em, two -- top buttons on his shirt.
i All responses are the authentic work of said SAIS professors. In some cases, however, the texts were co-written. No professor had given prior consent to have these reproduced. ii Jessica Einhorn, “The World Bank’s Mission Creep,” Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2001. iii Gordon Bodnar, Bernard Dumas et al., “Cross-border Valuation: The International Cost of Equity Capital,” Working Paper (4th Draft) Weiss Center Working Papers. Accessed November 2006. Available at <http://finance.wharton.upenn.edu/weiss/wpapers/03-3.pdf>. iv Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History?” The Naitonal Interest, Summer 1989.
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
Riposi in pace, Dottore BY RICARD GONZALEZ ll losses are painful, but when they are totally unexpected, they are particularly so. And heartache is what the SAIS community felt when it learned of the passing of our dear Professor Enzo Grilli on October 28 in Washington D.C. due to a sudden heart-attack.
Professor Grilli was one of the longest serving professors at SAIS. His relationship with our University began in 1968, when he enrolled as a student in the M.A. program in the Bologna Center. Professor Charles Pearson, then his professor and later on one of his closest colleagues at SAIS, still remembers him as a dedicated and brilliant student. In 1976 Grilli received his PhD from SAIS in International Economics. The following year he started teaching as an adjunct professor in the department. Over the next three decades, he taught over eight hundred students about theories of international trade and the relations between growth and development. And after so many years, he continued to enjoy teaching as much as his first time. At least, this is the impression I had last spring while taking his course on Growth and Development, in which he was readily able to transmit his enjoyment to his students. In fact, such was the passion he felt for international economic, that one could easily covet his relationship with his field of study. Professor Grilli had great respect and appreciation for his students, which was a feeling his students reciprocated, handing him SAIS’ Excellence in Teaching Award in 1997 and 2001. He did not mind spending as much time as was necessary in order to ensure that his students really understood the material. In fact, while walking on the fourth floor of Nitze, the international economics department’s old home, it was not unusual to see one or more students standing in front of the door to his office, or sitting on the floor waiting for their time to receive Dr. Grilli’s guidance. On one afternoon, while talking in his office with Paula Rossiaco, a second-year M.A. student who worked with him last year as a research assistant, Professor Grilli received a call from a high-ranking Italian authority. “I did not know exactly whether he was a minister or the Italian ambassador,” recalls Paula, “but I understood that he was someone with high responsibilities.” Grilli told the caller that he was busy, and that he would call him back in some minutes; which he did after ending his discussion with Paula about research topics. Enzo Grilli was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1943. During his
Continued from page 1 the International Affairs Coordinating Committee, now chaired by Dean Harrington. In sum, several deans are in Baltimore every month. But, given the formality and relative infrequency of these meetings, the overall connection seems loose at best. The connections that do exist do
not seem to bring students into the fold. Said one student of whether he is connected to Johns Hopkins: “Not at all; and I wish to be!” The interest from the students is there, though the follow-through and institutions are lacking. There are ways that SAIS could become more connected to Johns Hopkins; it is wrong to think there is no way of developing the connection. Students from the Homewood Campus or the Medical School campus could be encouraged to take courses at SAIS and perhaps SAIS students could serve
career he combined his classes at SAIS with other professional endeavors, although according to Professor Charles Pearson, his heart was always in teaching. Prior to joining SAIS, Grilli had a distinguished career working for international organizations, the Italian government, and several Italian universities. In Washington, he held leadership positions at the World Bank, where he served as Director of Development Policy and Director of the Economic Advisory Staff. He later represented Italy and other constituency countries as executive director on the boards of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Although having spent many years far from Italy, one could easily tell by his character that he was purely Italian. Professor Grilli had a love of life, a bonhomie and an ironic sense of humor common to many Italians. He was able to appreciate the small pleasures of life, such as a good meal or an interesting conversation. As a good intellectual, he was born nat- Professor Enzo Grilli, 1943-2006. urally curious. He enjoyed band and a good father to his two daughters. God traveling, especially through his dear Latin America, and reclaimed him sooner than we would have wanted and learning about different cultures. But Italy and the expected. At 63, he was enjoying a fruitful maturity. But Bologna Center were always very close to his heart. there is no doubt that he lived all these years with intensity and enthusiasm. Riposi in pace, Dottore. It was really difficult not to like Professor Grilli. I could have easily found a reason to do so since I got the lowest Ricard Gonzalez is a 2nd year M.A. student concentrating grade at SAIS in his course, but his affable nature made it in Middle East Studies. impossible. Above all, he was a good man, a good hus-
as teaching assistants (TAs) for undergrads. But those ideas seem far from being implemented. The notably loose connection between the SAIS campus and the rest of Johns Hopkins is a result of the ethos of the greater University. Harrington argues that Johns Hopkins is “Far more decentralized [than its peers]. Probably one of the most decen-
tralized of the research universities.” The system is arranged, as the dean put it, so that “No one [is] telling [the school of] public health, SAIS or any other division what to do. Excellence comes out of itself.” Autonomy it is said, breeds independence, flexibility and growth. But this is not entirely true. And it appears that the institution, famous for its emphasis on research, has crossed the Ts and dotted the Is where its priorities lie. That is, the “library is tight-
ly connected, and that seems to be in a world of its own.”
But the general truth is evident and the school administration is unafraid to admit it. Harrington noted, “At the Deans’ forum a week ago, someone asked, ‘how is SAIS independent of the university?’ It is almost completely independent.” While in some eyes this may seem to be a liability, it can also prove a true asset for each division of the University. Each division, particularly SAIS, has a great deal of autonomy, making it able to grow and realize its dreams without being bogged down by those in Baltimore. Even the President’s office works with the deans to raise money.
Continued from page 1 you much further than boasting that you predicted the recent coup in Thailand.
A decentralized model leaves students disconnected, but it also allows the University agility and the ability to grow in unexpected ways. As far as I can tell, Johns Hopkins is a school on the rise, so perhaps there is some method to the administration’s madness. Saul Garlick is a 2nd year M.A. student concentrating in American Foreign Policy. He earned his B.A. at The Johns Hopkins University.
FYI: BAMA, PMF, MIPP, DOD, USTR, IMF are not terms recognized by Webster, OED or the vast majority of, well, everyone. In Washington, D.C. and even outside the Beltway, believe it or not, there exists a small minority of people who choose not to live, breathe, eat and party in politics. It’s not because we are necessarily uninterested in international politics and economics, but rather because our interests lie elsewhere. And good for us. Without us, SAISers would be discussing, advocating and making policies that affect no one. I applaud SAIS students for their passion for international affairs and commitment to making the world a better place. However, I regularly come away from conversations feeling that policies and issues were discussed in the abstract while the human problems at their cores and the human beings at their mercy were forgotten.
This problem pervades Washington, not just SAIS. But as someone who sees so much talent and ambition to do good (or make bank) among SAIS students, I only want to urge my readers to remember both the “real people” whose lives they’ll change and that policy is not made in a vacuum. It’s made in a think-tank, right? I now know that I am not SAIS or Strat or I-Dev or CoMa (a little petname I created for our friends in Conflict Management so they don’t feel left out of the nickname game). I am, however, one of many educated individuals you know who cares deeply about the world and sometimes finds herself at a loss to contribute when engaged in a SAIS conversation. It’s not that we have nothing to say, we just don’t speak acronym. So continue studying hard and scrounging for food, but next time you’re talking to an IR layman, please s-p-e-l-l it out for her. Who knows, she may have something interesting to say, or you might even get some. Amy Born is intimately involved with the Strategic Studies Department.
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
All Tuck’ed Out BY NEIL SHENAI oint degree programs have long been a staple of the numerous academic offerings at SAIS. Indeed, such programs with Stanford Law School and the Wharton School of Business, among the most prestigious law and business schools in the country, are popular with incoming SAIS students who want to complement their studies at SAIS with vocational training in law or a technical field such as accounting. Recently, SAIS announced a joint degree program with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, one of America’s premier business schools. This move emphasizes SAIS’ commitment to creating leaders in the field of international business and to expanding its reach to professional circles typically dominated by graduates from top business schools. The influential Wall Street Journal’s rankings of business schools rated Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business the #1 Business School in the country. The oldest graduate school for business in the United States, Tuck’s rich curriculum focuses on technology and global business, special programs on corporate citizenship and healthcare, and the development of ethics among its students – a notable asset in a postEnron academic environment. Recruiters, too, recognize Tuck’s value, and many of the nation’s most prominent private sector companies find their way to Hanover, New Hampshire every fall to hire Tuck students. Unlike other business schools, which are located near recruiting hubs such as Chicago, New York, Boston, and San Francisco, Tuck is instead nestled in the picturesque, trail-laden hills of New England. It’s relatively remote location allows for its students to immerse themselves in the life of their school. Even at an institution like SAIS, in the heart of Washington, DC, the temptations of city life often impede the social cohesion of its students. SAIS students considering applying to Tuck cite its
unusually strong sense of camaraderie, dubbing it the “liberal arts college of business schools.” The intimate campus environment pays dividends after graduation from Tuck. First-year MA student Kevin Johnson believes Tuck’s smaller class size fostered a sense of community that was noticeably absent from Penn’s Wharton. As an International Policy concentrator with a focus on energy, Johnson came to SAIS specifically for its joint degree programs with business schools. Indeed, Johnson claimed that Tuck had the strongest alumni network of its peer institutions, generating over sixty percent of student’s job offers. Moreover, Tuck’s alumni giving rate is the highest of all of U.S.’ business schools. Considering most business schools’ notoriety for fostering an atmosphere of pre-professionalism, Tuck’s tight social scene seems even more unique. More generally, the benefits of a Tuck degree in conjunction with a Master’s from SAIS are numerous. Though SAIS boasts a strong international economics program with a popular specialization in international finance, many students feel constrained by SAIS’ lack of traditional business courses in fields such as general management, marketing, and strategy. Recruiters also notice this difference. Compared to business schools, SAIS’ private sector recruitment, from financial services to management consulting, pale in comparison. In the end, students such as Kevin illustrate the fact that SAIS, for all of its strength in international commerce, is not a perfect substitute for a MBA. Even so, SAIS’ recent steps to remedy this deficiency, including a joint MA-MBA with Tuck, serves to expand the reach of the SAIS degree, which undoubtedly serves the SAIS student body. Neil Shenai is a 1st year M.A. strudent concentrating in Conflict Management.
All of these Tuck students will make more money, drive nicer cars, and marry hotter spouses before you’ve even paid off your loans. Our SAIS advantage? Absolutely nothing.
Coming to America, resources at SAIS BY ARTHUR LORD s January approaches, prospective students are rushing to put finishing touches on their applications for admission to SAIS, trimming particles and adverbs out of their 1200 word life-summary / future career goal statements while deftly maneuvering through the Pythagorean theorem and esoteric vocabulary that probably won’t ever make it into their grad school papers.
Since it’s founding in 1943, SAIS has been committed to having student-to-student interaction play a large role in the SAIS experience. As Associate Director of the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs Courtney Burton stresses, “we are committed to not only a quality student body but also a diverse student body.” With students representing 65 countries, SAIS has made great progress in achieving its goal of attracting talented students from across the globe. Despite the School’s global alumni network, however, awareness of SAIS tends to be clustered in particular geographic or industry circles. More importantly, foreign students face a growing number of challenges associated with attending graduate school in the U.S., particularly after the adoption of stricter visa regulations following the September 11th terrorist attacks and subsequent changes in U.S. immigration law. Lulu Shui, a second year student from Chengdu, China, had a letter of recommendation from an NGO working with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and subsequently didn’t have a particularly hard time getting her student visa. But she knew of a number of friends who did. Interviewing for a student visa in China has become a game of sorts, explains Shui: applicants have to buy a special calling card from a specific bank in order to call the interview reservation number at the Consulate, with the first available date often a few months away during peak seasons. On the scheduled day, applicants are likely to have plenty of time to reflect on how they can convince their interviewer that they want to study in the U.S., but not stay and work after they graduate, as they make their way through epically long lines. Most of
them already know what their answers will be, though, since they probably consulted an online chat community suggesting successful responses to the questions they will likely be asked.
In addition to the frustrations of obtaining a visa, international students are often surprised to realize the added complexities of staying within its strict parameters regarding travel and work once they arrive in the United States. Since international students are not eligible for the Federal Student Loans or private institutional loans, they must find alternative sources of funding. With strict limits on how much they can legally work given their student status, funding their graduate education is often more complex than signing promissory notes, especially if they come from countries lacking easily available credit. Many international students also face a significant amount of culture shock associated with moving to a new country, finding new housing, opening up a new bank account, adjusting to the American healthcare system—all the while coping with the demands of SAIS, which is often quite different than their undergraduate institutions, academically and socially. “SAIS is kind of unfair to international students,” argues Shui, in reference to the lack of financial support for international students in particular. Although Burton confirmed that financial considerations at SAIS are not based on geography, she hopes that recent outreach efforts to international students may help them cope with their new environment as much as possible. One of the most important efforts is the creation of an independent international student support office.
The problem, explains Catalina Novac, Director of the International Student and Scholar Services office, is that resources are still too limited. Whereas other international relations graduate programs would have an office of three or four staff providing assistance in obtaining and maintaining student visas and adjusting to life in an American graduate school, Novac is the only full time staff member doing a similar role for the entire international student and international scholar population at SAIS. Novac came to her current position in the summer of 2005, shortly after its creation, and notes that SAIS is moving in a positive direction in terms of outreach to international students, but questions whether the rate of change is fast enough. A suggested “ambassador mentoring program,” which would match first year and second year students, has yet to be realized. Despite a relatively steady ratio of international students in the SAIS student body, what and how SAIS reaches out and supports its international students will likely continue to play an important role in the years to come. As Burton stresses, the administration is always open and receptive to student’s needs, with the November Dean’s Forum only one of many ways the administration encourages students to voice their concerns. Sarah Jankowsky, Associate Director for the Office of Student Life, reinforces that they are also happy to help students with personal, cultural, and academic adjustments and really want to “make sure all students feel at home at SAIS.” Burton also points out that before the International Student Services office was opened in 2004, the registrar was the only comparable resource for international students. “We always wish there was more staff, more resources, and hopefully that will come in time, but what we’re doing now to help international students is important—we’ve listened to their needs and are acting on it.” Arthur Lord is a 1st year M.A. Student concentrating in Strategic Studies.
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
Field trips for grown-ups BY ANDREW PLIENINGER hroughout the semester, SAIS students devote considerable effort to studying international relations. But when can they finally put the rubber to the road? When can they observe all these complex phenomena in action or see the fundamental theorems of “insert your concentration here” at work? Well, you may be surprised to find out that several opportunities exist at SAIS for you to do just that.
Professor Zartman will be leading twelve students on a Conflict Management field trip this intersession to Haiti. During this trip, students will meet with local government officials as well as representatives from the international community, academia, NGOs and the press in an effort to assess the current and future prospects for progress in the region. Each student will write a paper on a specific issue area and present their findings in a final report in the spring. A group of Middle East Studies students will head to Kuwait and a yet-to-be-determined country this January to gain insight into the region’s systems of governance and its relationship with the international community. Students will be attending parliamentary sessions and meeting with government representatives. In addition, they will meet with the women’s cultural and social society to discuss educational and social reform as well as women’s rights and voting rights. Each student will focus on a topic to research during the trip. Also during intersession, the International Development department will sponsor a trip to Guatemala. Open to I-Dev or Western Hemisphere concen-
trators fluent in Spanish, the trip will expose students to a variety of development organizations and projects in the region. It will also provide an opportunity to conduct field work in either micro-enterprise and finance or the effects of rural education projects. In order to experience full immersion, students will be housed with host families for the duration of their stay. Next March, the Strategic Studies Department will embark on its annual International Staff Ride to Sicily. Thirty-five students will venture on this week-long visit during spring break to study the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. These staff rides are essentially in-country case studies of particular campaigns or historical periods, placing particular emphasis on the role of leadership in battle. Students are assigned individuals to research in each year’s scenario and will present their character’s viewpoints at an appropriate location during the staff ride. Previous staff rides have traveled to Ireland, Monte Cassino, Normandy, and Gallipoli. Each year, Professor Rust Deming, as part of his class “U.S. – Japan Relations in Global Context” leads students on a trip to Tokyo to conduct research for the chief requirement of the course: a policyoriented research paper on issues relating to U.S.-Japan alliance relations as well as relations with China and the Korean peninsula. The trip provides students with the opportunity to engage Japanese policy-makers, business leaders and analysts on their respective research topics. The culmination of their efforts is presented
Mat Morola (left, Strategic Studies) and Paul Pierrot (right, Conflict Management) enjoy yakimochi on the streets of Tokyo. Mirentxu Arrivillaga
Departmental trips give students the opportunity to see a different side of their professors. Here, John McLaughlin performs magic on the plane to Ireland.
as an annual briefing book published by the Reischauer Center. Very similar to Professor Deming’s class, students in “The Two Koreas” course had the new opportunity to travel to Seoul, South Korea over Thanksgiving break. Led by
retired senior Foreign Service Officer Professor David Straub, students took part in group and individual briefings and meetings on individual topics, including military, economic, and cultural issues, in and around Seoul. Each student interviewed U.S. and Korean government, non-government,
and media officials to collect research on a specific issue area. The corresponding papers written by the students will culminate in a Korea yearbook to be published in the spring. Andrew Plieninger is a 2nd year M.A. student concentrating in Startegic Studies.
Policy Alley at SAIS BY JOANNA YU he Center for Politics and Foreign Affairs (CPFR) made its debut at SAIS this year. It seeks to shed light on that little-explored intersection between domestic politics and foreign policy by bring people together “to debate, discuss and analyze the role domestic politics plays in a country’s foreign policy.” The Center is under the directorship of Professor Robert Guttman, a long-time Washington observer, who has worked on presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial campaigns, and has also hosted his own radio talk show and held the helm of two political magazines.
The flagship program for CPFR is the Breakfast Series which, for the next two years, intends to bring most of the potential presidential candidates to SAIS to speak on foreign policy issues. In addition, the Series will invite prominent journalists, congressional leaders, authors, and business executives to comment on the political process and politics’ role in foreign policy. Come 2008, Professor
Guttman does not rule out the possibility of hosting a presidential debate during the campaign. CPFR has already hosted several presidential hopefuls. In July, CPFR welcomed Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who recently announced his candidacy. In September, the center lent its forum to Senator John Kerry, another potential candidate.
is communicating directly with a group of current or future foreign policy professionals. Moreover, fielding questions from such a selected group of journalists and experts gives presidential hopefuls the opportunity to sharpen his or her foreign policy skills.
Just last month, CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, host of the Face the Nation, spoke to a SAIS audience on the ramifications of the midterm elections on electoral politics.
Foreign policy, after all, does not just start when the candidate wins and moves into the White House. Rather, it begins on the campaign trail, with consultants and professional staff informing and molding positions and platforms. CPFR and SAIS hope to be part of that evolutionary process.
Since it is established through a partnership with the Financial Times and the Johns Hopkins University School of Government, the Center is an attractive venue for prominent and high-power personalities to expound on foreign policy and politics. Through the Financial Times, the speaker gets exposure to a wide array of media outlets; from the SAIS brand-name, the speaker knows he or she
According to Guttman, CPFR has invited many speakers widely regarded as potential candidates for 2008, and has received positive feedback. They include: George Pataki, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Wesley Clark, George Allen, Evan Baye, Joe Biden, Sam Brownback, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, Bill Frist, Continued on page 10
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
Dateable? BY DAVID MICHAELS s SAIS students, we face a serious dilemma. In what many would consider to be the peak years of our social lives, we exist within a narrow social network. Most of us come from outside the DC area, and thus have few local friends who are not SAIS students. While there are exceptions among those who have already lived in DC and others who have found new circles of friends, most SAISers keep within this community. Given this observation, I now address the issue that has been on everyone’s mind since day one of Pre-term: Do I really want to date my classmates?
First off, what is dating? Is it going to a party, hooking up, and then asking for a phone number the following day out of a sense of obligation? That oft-repeated, late teens and early twenties method of dating likely saw its resurgence with the SAIS Halloween Party. Another popular way to date is to exchange phone numbers with someone you like, casually meet up for a drink, progress to dinner, and before you know it you’re in a relationship. As we move on, I encourage the reader to think about what exactly it means to be dating. Returning to the issue at hand, there is much to consider when deciding whether or not to date a fellow SAISer. Let us begin with the positive elements and potential benefits. First, most SAIS students are intelligent people with similar interests. You will be able to have interesting discussions on current world issues with your date. This would be much more difficult when branching out to public policy students and nearly impossible if you dated a law student.
Do I really want to date m y classmates? The second benefit to dating a fellow SAIS student is what I call situational financial similarity. In economic terms, this means both you and your date enjoy a low standard of living—in lay terms, you are equally poor. The benefit goes to the one who pays for the date, feeling little pressure to be a big spender. The other person surely understands that times are tough, and will likely expect a lowercost date. Both participants in a SAIS relationship will be able to understand each other’s hectic schedules. An 11:00 PM study break with coffee can be accepted as a legitimate date, however un-romantic that may be. Because we attend classes in only two buildings, you will likely run into your boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever quite often. Considering our study schedules, these might be welcome opportunities to catch up and share a personal thought or feeling. Furthermore, there is a certain level of
Follow Dave Michaels' simple advice and she could be yours.
comfort that people share as students at the same school. These warm feelings can be a wonderful foundation for a new relationship. Finally, if you spend all of your time in Nitze, yet ban intra-SAIS relationships, it could mean two years without a date. That is surely not healthy for those of us in our prime. We now turn to the potential drawbacks of dating a fellow SAISer. As I mentioned, you might see this person nearly every day. This is often not desired at the beginning of a relationship, as “too much, too soon” can lead to relationship burnout. What if the person you are dating woke up ten minutes before class, rushed to school, and came in looking like they had just slept on a bench in Dupont Circle? Additionally, it is nice to meet new people through your significant other. If you are both SAIS students with few outside friends, your relationship will further lock you into this small community. The most important negative element of dating within SAIS – a potentially devastating consequence – is that of a non-mutual breakup. Face it, chances are pretty good that the relationship will end, and things can get tough if one party is unhappy. It would be difficult to function if you continuously see the person who broke your heart. Worse yet, seeing them making eyes with another student at happy hour could send you into depression. There is also the issue of reputation. If one person conducts themselves inappropriately at any point in the rela-
tionship, other SAIS students will likely hear about it. Future dates with other SAISers may no longer be possible. On the other hand, if the relationship ends mutually and all parties are satisfied, word of one’s prowess may spread through the community. This could lead to a variety of benefits. Now that I have laid out the arguments, as a good SAIS student it is time to present my policy recommendations. I give you my advice in two regards. The first concerns the brief, yet passionate, physical encounter: Go for it as long as both parties understand what the other expects the following day. Considering our cramped schedules, this type of relationship might even be the most beneficial. My second piece of advice relates to the more significant and deeper relationships: I urge you all to get out to the Nitze lobby and start dating each other immediately. The best relationships form when things happen naturally and you don’t think too much. Yes, there is potential for broken hearts, crushed feelings, trampled egos, ruined reputations, devastated emotions, and squandered future opportunities, but you don’t know until you try. So approach the next happy hour or Tuesday afternoon cookie session with a new and healthy attitude. Look at other SAISers in a way you never dared to look before. Who knows? They may be looking back. David Michaels is a first semester MA student concentrating in Southeast Asia Studies. He will contribute a followup article to the Observer on the same subject during his fourth semester. And, of course, he is ready and willing.
THE SAIS OBSERVER
December 4, 2006
Borat lends popular-culture cool to students fill in.
BY AVIVA KUTNICK can usually hear O ne‘Nursultan Nazarbeav’
True: Baron Cohen is Jewish. The movie’s many anti-Semitic jokes are clearly intended as relief, however, as Borat speaks almost-fluent Hebrew to his comrade Azamat. Yael Tovias, who is from Tel Aviv and a second year student, confirms that this is “Hebrew with a very funny accent.” Azamat answers primarily in Armenian, says Haik Gugarats, a second year IP student from Armenia. Note that neither Borat nor Azamat, professed representatives of the Kazakh government, actually speak any Kazakh in the entire movie.
rolling causally off tongues in Rome elevators. Chatter about possible eastward expansion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline peppers conversations in the Nitze cafeteria. With GDP growth near ten percent and literacy rates at 99.5 percent, Kazakhstan has been the rage at SAIS for years. And now the rest of the “U. S. and A.” has caught up, and can at the bare minimum pronounce Kazakhstan with minimal stammer. Popular culture has finally arrived at SAIS. Our beloved Nitze building has an important cameo appearance in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Known simply as “Borat,” the film opened in Washington, DC last month. For all those SAIS students who can’t pull themselves away from a Nitze Happy Hour before 9pm or have already bike-locked themselves to an eighth floor study carrel, here’s a quick synopsis so you can join the ranks of international-relations-pop-culture cool. Borat Sagdiyev, played by British actor Sacha Baron Cohen, is a journalist from Kazakhstan who travels to “the U. S. and A.” at the behest of his government to make a documentary about American culture. His producer Azamat (Ken Davitian) joins him and they arrive in New York City. Borat settles into his hotel room and soon discovers reruns of Baywatch. He declares his intention to marry Pamela Anderson and embarks on a love quest across the United States accompanied by Azamat in an ice cream truck. They visit DC, go through the American South and finally arrive in Los Angeles.
Following the release of Borat, sales of banana hammock bathing suits skyrocketed 46%.
Along the way, Borat has many ‘cultural learnings’ with Americans, adopts a pet bear, and engages in an unforgettable wrestling match with his comrade (Oh, how we wish we could forget!). In the end, Borat finds unexpected love and returns to his native land. An excessively long version of Baron Cohen’s very funny Borat skits, the movie is offensive to many, but also speaks to the awkward experiences of any cultural exchange. More (or less) a window into Kazakh culture, Borat provides us with selective vignettes of American culture. At a cost of ten dollars and clocking in at about two hours, the movie forces us to confront the dirty (and hairy) underbelly of America: racism, classism,
homophobia and misogyny, while granting us the innocence of a dark theater in which to sit back and laugh (and cringe) at ourselves. Our own cultural learnings from Comparative National Systems inspire us to ruminate. Is Borat a ping-pong playing, red-bull drinking, 21st century Alexis de Tocqueville? Likely not; Borat’s humor is sometimes smart though always merciless and often demeaning. We are left to hope that Borat’s portrayal of an extraordinarily hospitable and sadly bigoted America is the exception, not the rule. Where Borat fails to illuminate anything real about Kazakhstan, resident student experts gladly
False: Borat’s sister is not the fourth-ranked prostitute in Kazakhstan, as there is no national ranking system of prostitution in Kazakhstan. Like many countries in the world, prostitution is illegal in Kazakhstan. Sheela Ahluwalia, a second year South Asia Studies student, commented “while Baron Cohen’s jokes about prostitution and exploitation elicited many laughs, I don’t find that type of humor remotely funny. I doubt that Kazakh sex trafficking and rape victims would, either.” Almost true: Kazakhstan is not the world’s leading exporter of Potassium, as we are led to believe from Borat’s rendition of a make-believe Kazakh national anthem. This distinction belongs to our neighbors to the north: Canada. Aliya Ladhani, a second year Canadian Studies student, tells us about Canada’s bountiful natural resources, “[t]echnically, Canada is the number one producer and exporter of potash.” The potash is then refined into potassium. Far from true: Borat would likely
not attempt to capture Pamela Anderson (also a number one export from Canada) in a wedding sack, as the film suggests. Alisher Khamidov, a SAIS PhD candidate from Kyrgyzstan, illuminates the practice of “bride kidnapping,” or “Ala Kachuu” in the Kyrgyz language. “[Bride kidnapping] still happens today, but in most cases both bride and groom are usually aware of what’s going on. People involved in bride kidnapping view the process as a tribute and affirmation of their historical and ethnic roots.” Amina Turgulova, an MIPP student from Kazakhstan explains that historically bridekidnapping in Kazakh culture may have indicated that a couple married without each family’s permission. Arranged marriages are actually far more frequent. Turgulov further explains that bride kidnapping is not particular to Kazakh culture, but reflects historical practices of many ethnic groups in Central Asia, including Turkic Mezhitins, Uygurs, Chechens. She affirms that “it is nevertheless an atavism and happens rarely in Kazakh modern society. In general people marry who they want to marry” in Kazakhstan. Armed with all this new information, here’s our plan: join the frenzy of legal battles against Borat, claiming that the Nitze Building deserved significantly more screen time than allotted in the film. We are the #1 School of Advanced Cultural Learnings and have earned the opportunity to have fake journalists of all nationalities make fun of us too. Aviva Kutnick is a second year MA student studying International Development. She went on a two week, all-inclusive vacation to Kazakhstan in April 2005.
New Thai Club brings some flavor to SAIS BY MICHAEL ANDERSON hat do great food, ladyboys, and military coups have in common? Thailand, of course! The SAIS Thai Club
was created this year in order to teach students more about one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting countries, and eat lots of Thai food along the way.
The luckiest club at SAIS? Thai Club co-presidents Oom and Michael receiving financial support from representatives of the Royal Thai government.
Events so far have included brown bag lunches with speakers from NGOs and businesses working in Thailand, and a movie night featuring Iron Ladies, a film about transvestite volleyball players. And if that isn’t reason enough to join the club, all functions have been catered by local Thai restaurants. Next term the club is planning a panel discussion about the recent coup and a trip to the Thai embassy to meet the Ambassador. The Royal Thai Government has lent its support to the SAIS Thai Club’s mission to educate students about Thailand. Ms. Rujikorn Saengchantr, First Secretary at the Royal Thai Embassy, explained her government’s decision to fund the club: “The Royal Thai government sees America as a longtime friend, and wants to maintain our close ties in a changing world. As many of the older generation of Americans retire from government, we’re reaching out to the younger generation of students who will one day work with our government and private sector.”
The four officers bring an interesting set of Thai experiences to the club. Presidents Yanichnat “Oom” Chalermtiarana and Michael Anderson have both spent a considerable amount of time in Thailand. Oom was born and raised there, and Michael started a non-profit there in 2001 (www.volunthai.com). Secretary Dany Khy spent the first two years of her life in Thailand, before immigrating to the United States. Treasurer David Michaels spent some time teaching English in Chiang Mai, and fondly remembers wearing a sarong in the annual parade. All four officers are first year students in the Southeast Asia program. Anyone interested in joining the SAIS Thai Club should contact Dany at: email@example.com.
Michael Anderson is a 1st year M.A. student concentrating in Southeast Asia Studies. He is also co-President of SAIS’ Thai Club.
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
One on One with
Izzah Anwar BY JAY LURIE t SAIS we sometimes take for granted the uniqueness of our student body, and the craziness of its stories. We are all optimistic that upon graduation, we will be successful in policy, business, diplomacy, advocacy, or another similar field. For many of us, this path is currently unknown. For one MA3, however, the direction is so clear, so important, and so imminent, that she will be leaving us in December, one semester early, to return to her home country of Malaysia. Indeed, Izzah Anwar has never been profiled before in the Observer, and my readers may expect to learn from this interview about Malaysia, her previous work at home, and her forthcoming return.
fully using the sordid term in the allegations. I think that’s extremely unethical and unacceptable. In an interview, my father was asked whether he forgave Mahathir. He responded that he did forgive him, but that doesn’t mean that he has forgotten what had happened. I’m not vindictive against Mahathir, but there came a point when he kept [using the “sodomy” term] publicly, that it was just unbearable. The charge was untrue, and Mahathir meant to humiliate and insult my father’s integrity.
I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Izzah for lunch at nearby Così in Dupont Circle, and I was delighted to receive candid responses to some very pointed questions (by Observer standards).
IA: At the end of the day, it’s an issue about justice. I think your views are better received if you remain objective. It’s important to recognize Mahathir for his faults and weaknesses as well as his strengths and contributions. It will make me a more effective spokesperson for my country. If I resort to my emotions and heavily biased views, then I’m doing a disservice to Malaysia. I am thankful that we got our father back. Why don’t we focus all the anger and energy to working for the future?
Jay Lurie: Izzah, for our readers, can you briefly describe the political scene in Malaysia and why it is that you are leaving SAIS early to return? Izzah Anwar: I came to SAIS, bearing in mind that most Masters programs in the US are two years long. But I wanted to return to Malaysia as soon as possible because there’s so much work that needs to be done. There must be an election within five years of the last one, but the Malaysian government can call for an early election. JL: Since Prime Minster Badawi was elected in 2004, then 2009 would be the latest? IA: Yes, but it could be called much earlier. Based on the current climate that Badawi is facing, analysts expect elections to take place in 2008. Of course, the longer that I am here, the more political mileage that I lose. There’s so much work to do to prepare for the elections. JL: Who are you planning to promote in the next elections? Your father? Someone in his party? Yourself? IA: That’s the million dollar question! It is too soon to answer now. It largely depends on the people. Who will be the constituents? The supporters? There are so many ways to promote democracy. I worked a lot with human rights organizations and NGOs in Malaysia in the past, and that would probably be one of my main activities. I don’t think it should be about promoting a particular personali-
JL: Mahathir was in charge of imprisoning your father for things he didn’t do. How can you forgive him for that and recognize his capability as a good leader?
ty (including my father). It’s more about the vision and aspiration of a political entity for the country. I try my best to ensure that I do something to help the vision of Malaysia, not [necessarily for the interests of] my father. JL: Badawi has recently been criticized by former Prime Minister, Mahathir for not following through with some policies that he promised while campaigning in 2004. Do you think this is valid or that he is being unfairly criticized? And do you think he is a part of this vision to promote democracy and transparency in the country? IA: Those in opposition may say that Mahathir is a vociferous critic living up to his name, and at the same time, he has not owned up to his own involvement in the current state. I really just don’t want us to be derailed by personalities who are out for their own interest. JL: Your father was imprisoned in September 1998, by his own regime, led by Mahathir. He was released in September 2004 and is currently serving as a visiting professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Also, he was previously a research fellow at SAIS. Is he planning to
return to Malaysia after this semester with you? Or is he distancing himself from Malaysian politics? IA: He has been going back and forth to Malaysia to attend conferences and was previously affiliated with the World Bank. He plans to go back full-time in December and is very committed to the cause. Currently, he teaches a class on Contemporary Islam in Southeast Asia at Georgetown. As a family, we cherish the little time that we spend together, but we also respect that each person has his or her personal commitment. JL: Is your Mom here? IA: My Mom is a Parliamentarian in Malaysia. She took [my father’s] seat when he went to prison. It’s really funny because my father now says that before he was imprisoned, he was Deputy Prime Minister and my Mom was a former ophthalmologist simply known as his wife. Then, he left prison without a job, and his wife was not only the leader of his party, but also a member of Parliament. JL: When your father was imprisoned that must have been a very difficult time for you. The police
came to your home and arrested him. Were you home then? IA: Yes, I was home. That was the night of September 20. He was [removed from office] on September 2, and I was in my first year of university. He was so busy at the time, and I was taking final exams, that I only found out [about his dismissal] from the news. So, I took a leave of absence for one year to be home with my younger sisters. There are six of us. JL: Were you able to see your father while he was imprisoned? IA: After he was convicted we could see him once every four weeks. As his time progressed, this increased, and we were able to see him every two weeks, and then once a week. Because of his back condition, he was relatively immobile, so we were allowed to have contact visits. JL: Your father recently sued Mahathir for dubbing him a Sodomist, and the case is pending in court, correct? IA: My father was acquitted [of sodomy], but Mahathir continued to refer to my father disrespect-
JL: Mahathir’s “Capital Controls” policy during the Asian Financial Crisis was one of the tipping points between him and your father. Anwar promoted a more liberal market, in line with IMF policy. Mahathir chose another path and that was a line of contention. Let’s say that Anwar wins that appeal to liberalize markets—how do you think that changes Malaysia’s fate? That’s a tough question. IA: I’m writing a paper for Professor Roett’s class. JL: You’re allowed to write on Malaysia!? IA: Yes, in Malaysia, we only receive the views of the powers that be. For example, Mahathir’s statement that George Soros was a “moron” was reiterated again and again on Malaysian television. It’s interesting for me to come here and learn other views. My father was dismissed on September 1, 1998, and the capital controls were put in place the next day, September 2. One thing to realize is that it was just a flashpoint in history. We made a recovery similar to South Korea, but we have not succeeded in attaining our former position. In terms of foreign investment, we have really lost out. Continued on page 11
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
Where to go for the joe BY MICHAEL H. COGNATO f I can’t drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat.” -J.S. Bach, The Coffee Cantata
To the graduate student, it is as precious as life itself. It draws us from our beds in the morning and keeps us at our toil late at night. It provides an excuse for a meander down the street, or to keep one’s nose in the newspaper just a minute more. Its consumption can be an excuse to have a conversation with that girl (or guy), or to avoid it. But where can a SAISer in a rush get a decent cup of Joe? In a groundbreaking piece of investigative journalism, yours truly sampled the nearest offerings and compared them on the traits that matter – taste, convenience, atmosphere, accompaniments (what else you can get there), and a wild card (anything else that I think should count). All of this, of course, refers only to plain old drip coffee, cheap and quick – not lattes, not cappuccinos, and certainly not espressos. The Galley Taste: 3 Convenience: 5 Atmosphere: 4 Accompaniments: 5 Wild Card: 5 The coffee itself is nothing special –
Continued from page 6 and John McCain.
Invitations have also been sent to Senator Joe Lieberman, former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, and others for commentary on the presidential electoral process, and the interplay between domestic politics and foreign policy. The Center will not only bring in speakers, but create literature as well to educate both students and the public about the potential candidates. The Center’s website (www.sais-jh.edu/cpfr) provides political commentary and latest events. The Center will also publish Candidate Profiles – 8 to 12 page short biographies on all the presidential hopefuls that come to SAIS to speak. The first issue will come out this month, featuring Senator John Kerry. CPFR is also recruiting student interns. While the jobs are unpaid, they provide those interested in journalism and politics the opportunity to conduct original
brewed in large quantities, it sits in urns for hours at a time. It’s warm, caffeinated, and brown; in a word, serviceable. For this brew, location is everything. Right next door to the Rome building, this coffee is all there is within walking distance during class breaks, and the closest to a study hall SAIS has on the block. The selection of food is fantastic (I recommend the Chicken Run). Most importantly, the proprietors are wonderful people – kind, enthusiastic, and hard-working small business owners who make everyone feel welcome. Starbucks Taste: 1 Convenience: 4 Atmosphere: 3 Accompaniments: 3 Wild Card: -8 This really shouldn’t be called coffee. Really. I’m sorry, the beans are not good. The bitter, burnt taste assaults the tongue, causing drinkers to grimace as if they’ve just downed a shot of Jack Daniel’s. The aftertaste lingers for hours. Meanwhile, the franchise spreads like Seattle’s answer to the British Empire, its drearily uniform décor causing a little part of people’s souls to die on street corners from D.C. to the Forbidden City. They treat their employees amazingly well and have breakfast sandwiches that are so addictive I’m not convinced they don’t contain cocaine, which almost caused me to bump up their Wild Card score—but then they broke out
the Christmas decorations on November 1. .. Dunkin’ Donuts Taste: 5 Convenience: 3 Atmosphere: 1 Accompaniments: 5 Wild Card: 3 A new entrant to the neighborhood, the Dunkin’ is located on 17th St., a mere 3 minute walk from Rome (turn right if you’re facing Nitze). The coffee is a thing of beauty – smooth, velvety, an explosion of flavor, a symphony of caffeinated goodness. It manages the difficult balancing act of intense flavor that is not at the same time overly bitter or stale. And of course, they have donuts, which is good. Unfortunately, the place is tiny – you can’t really linger over a paper or meet up for a chat here. And if you’re as lazy as I am, you’d want to if you have to walk a whole block out of your way. Java House Taste: 4 Convenience: 3 Atmosphere: 5 Accompaniments: 3 Wild Card: 5 Located a block further up 17th St. from the Dunkin’, this is an independent coffeeshop that roasts its own beans. As a result its javas are full of character. Sometimes it’s a good character, like, say Batman – dark, powerful, with an undertone of nutiness to keep things interesting. Other times, though it’s more of a Superman – technically fine, but somehow bland and lacking heart. Either way,
though, the place itself is great, with outdoor tables when the weather is nice and wireless access. Nitze Basement Coffee Machine Taste: 1 Convenience: 5 Atmosphere: 1 Accompaniments: 1 Wild Card: 1 Desperation is really the only reason for you to be drinking this stuff. It is not possible to brew quality coffee in 30 seconds, and mankind really should stop trying. Books A Million Taste: 4 Convenience: 4 Atmosphere: 4 Accompaniments: 3 Wild Card: 3 Unbeknownst to most SAISers, the bookstore on Dupont Circle has a coffeeshop located in its bowels. The stuff is surprisingly nice – though a little strong, lacking in the delicacy with which one generally wants to be treated at painfully early hours of the morning, this drink reminds you that you’re drinking coffee in a way that the usual bookstore swill will not. The place is close and, since it was relatively unknown until I wrote this, has been a nice place to escape the crowds here if you needed to ponder the crushing weight of your own existence in private. Of course, I’ve probably ruined that now. Sorry. Michael H. Cognato is a 2nd year M.A. student concentrating in China Studies. He is still recovering from the effects of his caffeine binge.
research and write about the candidates and greater political issues. Professor Guttman intends to have student interns play large roles, including authoring the Center’s publications. Being involved in the Center can also give students insight into the way congressional leaders and presidential hopefuls conduct themselves. For instance, who would have known that Senator Kerry drove himself to the SAIS campus the morning of his speech in his Ford hybrid, and that the event started late because he had a problem finding parking with the one staff member he brought with him? Furthermore, according to Professor Guttman, Kerry felt energized by the students and was excited to have the opportunity to engage them, and would have kept the Q&A going if not for his next appointment. We can continue to enjoy the Center’s sparking line-up of presidential hopefuls and electoral commentators. According to Professor Guttman, the next speaker is likely to be General Wesley Clark. Joanna Yu is a 1st year M.A. student concentrating in Stratigic Studies.
CPFR Director, Robert Guttman, addresses Kenney Auditorium before SAIS’ election party.
THE SAIS OBSERVER
December 4, 2006
B O O K R E VIE W
The Prince of the Marshes: and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq by Rory Stewart Harcourt (396 pp.) $25
D r iv e n t o t h e brin k BY ALEX SELIM n January 2002, shortly after US forces toppled the Taliban, a Scot named Rory Stewart traveled across Afghanistan alone on foot. He related the observations and studies of his 16-month journey in his critically acclaimed memoir, “The Places in Between.”
As a CPA governorate coordinator, a title that roughly equates to a one-star general, Stewart writes, “I had nearabsolute authority over eight hundred and fifty thousand people,” but “from another perspective, I was almost
ability to manage such an undertaking. “We had been trained in an institutional culture that emphasized prudence, compromise, and a careful drafting; not the bold executive decision required to govern a semi-war zone.” While his superiors tell him not to make any promises that he can’t keep his Iraqi translators and assistants urge him to make a show of his power, the only way he can inspire the Iraqis’ confidence.
What, you might ask, could be crazier than walking alone across a war zone with jihadis on the loose? Perhaps taking a cab from Jordan to Baghdad shortly after US forces toppled Saddam’s regime in 2003 in order to get a position in the Coalition Provisional Authority (my apologies to Nick Horne, the MIPP student who did roughly the same thing).
Throughout “The Prince of Marshes,” there is often a clash between the autocratic rule that the Iraqis expected and the liberal, democratic ideals that the Coalition tried to introduce. The Prince of the Marshes, for whom the book is named, was a resistance leader who had waged a guerrilla war in Maysan for seventeen years. With his credibility as a rebel hero and the strength of his military following, he could have easily brought stability to the region. However, to their credit, the CPA did not want to install another strong man, and believed enough in their democratic mission not to replace one Saddam with another. However, seeing the way things turned out in the end, one wonders if there wasn’t a compromise that could have been made between their democratic ideals and the necessity to quell the resistance.
Rory Stewart’s new book, “The Prince of the Marshes,” recounts the fourteen months he spent in Iraq, where, thanks to his Foreign Service background, he was appointed deputy governor of Maysan Province. Introducing a cast of Iraqi characters whose quirks he details and whose motives he often had to decipher and at times counter, Stewart’s second book offers an intriguing window into the Coalition Provisional Authority’s work outside of Baghdad. Beginning nearly every chapter with a quote by Machiavelli or Miguel Cervantes about leadership, “The Prince of Marshes” could serve as a guide for anyone serving in a place of authority in a post-conflict situation. With its bootson-the-ground account of the day-to-day work of a Coalition officer, Stewart details the unending crises that he faced with varying degrees of success. The province where Stewart was stationed, Maysan, was about the size of Northern Ireland. Predominantly a Shi’a province, its local militia groups overthrew the Ba’ath Party before the Coalition arrived. In the 1980’s its two hundred mile border with Iran made it an important battleground during the Iran-Iraq War. After the first Gulf War, Saddam mercilessly drained the marshes that had been a source of livelihood for many of the Marsh Arabs and inhabitants of the region in retaliation for an unsuccessful Shia uprising. Because all of Maysan’s residents were Shia, the power struggle within the region did not divide across conventional Sunni-Shia ethnic boundaries. In Maysan, the conservative Muslim followers of Moqtada al-Sadr battled conservative Muslim followers backed by Iran, leaving the few moderate secularists, who lacked a militia of their own and to whom the Coalition would have ideally handed over power, largely powerless in the fray.
Anwar Continued from page 9 JL: With the heightened international attention to Islamic radicalism, have you seen any effects on the people of Malaysia, be it at home or while traveling abroad? IA: When you think about terrorism, you tend to focus on one particular group. And Al Qaeda are Muslims, but their acts are
Nevertheless, Stewart argues that the Coalition had accomplished many productive projects successfully but had a difficult time communicating their achievements to the Iraqis. He speculates that it was either the soldiers’ modesty or distaste of politics. However, it did not help that few, if any, really understood the culture and that Iraqis were suspicious of their motives and were often impatient, disappointed or contemptuous of their performance.
powerless. The Iraqi state was large and functioning, however poorly. I was constrained by the Geneva Convention and occupation law . . . I was a lone foreigner who commanded nobody. If the Iraqis or the British chose to ignore me, there was very little I could do.” In “The Prince of the Marshes,” an argument for a colonial system emerges, in which an officer who has spent his career gaining knowledge of one region has the power, and thus the freedom, to command the military and the bureaucracy to implement the policies necessary for reform. Instead, many of the Coalition officers knew little about the culture in which they were working and felt a sense of shame at occupying a foreign country, an idea that ran counter to their modern sensibilities. Indeed their modern Western sensibilities often debilitated their
against everything that Islam strives for. For me, living in Washington has been a wonderful experience. Everyone is really open and treats me the same as everyone else. There are exceptions, but also exceptional kindness. JL: You have been living across the world from your husband on and off for the past year. How have you been able to handle that? IA: We talk on Skype everyday. He’s a wonderful husband. He fol-
lowed me for my first year, while I was here. Now, he is back in Malaysia. It is difficult because we miss each other, but I have been lucky because my parents and sisters have been living with me off and on in Virginia. JL: What do you currently miss about Malaysia? IA: I miss the food. JL: Have you found any Malaysian places here in DC that you would
While many writers and pundits are quick to point to the big picture to explain the failures in Iraq, pointing to the leaders at the top like Donald Rumsfeld or Paul Bremer, Stewart contends that it was the interactions on the micro level, where individual Iraqis and American, British and Coalition members met each other—often fraught with fear, anxiety, misunderstanding and even malice—that decided the fate of the Iraq project. “The Prince of Marshes” is therefore a valuable look at the trenches where the battle to build a local Iraqi government was fought and a tribute to the thankless, frustrating, yet honorable job the men and women served in the CPA performed. Alex Selim is a 1st year M.A. student concentrating in Middle East Studies.
recommend? IA: I would recommend Malaysia Kopitiam on M Street between 18th and 19th. JL: Any other major differences between life here and there? IA: Everything is so politicized in Malaysia. It’s always a big challenge because I can’t just be one in the crowd in Malaysia, like I can be in DC. In Malaysia, students cannot be involved in politics. You’re not taught to speak
up for yourself and have your own opinion. JL: What will you miss about DC? IA: The friends that I have made here. JL: Thank you Izzah. We’ll miss you too. Jay Lurie is a 2nd year M.A. student concentrating in International Development.
December 4, 2006
THE SAIS OBSERVER
Wh at elect i o n s? F re e p i z z a a n d b e e r ! PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALIYA LADHANI
A massacre of epic proportions. Free pizza and free beer send SAIS students into a feeding frenzy. Only the pizza carcasses remained as a reminder of lifeâ€™s brevity. Oh yeah, there was some election thing going on too. Happy holidays! -- The Editors